The Washington Huskies play in the Pac-12, wear purple and gold and are coached by Chris Petersen, who is best known for leading Boise State to two memorable BCS bowl wins.

But really, who are the Huskies anyway?

It’s a question that might not be answered until the Huskies play BYU Saturday.

The Huskies enter the 1:30 p.m. game ranked No. 22 in the AP Top 25 and are favored to win by almost a touchdown, but are the Huskies one of the top teams in the Pac-12 or are they over-hyped?

Washington is giving up just 18 points a game and 324 yards of offense, however all three of the Huskies’ games have been played at home against questionable competition.

The Huskies opened with a 47-14 win over Eastern Washington, were surprised by Cal with a 20-19 loss, then pounded Hawaii 52-20.

The Huskies’ contest with Cal was notable for the struggles of junior quarterback Jacob Eason, a transfer from Georgia.

He was 18-of-30 passing for 162 yards with an interception and a fumble and was generally flustered.


When • Saturday, 1:30 p.m.
TV • Ch. 4 or ESPN2

For the season Eason is 63-of-91 passing for 773 yards and seven touchdowns with one interception, but he will be facing one of his biggest challenges thus far in the Cougars, who harassed USC quarterback Kedon Slovis a week ago, holding him to just 94 yards passing after halftime and nabbing three interceptions.

But unlike USC, which is known for its offensive weapons, Washington is best known for its defense recently.

The Huskies have led the Pac-12 in both scoring defense and total defense the last four seasons. Last year the 11th-ranked Huskies pounded the No. 20 Cougars 35-7, giving up just 194 yards.

BYU quarterback Tanner Mangum was 18-of-21 passing for 160 yards in that game, but the Cougars only had seven first downs and had just one drive of longer than seven plays. The only BYU score came off a muffed punt.

It was a nightmare game that was one of the last for Mangum as starting quarterback since he was replaced by Zach Wilson two weeks later.

BYU coach Kalani Sitake tactfully called the whipping a “great learning experience.”

“We’re looking to see how much we’ve learned from that and how much we learned from last week,” he said of the USC win. “We’ll see how we match up. I have a lot of respect for that program and what they’ve done since Coach Petersen has been there.”

Like Sitake, Petersen is aware the Cougars have made some changes for the better, namely turning the offense over to Wilson, who Petersen said brings a new wrinkle to the offense.

“They’ve tweaked the system and aren’t so heavy run-oriented,” he said. “They still want to run the ball but it is different. I think the quarterback makes them better. He is a really good player, he is super athletic and gets the ball out quick and he has some moxie to him.”

Perhaps that savviness is just what the Cougars need to figure out Washington.