UW To Wrap Up Non-Conference Slate Against Red Wolves
THE GAME: The Washington football team (0-2) returns home to Alaska Airlines Field at Husky Stadium to take on Arkansas State (1-1) in the final non-conference game of the 2021 season. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:15 p.m., and the game will air on Pac-12 Network. The Huskies are looking for their first win of 2021, while the Red Wolves travel to Seattle with a season-opening win over Central Arkansas followed by a 55-50 loss to Memphis last Saturday in Jonesboro. The game is the first ever between the two programs. It will also be just the second time the UW has faced any of the 10 current members of the Sun Belt Conference, and the first time A-State has ever taken on a Pac-12 opponent. Following this Saturday's game, the Huskies open Pac-12 play the following Saturday, Sept. 25, vs. California, before returning to the road to face Oregon State Oct. 2.
QUICK HITTERS: UW tight end Cade Otton currently ranks No. 6 in school history in career receptions by a tight end (74) and eighth in career receiving yards by a TE (891) ... just two true freshmen have seen action for the Huskies this season: DLs Kuao Peihopa and Voi Tunuufi ... in total, 13 players saw their first action in a Husky uniform in the season-opener vs. Montana ... eight players made their first career UW start in the Montana game, and one more did at Michigan, which means that 38 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 77 games in a row without allowing an opponent to score more than 35 points, easily the longest such streak in the nation ... Race Porter currently leads the Pac-12 (13th in NCAA) with his 47.4-yard punt average, which is nearly two yards ahead of pace for the single-season school ercord (45.6) ... Morris leads the Pac-12 in passing yard and passing yards per game.
TELEVISION: The Washington-Arkansas State game will air on Pac-12 Network, with J.B. Long (play by play) and Max Browne (analyst) calling the action. The TV broadcast can also be viewed at on various online/digital services. Visit Pac-12.com for more.
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 211 and XM channel 211. Additionally, the Jimmy Lake Show airs each Wednesday during the season (starting Sept. 1), at 6:00 p.m. PT.
HUSKIES and RED WOLVES/SUN BELT: Not surprisingly, given the geography, Washington and Arkansas State have never met on the gridiron. In fact, Washington has played just one game against the 10 teams that currently compete in the Sun Belt Conference in football. In the meantime, the Red Wolves have yet to ever have faced a current member of the Pac-12 Conference in its history. Arkansas State was, for a time, in the same conference as Idaho (the Vandals were in the Sun Belt from 2014-17), and the Vandals were also formerly members of the Pacific Coast Conference (1922-1958), but that's about as close as it gets. The Huskies have never played any teams from the state of Arkansas, while ASU has never played any state of Washington-based program.
Washington's lone game against the current membership of the Sun Belt was its win over Georgia State on Sept. 21, 2014. In that game, the Panthers led 14-0 at halftime, before the Huskies came out to dominate the second half, en route to a 45-14 victory in former head coach Chris Petersen's fourth game as UW head coach.
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 71-14 record against non-Pac-10/Pac-12 foes in Husky Stadium. Notable wins wins during that stretch include victories over No. 19 Boise State in 2013, 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's 20-game winning streak in non-conference home games was broken two weeks ago vs. Montana.
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 77 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 13 times (of those 13, five were exactly 30 points) and have been held to 14 or fewer points 31 times. In that same span of 76 games, the UW has scored more than 35 points on 30 occasions. No other team in the FBS has a current streak longer than 36 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. Washington has allowed one player longer than 40 yards in two games this season..
THE PAC-12: Prior to the 2011 season, the Pac-10 Conference added Utah and Colorado to expand to the Pac-12. Washington, which along with California is one of two schools who have been in the conference since its founding in 1915, plays in the Pac-12 North, along with the other three Northwest schools (Oregon, OSU, WSU) and Stanford and Cal. Under the current system, each school plays all five division rivals, plus four of six teams in the other division each season. The first two seasons, the Huskies did not face UCLA or Arizona State. In 2013 and 14, the Huskies didn't play Utah or USC. In 2015 in 2016, neither UCLA nor Colorado were on the UW schedule, while the Huskies didn't face USC and Arizona in 2017 or 2018. The 2019 season marked the start of a new cycle, moving the rotation back to where it started. Therefore, the Huskies 2019 and 2020 scheduled did not include UCLA and Arizona State. In 2021 and 2002, Washington will not play USC and Utah.