Cal Football: First Look at the Washington Huskies

Quarterback Jacob Eason, right, celebrates with receiver Andre Baccellia after the two hooked up on a 50-yard touchdown play.Photo by Jennifer Buchanan, USA Today

Jeff Faraudo

Fresh off an uneven 27-13 win over UC Davis in their opener, the Bears begin Pac-12 play off their season on Saturday against defending conference champion Washington in Seattle.

Here is the early report on what you need to know about the Huskies:

KICKOFF: 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Husky Stadium in Seattle, Wash.

TV: FS1

WEATHER FORECAST: Seattle is expected to have a high of about 73 degrees on Saturday, dropping somewhat as the evening progresses to an overnight low of 57. There’s a 20-percent chance of rain — in other words, a typical Seattle day for this time of year.

WASHINGTON’S 2019 RECORD: 1-0

THE SERIES: Washington leads 54-40-4. Cal won 12-10 in Berkeley last year when linebacker Evan Weaver returned a pass interception 37 yards for a touchdown. Cal lost 38-7 in Seattle two years ago, but beat the Huskies on the road in 2015.

WASHINGTON COACH: Chris Petersen entered this season with the highest career winning percentage of any active FBS coach. In his 14th season, Petersen’s record now stands at 140-33 (.809), including 48-21 in his sixth year at Washington and 92-12 in eight seasons at Boise State. He has never endured a losing season and his teams have won 10 games or more in 10 of his 13 full seasons.

WASHINGTON STORYLINES: UW was pegged No. 13 in the preseason Associated Press Top-25 and No. 2 (behind Oregon) in the Pac-12 North, according to the annual media poll. The Huskies return their offensive line intact and welcome home quarterback Jacob Eason, a transfer from Georgia. UW got a lift in its 47-14 win over Eastern Washington from redshirt freshman running back Richard Newton, who rushed for 91 yards on 7.6 yards per attempt and scored on a 23-yard run off a direct snap on his first collegiate carry. But the Huskies face a huge challenge defensively, where they return just two starters from the 2018 unit that ranked first in the Pac-12 in scoring defense (16.4 points) and total defense (306.2 yards).

TOUGH AT HOME: Washington has won 15 in a row at Husky Stadium, the fourth-longest ongoing streak in FBS. The Huskies are 21-1 in Seattle in their past 22 games there.

WASHINGTON’S BEST PLAYER: Eason had to beat out Jake Haener in a fall camp battle for the starting job. When Eason got the call, Haener — an East Bay product — immediately placed his name in the transfer portal. Eason looks like the right choice. The former Lake Stevens, Wash., prep star, who began his college career at Georgia, passed for 349 yards and four touchdowns without a turnover in the Huskies’ win over Eastern Washington in his first game in nearly two full calendar years.

LIFE AFTER BROWNING & GASKIN: The Huskies have re-tooled their offense after the departure of four-year offensive stars Jake Browning and Myles Gaskin. Browning passed for 12,296 career yards and 94 touchdowns and, as a sophomore in 2016, posted the spectacular totals of 3,430 yards with 43 TDs. Gaskin posted four consecutive 1,000 rushing seasons to finish with 5,323 yards and 62 total touchdowns. Browning will spend this NFL season with the Minnesota Vikings practice squad but Gaskin earned a spot on the Miami Dolphins’ 53-man roster along with ex-Cal star Patrick Laird.

BETTING LINE: Washington is an 11 1/2-point favorite, according to VegasInsider.com’s opening line.

Click here for Justin Wilcox video on the shortcomings Cal has to fix.

Click here for a rundown on how Pac-12 teams did in the opening weekend.

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