Georgia State (1-2) at Washington (3-0) (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Husky Stadium (72,500) -- Seattle, Washington. Television: Pac-12 Network. Home Record: GSU 1-2, UW 2-0. Away Record: GSU 0-0, UW 1-0. Neutral Record: GSU 0-0, UW 0-0. Conference Record: GSU 0-0, UW 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: With a date against Stanford looming, the Washington Huskies will face the Georgia State Panthers in a final non-conference appetizer at Husky Stadium on Saturday.
The Chris Petersen era has gotten off to a solid start for Washington, which has won its first three games. The Huskies had tough games against Hawaii (17-16) and Eastern Washington (59-52) before rolling over Illinois (44-19) last weekend. A win this Saturday would give the Huskies 4-0 starts in back- to-back seasons.
Georgia State is in its second season as an FBS program. The Panthers managed to escape with a 38-37 win over Abilene Christian in week one, but have returned to the losing ways that sent them to an 0-12 campaign last year. They dropped a 34-31 decision to New Mexico State after that early win and then fell flat against Air Force (48-38).
This bout marks the first meeting between these two schools on the football field.
Georgia State may not have a stellar record, but the offense can't be blamed. The Panthers are scoring 35.7 points per game and they rank 22nd in the country in total offense (523.7 ypg). In the loss to Air Force they actually out-gained the Falcons (549-539).
Nick Arbuckle has been both a major reason for the offensive success and the Panthers' struggles to win games. The Panthers' quarterback has thrown for 1,121 yards and seven touchdowns already, while completing 61.9 percent of his pass attempts. However, he also has been picked off five times. He racked up 414 yards passing against Air Force.
With Arbuckle slinging the ball around so frequently there have been plenty of opportunities for the receiving corps. Robert Davis (16 receptions, 202 yards) leads the team in receptions, while Joel Ruiz (15 receptions, 223 yards, two TDs) has gained the most yards. Lynquez Blair (15 receptions, 212 yards, three TDs) has been the top target in scoring situations.
Krysten Hammon has carried the load out of the backfield, with 197 yards and two touchdowns in just two games. Kyler Neal (152 yards, TD) was the top rusher against Air Force, picking up 80 yards and a touchdown on 10 attempts.
While the offense has been humming along, the defense has been off key. The Panthers are surrendering just under 40 points per game, while allowing 490.7 yards of total offense each week. A major weak point has been on third down, where opposing teams are converting 49 percent of their chances.
Joseph Peterson (39 tackles, INT) is a tackling machine, ranking fourth in the country in total stops. Jarrell Robinson (5.0 TFL, 2.0 sacks) is a difficult player to deal with up front.
Most of the offensive success the Huskies had under former head coach Steve Sarkisian, has carried over into the Petersen regime. The Huskies are averaging an even 40 points and 445.3 yards of total offense per game. They are fifth in the Pac-12 in scoring.
Cyler Miles gives the Huskies a dynamic threat at quarterback. After missing the first game due to suspension, Miles has come on to throw for 371 yards and two scores while rushing for 113 yards and three touchdowns in the last two games. He has proven to be more than just a gun-and-run quarterback, however, completing 65.9 percent of his pass attempts.
Jaydon Mickens and John Ross are the two receivers Miles looks for the most. Mickens leads the team in receptions (12) and has 144 receiving yards. Ross has been nearly unstoppable with 224 yards and three touchdowns on only six catches.
There has been a rotation of sorts at running back for the Huskies. Lavon Coleman has a team-high of 52 carries for 242 yards and a touchdown, but Dwayne Washington (131 yards, three TDs), Jesse Callier (91 yards, TD) and even Shaq Thompson (82 yards, TD) have gotten work.
Speaking of Thompson, he certainly had a big game against Illinois. The junior linebacker returned a fumble and an interception for a touchdown and was named the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week for his efforts. Kikaha Hau'oli also dominated, racking up three sacks. Kikaha (5.0 sacks) and Danny Shelton (6.0 sacks) are the top two sack men in the Pac-12.
As a team, Washington is surrendering 29 points and 449.3 yards of total offense per game on defense.
With Hau'oli and Shelton applying pressure, the Panthers' pass-heavy offense could be in for a long day. That will spell doom for Georgia State, which doesn't have much of a chance of keeping Miles and the UW offense at bay.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Washington 43, Georgia State 10Game Date and Time
Saturday, September 20, 6 p.m. (ET)