Five Things to Know About Washington

By Jake Anderson on December 26, 2018 at 7:25 pm
Byron Murphy returns the game-winning pick six against Utah

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

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They often say to keep your friends close and your enemies closer. With that being said, let's preview this week's opponent: the Washington Huskies.

History of the Purple and Gold

Washington may not have the history of Pac-12 powerhouse USC, but is still one of the best programs out West. With 734 wins and two national championships, Washington has a rich history of football. Its 17 conference championships rank second in the Pac-12. 

Chris Petersen has Made Washington One of the Best Programs Out West

Since taking over in 2014, Chris Petersen's Huskies have a 46-20 record with a College Football Playoff appearance and two Pac-12 Championships, marking one of the most successful four-year runs in Washington's history. Petersen has led the Purple and Gold to three consecutive New Year's Six Bowl appearances but has failed to win any of them. 

Petersen has built Washington into the marquee program out West. Oregon collapsed after Chip Kelly's departure, USC has achieved two respectable seasons but no playoff appearances, but Petersen's Huskies have consistently won 10 games for the past three years. 

Petersen is one of two active head coaches with a career winning percentage over .800. The other head coach to accomplish this feat? Urban Meyer.  

Offensive Struggles Plague the Huskies

Washington quarterback Jake Browning, once heralded as an early-round prospect for the upcoming NFL Draft, has struggled immensely this season. The senior's quarterback rating is at its lowest mark since his freshman year and has thrown 10 interceptions this season. 

Myles Gaskin has picked up the slack in the offense, rushing for over 1,100 yards with 11 total touchdowns. Gaskins has picked up his play in big games, rushing for 241 yards and three touchdowns in the past three weeks. 

The Huskies' offense averages 25 points per game, putting them at the miserable ranking of no. 87 in the nation in scoring offense. 

Washington Possesses One of the Best Secondaries in the Nation

When Washington's offense struggled, its defense stepped up. The Huskies allow just 16.5 points per game and often carry this team to victory, as they did against Utah in the Pac-12 Championship Game. 

The Huskies possess three AP All-Americans on defense: inside linebacker Ben Burr-Kirven, cornerback Byron Murphy, and safety Taylor Rapp. 

Washington allows under 200 passing yards per game and held pass-heavy Washington State to just 152 yards through the air. Haskins and co. will have their work cut out for them on Tuesday. 

Ohio State Takes the Historical Advantage

Washington is not an unfamiliar opponent for Ohio State. The two teams have squared off 11 times with the Buckeyes taking eight of their matchups. The two teams last played in 2007, where Ohio State handled the Huskies 33-14. This will be the first time they have met in the Rose Bowl. 

The Buckeyes are looking for their first Rose Bowl appearance since 2010 and their fourth bowl win in five years. 

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