Washington and Auburn Faceoff in Lone Top Ten Matchup of Week 1

Written by Garin Turner

In one of the three marquee games this weekend between two ranked teams, the sixth-ranked Washington Huskies take on the ninth-ranked Auburn Tigers in the Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, on Saturday, Sept. 1, at 2:30 PM CST on ABC.


The two Power Five schools will meet for the time ever in the season opener for both teams. The Huskies are 1-8 against the SEC while the Tigers are 5-2 against the Pac-12. Washington finished last season 10-3 while Auburn finished 10-4.


This game could go a long way even in the first official week of the season in determining a potential spot in the College Football Playoffs. The Huskie defense has been the best in the Pac-12 statistically for the past three years. They’ll look to get off to a good start to the season as they try to slow down an Auburn team that ran and passed for 3,000 yards in a season (3,267 passing and 3,056 rushing). Auburn quarterback Jarrett Stidham averaged 225.6 passing yards a game last season. The sophomore had 18 touchdown passes on the year and threw for 3,158 yards.


“It’s one game and our first game against a really good team that a lot of people are going to talk about throughout the season – we know that. “But I think it’s important that the coaches have this in perspective. It’s one game against a really good team,” Washington Huskies head coach Chris Peterson said.


Stidham will have a familiar target back this year in senior receiver Ryan Davis who has 109 career receptions which are ninth in Auburn history. Davis had 84 of those receptions last year for 815 yards and five touchdowns. 17 different Tigers caught at least one pass last season. Nine players caught at least one pass of 35 yards or longer.


The Tigers ranked 14th nationally in total defense but will need to find a way to keep Washington quarterback Jake Browning and running back Myles Gaskin in check. Browning threw for 2,719 yards and 19 touchdowns last year. The senior has 78 career touchdown passes and has thrown for 9,104 yards in his career. Gaskin carried the ball 222 times last year for 1,380 yards and 21 touchdowns.


“Looking forward to playing one of the best teams in college football. When I look at Washington, defensively they were a Top 10 defense last year. They’ve got nine starters back,” Auburn Tigers head coach Gus Malzahn said.


The Huskies take on Utah, UCLA, and #24 Oregon on the road this year. They do host #13 Stanford and avoid USC this season.


For the Tigers, they host #25 LSU in two weeks, travel to #18 Miss St. and #3 Georgia and of course they play #1 Alabama on the road in the Iron Bowl.

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