Sep 14, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Washington Huskies running back Bishop Sankey (25) rushes the ball against Illinois Fighting Illini defensive back Earnest Thomas III (9) during the first half at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Idaho State Bengals vs. Washington Huskies preview

The Washington Huskies will look to continue their hot start to the 2013 season when they take on the Idaho State Bengals of the FCS. The game will kickoff at noon (Pacific Time) and can be seen on the Pac-12 Network. Here’s everything, and I mean everything, you need to know to prepare yourself for the game (and some stuff you could probably do without).

Why are the people so excited about the 2-0 Huskies?

Washington is ranked No. 17 in the AP Poll, which is the highest ranking they’ve had in a decade. The team also hasn’t started 3-0 since 2001. While they used to be the bullies of the Pacific Northwest, the Huskies have fallen on hard times in recent years, going 7-6 for the past three seasons under Steve Sarkisian. However, with a renovated offense and Keith Price playing like he did in 2011, it appears that this is the year the Huskies will be able make some serious noise in the Pac-12 North.

So how good is Washington running back Bishop Sankey?

Really, really good. Sankey isn’t the flashiest running back out there — he’s no De’Anthony Thomas, that’s for sure — but he’s very dependable and gives the fast-paced Washington attack the powerful running threat it needs on short-yardage situations. Sankey quietly rushed for 1,439 yards and 16 touchdowns in 2012 and is on pace to shatter those numbers in 2013 (he’s already run for 369 yards and three touchdowns in only two games). The Pac-12 is always loaded with talented running backs, and Sankey is arguably the best in the conference this year.

How does Washington’s new offense look?

Scary. Sarkisian said before the season began that he wanted the team to focus on playing up-tempo at all times, and the results speak for themselves. The Huskies are averaging 85 plays per game in 2013, up from a mere 72 in 2012 (numbers rounded). In terms of yards per game, Washington trails only Texas A&M, Oregon, and Baylor. That’s pretty elite company when it comes to offensive firepower.

Okay, so do the Bengals stand any chance?

Um…no. Though 2-0 on the year, Idaho State hasn’t taken on anyone even remotely in the same league as Washington (with all apologies to Western State and Dixie State, which are evidently real schools and not Risk territories). They do play in the same conference as Eastern Washington, though, so maybe some of the Eagles upset magic will rub off on the Bengals. But unless alumnus Jared Allen suits up, I don’t think Idaho State is going to put up much of a fight.

Come on, you mean Idaho State has nobody worth watching?

Actually, junior quarterback Justin Arias — which is a perfect name for an opera singer, I should add — is best in the FCS when it comes to passing yards per game. Still, he could be in for a rough day considering Sarkisian specifically said this week that he wants the defense to step up and create more turnovers.


Tags: Bishop Sankey Idaho State Vandals Steve Sarkisian Washington Huskies

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