Photo credit: Dean Rutz
Defense was the name of the game on the season opener in Atlanta. The Washington Huskies bend but don’t break defense kept Auburn out of the endzone for the most part, but Auburn’s defense one upped the Huskeis in keeping the Dawgs off the board when it came to red zone defense.
Auburn looked indomitable in the 1st half as the Huskies were unable to gather more than 6 points for most of the first 2 quarters.
Not having to punt for the first half, Auburn’s offence marched up and down the field in the 1st half. Luckily, UW’s defense stiffened inside the red zone and they surrendered just 1 TD, keeping the Tigers to field goal attempts on their 3 other foray’s in the 1st half.
In the 2nd half, the Husky defence was even more bold as they kept the Tigers off the board until late in the 4th quarter. Whereas Auburn ran amok in the 1st half, they failed to gain any momentum until a 4th quarter drive saw them go 76 yards in 10 plays for the go ahead touchdown.
The UW offense looked inept at times (could be related to a very strong showing by a legitimate Auburn defense). Jake Browning was outshined by AUburn’s Jarrett Stidham as the UW senior would hit jsut 18-32. While he did have 296 yards, a critical interception and turnover on downs would spell doom for the Huskies.
The ground game looked average at best as the Tigers stout defence held Miles Gaskin to 75 yards on 17 attempts. One could only imagine that the loss of future NFL prospect Trey Adams at tackle would take its toll. Playing a man down, was a visible weakness on this day.
Aaron Fuller had a monster day receiving with 7 catches for 135 yards in a break out performance. Quinten Pounds had an amazing TD catch and Ty Jones was a matchup nightmare for the Tigers all day long. In fact, I am not certain why they didn’t keep feeding Jones the ball as he had the physical advantage over the Tiger defense.
On could hope for a College Football Playoff appearance, however, nothing short of a win would be enough. Losses to Alabama and Penn State in recent years have scarred the Huskies chances of being considered one of the best. While it is true losses to other contenders can and will happen, it didnt look like the Dawgs have a true #1 in the nation look on this day.
While the Husky defense looked sharp when it counted, one had to notice that Auburn went 9-18 on 3rd downs and the Purple and Gold put themselves in a lot of ugly situations that may not have been necessary.