Huskies open up home schedule against Montana - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

Huskies open up home schedule against Montana

UW beat Rutgers last Friday 30-14. Photo: UW Athletics UW beat Rutgers last Friday 30-14. Photo: UW Athletics

By UW Athletics

The Game: Fresh from a season-opening 30-14 win at Rutgers last Friday, the UW football team  (1-0) opens the 2017 home season against Montana (1-0), welcoming the Grizzlies to Husky Stadium for the first time since 1951. Kickoff is 5:00 p.m. PT and the game will air on Pac-12 Network. The Huskies, who have played four straight games away from Seattle, dating back to last year, are ranked No. 7 in the latest Associated Press Top 25 and also No. 7 in the coaches' poll. The Griz, who beat Valparaiso in their opener last week, were a member of the Pacific Coast Conference from 1924-1950 and played the UW 18 times between 1920 and 1951, but never since. Following this Saturday's game, the Huskies remain home to face Fresno State Sept. 16. Pac-12 play kicks off with back-to-back road games, Sept. 23 at Colorado and Sept. 30 at Oregon State.
 
Quick Slanta: Washington's Dante Pettis tied the Pac-12 record with his sixth career punt return for a touchdown, with a 61-yard score at Rutgers ... he matched Cal's DeSean Jackson, who also had six ... Pettis has returned a punt for a score in three straight season openers ... Jake Browning moved into fourth spot on the UW career passing yards (6,669) and career completions (483) charts after going 17-for-30 for 284 yard and two TDs at Rutgers ... his 61 career TD passes remain second on the list, behind Keith Price's 75 ... five true freshmen played in the Rutgers game: TE Hunter Bryant, TB Salvon Ahmed and DBs Keith Taylor, Brandon McKinney and Elijah Molden ... in addition to those five, another eight Huskies made their UW debuts in New Jersey: DB Byron Murphy, DB Kentrell Love, DB Isaiah Gilchrist, P Joel Whitford, LB Camilo Eifler, P Race Porter, OLB Ryan Bowman and DL Levi Onwuzurike ... UW entered the year with 32 players on the roster who had started at least one game ... four more (LB Ben Burr-Kirven and DBs Jordan Miller, Myles Bryant and Murphy) earned their first starts at Rutgers, meaning that 36 different Huskies have started a game ... on consecutive drives in the second quarter at Rutgers, Whitford had punts downed at the one- and two-yard line, both by Murphy.
 
Television: The Washington-Montana game will air live to a national audience on Pac-12 Networkd with Guy Haberman (play-by-play), Chad Brown (color) and Cindy Bruson (sidelines) providing the commentary.
 
Radio: The Washington IMG College Network, with its flagship station KOMO AM-1000 and FM-97.7, will carry the live broadcast of every football game on 17 Northwest radio stations. Longtime play-by-play man Bob Rondeau and color analyst Damon Huard are joined by sideline reporter Elise
 
The Young and The Old: Washington has been a notably and demonstrably young team the last couple of years and, while the Huskies have gotten distinctly more experienced across the board, the roster still skews towards youth. The 2017 roster includes 40 freshmen and 26 sophomores, compared to just 16 seniors and 27 juniors, meaning just under 61 percent of the players have three or more years of eligibility left. At the same time, Washington has 53 returning lettermen and, not counting specialists, 32 different Huskies have started at least one game during their career.
 
The Defense:  Washington's defense has been the strongest it has been in years in 2015 and again in 2016, once again leaving a standard for this season that will be a challenge to match. Last year, the Husky defense finished first in the Pac-12 in scoring defense, allowing just 248 points, or 17.7 per game, the best average by the UW since 1992 (12.3 per game). The Dawgs also led the conference in total defense (316.9 yards per game), passing defense (182.9), opponent first downs (246), third-down conversion defense (.306) and turnovers gained (33).
 
The Offense:  Washington had one of its most successful offensive seasons ever in 2016, scoring more points and more touchdowns than ever before – both by a wide margin. The Huskies notched 77 touchdowns, 13 more than the old record (64 in 2013) and scored 585 points, 93 more than the old standard (493 in 2013). The Huskies' 41.8 points per game were just one-tenth of a point shy of the school record (41.9 in 1991). The Dawgs also had their second-highest totals ever in both rushing yards (2,774) and passing yards (3,623).
 
Home vs. Non Conference:  Washington has been very tough to beat in home, non-conference games over the last several decades. Going back to (and including) the 1981 season, the Huskies have posted a 65-13 record against non-Pac-10/Pac-12 foes in Husky Stadium. Those 13 losses have come to Nebraska (2010), LSU (2009), BYU (2008), Oklahoma (2008), Ohio State (2007), Notre Dame (2005), Fresno State (2004), Nevada (2003), Air Force (1999), Nebraska (1997), Notre Dame (1995), Colorado (1989) and Oklahoma State (1985). Notable wins wins during that stretch include victories over No. 19 Boise State last season, No. 22 Boise State in 2007, No. 11 Michigan in 2001, No. 4 Miami in 2000, and No. 12 Nebraska in 1992. Prior to the 2004 loss to Nevada, Washington hadn't lost a home game to a non-league opponent since falling to Air Force, 31-21, on September 18, 1999. The Huskies had won 10 such games before that Nevada loss. The UW is 15-2 over its last 18 home, non-league games, with a 14-game winning streak.
 
Home Openers:  The Huskies are 92-28-5 in home openers (whether the first game of the season or not), a percentage of .756. (Washington did not play any home games in the 1890 or 1893 seasons.) That mark includes a 28-game streak of home-opener wins that ran from 1908 to 1935. Before falling to Air Force in the 1999 home opener, Washington had won 13 straight such games since falling to Oklahoma State on Sept. 7, 1985. The Huskies have won their last seven home openers in a row, dating back to a loss to No. 11 LSU in the 2009 home opener.
 
Huskies vs. Griz: Washington is 16-1-1 all-time against Montana, but haven't faced the Grizzlies in well over half a century. All 18 UW-Montana games came between 1920 and 1951, when for the most part, they were both members of the Pacific Coast Conference. Of the 18 games, only the 1928 game was played in Missoula, with the rest coming in Seattle. Of those, all but the 1920 meeting were at Husky Stadium, which opened about six weeks after the Grizzlies beat the UW, 18-14, that year – Montana's lone victory in the series. After that UW loss, Washington won seven in a row (including a 32-0 win in Missoula in 1927) before the two teams tied, 6-6, in 1929. After that draw, the Huskies won the last nine straight, with six shutout victories in that stretch.
 
Alaska Airlines Field at Husky Stadium: The Oregon game on Nov. 5, 2011, marked the final game in Husky Stadium prior to major renovations that have now been completed. The Huskies re-opened their home field with a 38-6 win over then-No. 19 Boise State on Aug. 31, 2013. The 2017 season marks the 97th season of play in Husky Stadium. Original construction on the facility was completed in 1920 when Washington played one game in the new campus facility. UW's all-time record in Husky Stadium stands at 377-177-21 (.674).

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