Washington Huskies Opponent Preview: Week 1

Washington Huskies
Boise State Broncos Helmet

The Washington Huskies open their 2023 season at home on Saturday, September 2, against Boise State. We preview the visiting Broncos.

It’s football time in the Pacific Northwest. The Washington Huskies begin the 2023 season by hosting Boise State at Husky Stadium on Saturday afternoon.


The Washington Huskies and Boise State Broncos cross paths once again in a contest marked by history. Having previously clashed five times, the Huskies hold a slight edge with a 3-2 lead in the series.

Their most recent encounter was three seasons ago at the 2019 Las Vegas Bowl, where the Huskies triumphed with a commanding 38-7 victory. Now, the teams prepare to write a new chapter in their rivalry.

Last year, Boise State was 10-4, but were a perfect 8-0 Mountain West Conference regular season play. Their only loss to a conference team came in the MWC Championship Game at the hands of Fresno State.

Boise State Offense

Quarterback Taylen Green leads Boise State’s offense. 2023 will be his second as the Broncos starter.

A redshirt freshman last season, Green completed 61% of his passes for 2,042 yards, with 14 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. He’s a duel threat. Green also averaged 7.3 yards per carry and scored 10 touchdowns on the ground.

Speaking of the running game, Boise State has two capable running backs at their disposal. George Holani, a senior, had 1,142 rushing yards with ten touchdowns. It was his second straight year breaking the thousand-yard mark. His backup, Ashton Jeanty, a true freshman in 2022, had 821 yards and 7 touchdowns.

Boise State averaged 5.0 yards per carry last year, so it will be important for the Washington Huskies to improve their run defense. The Broncos will need to win the opening coin flip; otherwise, UW can get the ball first to put BSU in the hole early, forcing the visitors into pass mode.

Though the Broncos like to run, their base offense uses three wide receivers and a tight end. Junior slot receiver Latrell Caples led the team with 51 catches for 549 yards and 4 touchdowns.

Their wideouts are both seniors. Billy Bowens had 32 catches for 462 yards and 2 touchdowns, while Stefan Cobb caught 29 passes for 396 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Returning tight end Riley Smith had 25 catches and 1 score.

Bralen Trice and Zion Tupuola-Fetui lead a talented Washington Huskies pass rush. They and the rest of UW’s defense will contend with Boise State’s veteran group of offensive linemen. While experienced, the Broncos O-line has little depth as their backups are redshirt freshmen and sophomores.

Boise State Defense

The Broncos play a similar defense to the one UW uses, with a noise tackle, defensive tackle, two edge rushers, middle linebacker, weakside linebacker, and five defensive backs. Playing the Huskies will keep them busy.

BSU starts five redshirt seniors, two juniors, three redshirt juniors, and one redshirt sophomore. Last year, Boise State gave up 124.8 rushing yards and 167.71 passing yards. Despite their experience and success, the Broncos face an uphill battle against an offense that averaged 146 and 370 yards, respectively.

Linebacker D.J. Schramm is the unit’s leader. The fifth-year senior is coming off a season with 107 tackles, including 11.5 for loss and a forced fumble. Boise State will lean on his leadership as they start three transfers on defense.

Washington Huskies quarterback Michael Penix will need to know where cornerback Jaylen Clark is at the snap. Clark can cover man and has been known to make big plays. He’ll have to be at his best on Saturday because the Broncos lost two very good safeties from last year’s team.

Final thoughts

As has been the case this century, the Broncos are expected to have another good season. Since 2000, BSU has a record of 241-64 (.790), and they make frequent appearances in the rankings.

Boise State opened up against the Oregon State Beavers last year, losing 34-17. OSU was the only Power-5 school they played.

Unfortunately for them, they face an offensive juggernaut in the Washington Huskies, who might be better than last year’s team, which finished eighth in the final AP Rankings. That includes Penix, who is among this year’s Heisman Trophy favorites.

The Broncos caught a slight break when Washington’s starting running back, Cameron Davis, went down with a season-ending injury during camp. Even without Davis, they will still face a deep group of backs.

BSU is an ideal opponent for the Washington Huskies, who enter the game as a 14.5-point favorite. They are a competitive team with talent, just maybe not on UW’s level this year.

Look for Penix and the Washington Huskies to make an early statement to the poll and Heisman voters. Go Dawgs!

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