University of Washington

Week 1 opponent previews for Huskies, Cougars

UW’s opponent this week


11 a.m. Saturday, Husky Stadium, Pac-12 Network, 1000-AM, 97.7-FM

Coach: Chris Ash (first season as head coach).

Against the Huskies: First meeting.

Scouting report: It’s the beginning of a new era at Rutgers, where a new coaching staff has taken over after the firing of coach Kyle Flood. Ash was co-defensive coordinator at Ohio State the past two seasons and has never been a head coach. His offensive coordinator, Drew Mehringer, was receivers coach at Houston last season and is implementing a spread offense. Defensive coordinator Jay Niemann came from Northern Illinois. So the Huskies are studying film from a few different schools this week. … Ash named Chris Laviano the starting quarterback this month after he threw for 2,247 yards, 16 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in 12 games (11 starts) last season. The Scarlet Knights return 14 starters total – seven on offense and seven on defense – but were picked in a media poll to finish last in the Big Ten East. … There is some talent. Leading rushers Robert Martin and Josh Hicks are back, as is return specialist Janarion Grant, who scored three touchdowns on kick returns last season. … Rutgers ranked 121st in the country last season in yards per play allowed at 6.85, so that side of the ball obviously remains a concern – and the Scarlet Knights lost their top three tacklers from a year ago.

Did you know? Rutgers has nine victories over ranked teams in its history and hasn’t beaten a ranked team on the road since 2008 (Pittsburgh).

Christian Caple:

WSU’s opponent this week


5 p.m. Saturday, Martin Stadium, Pullman, Pac-12 Network, 710-AM

Coach: Beau Baldwin (73-30 in eight seasons at EWU; 83-33 in nine seasons overall).

Against the Cougars: WSU leads the all-time series 3-0.

Scouting report: The 2015 season was a down year, by Eastern Washington standards. The Eagles finished 6-5 overall and 5-3 in the Big Sky, tied for fourth in the conference, after winning a total of 34 games in the previous three seasons. … This will be the first meeting between WSU and EWU since 2012, when the Cougars escaped with a 24-20 victory at Martin Stadium after a Hail Mary pass fell incomplete. … EWU is 9-24 all-time against FBS opponents. Its most recent victory against an FBS team came in 2013, a 49-46 win at Oregon State. … Eastern lists three players as possible starters at quarterback: third-year sophomore Gage Gubrud, senior Jordan West and sophomore Reilly Hennessey. Gubrud was third string last year and attempted only 13 passes, but he excelled during fall camp and appears to be the guy. … EWU’s best player is fifth-year senior receiver Cooper Kupp, who was named FCS Offensive Player of the Year and has 311 receptions, 4,764 yards and 56 touchdowns in his career. … Eastern returns 14 starters. … The Eagles were picked to finish third in the Big Sky media poll, and they were picked fourth by the coaches.

Did you know? Kupp’s grandfather, Jake Kupp, played offensive line at Washington in the 1960s.

Christian Caple:

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