UW Heads East To Take On Michigan In Ann Arbor
THE GAME: The Washington football team (0-1) heads to Ann Arbor to face Michigan (1-0) this Saturday, Sept. 11, in the Huskies' first road game since Nov. 23, 2019. Washington played just four games in 2020, all of them in Seattle. Washington will be looking to bounce back from a 13-7 loss to Montana in the season opener last Saturday, while Michigan enters the game off of a season-opening, 47-14 win over Western Michigan. The Huskies and Wolverines will be playing one another for the 13th time, 19 years and 12 days since the previous meeting, Aug. 31, 2002, also at Michigan Stadium. The game kicks off at 8:00 p.m. ET/5:00 p.m. PT and will air on ABC television. Since new polls won't be released until Tuesday, Washington is currrently ranked No. 21 in the preseason AP poll and No. 20 in the USA Today Sports ACFC Coaches Poll. Following the trip to Michigan, the Huskies will return home for their next two games: Sept. 18 vs. Arkansas State and Sept. 25 vs. California.
QUICK HITTERS: UW tight end Cade Otton currently ranks No. 6 in school history in career receptions by a tight end (71) and eighth in career receiving yards by a TE (858) ... Washington has won its last four consecutive regular-season games vs. Big Ten opponents ... just two true freshmen saw action in the UW-Montana game: DLs Kuao Peihopa and Voi Tunuufi ... in total, 13 players saw their first action in a Husky uniform in the season-opener ... eight players made their first career UW start in the Montana game, which means that 37 members of the current roster have started at least one game for the Huskies ... 108 of the 125 players on the UW roster are freshmen or sophomores ... 77 are freshmen ... UW RS-freshman Dylan Morris started at QB in the opener last year, joining Jake Locker (RS-freshman in 2007) and Jake Browning (true freshman in 2015) as the only Huskies to start a season opener as a freshman in the modern era ... UW has gone 76 games in a row without allowing an opponent to score more than 35 points, easiily the longest such streak in the nation.
TELEVISION: The Washington-Michigan game will air on ABC television, with Sean McDonouogh (play by play), Todd Blackledge (color), and Molly McGrath (sideline) calling the action. The TV broadcast can also be viewed at ESPN.com/watch.
RADIO: All Washington football games will air on the Washington Sports Network from Learfield, with Tony Castricone (play by play), former Husky tight end Cameron Cleeland (analyst) and former UW basketball player Elise Woodward (sidelines) on the call. Radio coverage begins four hours before kickoff on the network's flagship station: Seattle's SportsRadio 950 KJR with "Husky Gameday" live from The Zone for Husky home games. Statewide coverage on the 15-station Washington Sports Network begins two hours before kickoff. The entire broadcast is available worldwide on the Huskies Gameday mobile app and on GoHuskies.com. The UW broadcast of the game will also air on Sirius channel 111 and XM channel 197. There will also be a national radio broadcast on ESPN Radio with Sean Kelley, Barrett Jones and Ian Fitzsimmons. Additionally, the Jimmy Lake Show airs each Wednesday during the season (starting Sept. 1), at 6:00 p.m. PT.
HUSKIES vs. WOLVERINES HISTORY: UW and Michigan have played one another 12 times, with the Huskies winning five of those games. Four of those 12 meetings were have come in the Rose Bowl game, with the two teams splitting those four games.
The two teams first met in 1953 and 1954, with the Wolverines notching shutouts in each: 50-0 in 1953 in Ann Arbor; and 14-0 the following year in Seattle. Michigan won two more against Washington in 1969 (45-7 in Ann Arbor) and 1970 (17-3 in Seattle), but the Huskies have won five of eight since that 0-4 start to the series.
In Don James' first bowl game as Washington head coach, No. 13 UW won the 1978 Rose Bowl, 27-20, upsetting fourth-ranked Michigan. UW built a 27-7 lead behind two touchdown passes and one run from MVP Warren Moon, and held off a Rick Leach-led Michigan team for the win. Just three years later, No. 5 Michigan earned a 23-6 win over No. 16 Washington on New Year's Day in Pasadena.
The series returned to the regular season a few years later, with Washington winning a pair of early-season, non-conference meetings, 25-24 at Husky Stadium in 1983 and 20-11 the following season in Ann Arbor.
The 1983 game is remembered by Husky fans as one of the great regular-season, non-conference victories in program history, and the UW career highlight of quarterback Steve Pelluer, who finished the game with 14 straight completions, leading UW to a late victory. Pelluer completed eight straght on the game-winning drive, which culminatted with a seven-yard TD pass to Mark Pattison, which cut the UM lead to 24-23. Then, the UW opted to go for two on the conversion, when Pelluer threw a strike to Larry Michael to wrap up the 25-24 win.
After those two mid-1980s meetings, the two program next met at the 1992 Rose Bowl, where No. 2 Washington beat No. 4 Michigan, 34-14, to wrap up a 12-0 season and a share of the national championship. The next year, with UW in tumult, No. 7 Michigan handed the No. 9 Huskies a 38-31 loss in Pasadena.
The most recent meetings came in 2001 and 2002. In the first of those, played three days before the 9/11 attacks, 15th-ranked Washington edged Michigan, 23-18, thanks in large part to corrnerback Omare Lowe, who blocked a field goal that was returned for a touchdown, then returned an inteception for a score, all in less than one minute in the fourth quarter.
The folllowing year at Michigan Stadium, the Wolverines got a last-minute, 44-yard field goal from Philip Brabbs to win, 31-29. The game-winning drive was famously helped along by an illegal participation (12 men on the field) penalty on the Washington defense that extended the drive.
HUSKIES vs. THE BIG TEN: Washington holds a 48-46-2 record all-time vs. current Big Ten opponents, a record that includes an 0-3 mark against Penn State (though the Nittany Lions were not members of the Big Ten at the time of two of those games against the UW) and 4-5-1 vs. Nebraska, also not a Big Ten member at the time of any of those games. Washington has played all 12 current Big Ten teams but have faced a Big Ten opponent only eight times since 2003 (the UW played Indiana in '03, Ohio State in '07, Illinois in 2013-14, Rutgers in 2016-17, Penn State in the 2017 Fiesta Bowl and Ohio State in the 2019 Rose Bowl). The Huskies have played Big Ten teams nine times in bowl games since 1990 (not counting Nebraska in the Holiday Bowl in 2010): Iowa in the 1990 Rose Bowl, Michigan in the 1992 and 1993 Rose Bowls, Iowa in the 1995 Sun Bowl, Michigan State in the 1997 Aloha Bowl, Purdue in the 2001 Rose Bowl, Purdue in the 2002 Sun Bowl, Penn State in the 2017 Festa Bowl and OSU the 2019 Rose Bowl. The Huskies went 4-5 in those games. Here's the UW's all-time record vs. current Big Ten teams: 7-4 vs. Illinois; 1-2 vs. Indiana; 3-3 vs. Iowa; 1-0 vs. Maryland; 5-7 vs. Michigan; 2-1 vs. Michigan State; 7-10 vs. Minnesota; 4-5-1 vs. Nebraska; 3-0 vs. Northwestern; 3-9 vs. Ohio State; 0-3 vs. Penn State; 7-2-1 vs. Purdue; 2-0 vs. Rutgers; 4-0 vs. Wisconsin.
EXPERIENCE AND YOUTH: Thanks in part to the extended eligibility that resulted from the pandemic, Washington's 2021 roster is remarkable for both its youth and its experience, all at once. Washington returns 10 starters on offense and eight on defense, along with returning "starters" at kicker (both FG/PAT and kickoff), punter, holder and long snapper. Those numbers are all higher than average. What's more, the roster includes 17 individuals who have started at least one game on offense, and 13 on defense. All totaled, those 29 players (one of them, Alex Cook, has started on offense and defense) have started 212 games (129 on offense, 83 on defense).
All that said, the UW roster includes just six players in their final year of available eligibility: P Race Porter, OLB Ryan Bowman, QB Patrick O'Brien, C Luke Wattenberg, and TBs Sean McGrew and Kamari Pleasant. Of the 125 players on the current roster, 77 are listed as freshmen (55) or redshirt freshmen (22), while 31 more are sophomores. That means that 108 of 125 players (86 percent) have three or more years of eligibility remaining, entering the 2021 season. The roster includes just 11 juniors, five seniors and one grad transfer.
OPPONENTS 35-AND-UNDER: Washington hasn't allowed an opponent to score more than 35 points in a game since a 44-30 loss at UCLA in 2014. That's a streak of 76 games in a row that the Huskies' opponent has failed to score more than 35. In that 75-game stretch, Husky foes have scored 30 or more just 12 times (of those 12, five were exactly 30 points) and have been held to 14 or fewer points 31 times. In that same span of 75 games, the UW has scored more than 35 points on 30 occasions. No other team in the FBS has a current streak longer than 35 games (San Diego State).
DEFENSE vs. BIG PLAYS: Last year (albeit in only four games), Washington's defense allowed just one play from scrimmage for more than 40 yards, tied for fewest in the nation. In 2019, the Huskies gave up just seven such plays of 40 or more yards, the eighth-lowest total (tied) in FBS. The median for 40-plus yard plays allowed in 2019 was 14. Also in 2019, the Huskies allowed just two plays over 50 yards, the third-lowest (tied) total (the median was seven). The year before, the Huskies gave up just ONE scrimmage play of 40 or more yards all season. No other FBS team allowed fewer than four and 102 teams allowed 10 or more that year. In 2017, the UW also led the nation with fewest 40-yard scrimmage plays allowed (3) and were second in fewest 30-yard plays (14). They were tied for 5th and 2nd, respectively, in 2016. In the Huskies' opener vs. Montana, UW allowed just one play of more than 20 yards – a 37-yard run.