Utah St.-Washington Preview
SEATTLE (AP) It's a fact Chris Petersen knows well from his previous coaching stop. Utah State enjoys making life miserable for teams from Power Five conferences.
The Aggies recent history of near misses against ranked or power conference teams includes Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Auburn, Wisconsin and USC.
Petersen and Washington welcome the Aggies to Seattle on Saturday in the non-conference finale for the Huskies. It's the continuation of an early-season theme for Petersen getting reacquainted with programs he knows well. First was Boise State where Petersen previously coached, followed by Sacramento State, which he faced during his playing days at UC Davis.
Now it's Utah State, a program Petersen has never lost to, but one that brings challenges his young Huskies offense has yet to face.
''They're game-planners. So what you just saw on the last tape or two doesn't necessarily mean that's what you're getting,'' Petersen said. ''In fact, it's probably not what you're getting.''
Utah State is coming off a 24-14 loss at No. 21 Utah. Quarterback Chuckie Keeton played through an injured knee and tied the school record for career touchdown passes with 59, but the Aggies went scoreless in the second half thanks to two red-zone turnovers.
''Quite honestly, I think we just ran out of time,'' Utah State coach Matt Wells said. ''That's the way I felt and I know our players felt like that.''
Washington's offense was stagnant in Week 1 but got started in a 49-0 shutout against Sacramento State. Freshman quarterback Jake Browning was aggressive downfield throwing for 326 yards and two TDs, while fellow freshman Myles Gaskin rushed for 146 yards and two scores.
''This week it's not going to look the same, just in terms of they are a pressure team and they blow a lot of things up,'' Petersen said.
Here's what else to watch for as the Aggies and Huskies meet for the third time:
STARTERS RETURN: Utah State will get a boost at three positions with the return of cornerback Bryant Hayes, wide receiver Hunter Sharp and offensive lineman Tyshon Mosely. All three were suspended two games to start the season for violation of team rules. Sharp was honorable mention all-Mountain West a season ago, while Mosley started 11 games at left guard. Sharp and Mosley are listed as starters.
LEADING MAN: Petersen doesn't want to commit to just one featured running back. But it's clear he's intrigued by what Gaskin brings as a complement to starter Dwayne Washington.
Gaskin got the bulk of the work against Sacramento State while Washington had just four carries but scored two touchdowns. They are different runners - Washington is tall and physical; Gaskin short and shifty - but Petersen likes the combination so far.
''Those two guys are kind of rolling right now, and those other guys are going to have to be ready, and they'll get their opportunity, as well,'' Petersen said.
HERE'S CHUCKIE: Keeton nearly upset Auburn in his first college start. He directed the close calls at Wisconsin and USC and celebrated when the Aggies beat Utah in 2012 at home. About the only item missing from his college resume is leading a road win over a Power Five school.
After falling short last week against the Utes, the visit to Seattle is Keeton's final shot.
NOTHING BUT ZEROS: Lost in much of the attention around Washington's freshmen on offense is a defense that has not allowed points in six straight quarters. The Huskies shut down Boise State in the second half of the opener, then dominated the lower-division Hornets last week for just the second shutout by Washington since 2009. After allowing only 33 yards rushing in the second half to Boise State, the Huskies limited Sacramento State to 11 yards rushing.
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