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Behind Enemy Lines: Washington Huskies

The Beavers hit the road take on the Washington Huskies in a 1:30 pm kick at Husky Stadium in Seattle, Washington.

Joining BeaverBlitz to help give insight on what the Huskies bring to the table on Saturday is Chris Fetters of The Huskies have had two wins and two losses over the past four games. What is the vibe around the team heading into the final two games of the season, especially given the Beavers lack of success this year?

Chris Fetters: Haven’t gotten a chance to be around the players yet, but they’re always pretty workmanlike. It’s the veteran presence that at least gives the appearance of a consistent vibe, regardless of how things are really going behind the scenes. We don’t get to see them practice, so any indications of them having a poor practice(s) is something we always find out about after the fact, like we did after the Cal loss.

Just given where this team has been the last couple of years and also knowing the experience they have at key leadership positions, there’s no way you’d think they would overlook OSU – especially on Senior Day. If anything, the loss at Cal just provided them more ammo when it comes to not overlooking anyone if they plan on fulfilling their season goals. At this point there’s only one goal that’s out the window (getting to the College Football Playoff), so everything else is in sight.

BB: Beaver fans know Jake Browning and Myles Gaskin, but who are some players on Washington’s offense that they need to know about prior to Saturday? What about defense?

CF: On offense, you’ve named the top two guys OSU fans should know about. The Huskies got sophomore tight end Hunter Bryant back against Stanford, and with an extra week to prepare he should be fully ready to go on Saturday. Some of the other names to remember are RB Salvon Ahmed, WR Aaron Fuller and WR Ty Jones.

Defensively, it starts with the front three of Greg Gaines, Jaylen Johnson and Levi Onwuzurike. Ben Burr-Kirven and Tevis Bartlett anchor the middle of UW’s linebacking corps, and the Huskies secondary is very, very good. Jordan Miller and Myles Bryant didn’t play against Stanford, but Keith Taylor and Elijah Molden played very well in their stead. They get Jojo McIntosh back from ejection, and the top two defensive backs – Taylor Rapp and Byron Murphy – are ones OSU fans definitely need to pay attention to.

BB: What is the injury report for the Huskies on Saturday?

CF: The only players they are really missing on the offensive side of the ball are left tackle Trey Adams (who has been out all season) and receivers Chico McClatcher (out for personal reasons) and Quinten Pounds (season-ending injury). Other than that, everyone else is available.

Defensively, the only player of note that’s out is DB Austin Joyner, who had to retire due to injury. DL Jared Pulu also retired. LB DJ Beavers has been week-to-week, and Chris Petersen has been frustrated by him not recovering as quickly as once thought. DB Jordan Miller has been out the last couple of games, so he’ll be game-to-game too. Myles Bryant missed the Stanford game, so not sure what his status is going to be. Would expect he’s week-to-week as well.

BB: If Oregon State is going to beat the Stanford, what do they need to do?

CF: UW is negative in the turnover battle for the first time in what seems like forever under Chris Petersen, so OSU has to win the battle of the turnovers and field position. UW won’t take the top off OSU’s defense; they’ll ground and pound and take their shots when they can. If OSU can keep UW in their own end and make them consistently drive the length of the field, they’ve got a chance because that’s just a hard way to put points on the board. Finally, if OSU can manage their own offense with a potent run game, that should take pressure off whoever is playing quarterback for the Beavers.

The formula that we’ve seen teams employ this year is shorten the game, keep UW’s defense on the field as much as possible, play field position, get turnovers, and be in a position to win the game in the fourth quarter.

BB: Finally, how do you see the game playing out, including final score?

CF: Well, I’ll have my final score prediction on Friday for any OSU fan interested in my take, but I believe the Huskies are going to come back refreshed and ready to go. They needed the bye week in the worst way. That doesn’t mean I think they’ll come out clean and just jump all over Oregon State. It might take a quarter to get fully settled back in, but with a healthier Myles Gaskin and a healthier Hunter Bryant available, that should give Jake Browning time and space to operate. I know the Beavers aren’t great on run defense, and UW is at their best when Gaskin establishes himself.

Defensively, UW will give up yards. I suspect OSU will be able to run a little bit against the Huskies. But once the Beavers get to UW’s 20-yard line, Washington gets very stingy in a hurry. They’ll be more than happy to give up some field goals. Jake Luton showed against Colorado he can let it fly and get confident in a hurry, so UW is going to have to make sure he doesn’t get comfortable and has to check down most of the night.

It’s early in the week writing this, and I know the early spread is 32 (!!!), but I don’t think UW covers that. They have been really poor ATS, but at the same time I think it should be a solid UW win – probably in the area of 21-24 points

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