A sense of excitement not felt for some time in Seattle is building for the Washington Huskies football show, which debuted in the 2022 NCAA Top 25 rankings at 18th this week after a 39-28 win over No. Michigan State. .
This Saturday, the Huskies (3-0) look to continue winning with the start of the Pac-12 season, hosting Stanford at Husky Stadium in a night game.
Two years ago, Washington couldn’t play for the Pac-12 championship because its roster was ravaged by COVID cases. Last season, the team finished 4-8 overall and head coach Jimmy Lake was fired in November over an incident involving a team player.
But this season looks different. Washington has 136 points scored in its first three games, although the first two were at home against Kent State and FCS Portland State.
“Realizing that there are so many things that could have been even better than what happened Saturday night,” said Huskies coach Kalen DeBoer. “So I know we have a group of guys who felt that way at first, which could be where we are. And now they see it, piling days on days, practice on practice and now games on top of games. place. But we cannot be full of ourselves.”
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Washington is led by quarterback Michael Penix Jr., a transfer from Indiana. Penix threw for 10 touchdowns and won the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week after passing for 397 yards, the eighth-highest single-game total in school history, against Michigan State.
Stanford (1-1) is taking the last weekend off. The Cardinal has already played a conference game, a 41-28 home loss to the now USC No. 7. Saturday is the second of three straight games against potential Top 25 teams, with Washington this week and the current No. 15 Oregon on October 1st.
According to Stanford Athletics, the Cardinal has 29 wins against nationally ranked opponents under coach David Shaw. Five of those were against Washington, and Stanford is 5-1 when facing a team of Huskies ranked in the Top 25.
Shaw is 7-4 against Washington in his career. He called Washington a good football team that is playing fast and with a lot of confidence.
“It’s not an insurmountable task, but at the same time, there’s a level of football that we can play that is much higher than what we’ve played so far this year,” Shaw said. “So that’s our focus.”
The Cardinal is led by running back EJ Smith, who has 206 yards and three touchdowns in two games. But he is not expected to play on Saturday due to a health issue.
Shaw hopes Smith can play next week in Oregon.
Quarterback Tanner McKee has three touchdown passes and three interceptions in two games so far this season. He completed 42 of 62 passes for 528 yards.
Head to head, the Huskies and Cardinal are 44-44-4 against each other.