Rutgers (4-8 last season) at No. 14 Washington (7-6), 2 p.m. (Pac-12 Network)
Line: Washington by 26½.
Series Record: First meeting.
WHAT’S AT STAKE
Validity for Washington and a fresh start for Rutgers. Washington is facing preseason expectations it hasn’t seen in more than a decade, which may be a little much for a talented team that was only 7-6 last season. The Scarlet Knights are looking for whatever kind of new start they can under new coach Chris Ash after losing five of their final six games to end the 2015 season.
Rutgers QB Chris Laviano vs. Washington’s secondary. Laviano’s first start of the 2016 season comes against one of the best defensive backfields in the country. Laviano won the starting job, beating out TCU transfer Zach Allen. Laviano threw for 2,247 yards and 16 touchdowns last season but was intercepted 12 times. Washington’s talented secondary is led by S Budda Baker and CB Sidney Jones.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Rutgers: DT Darius Hamilton. Hamilton played in just one game in 2015 due to injury. Hamilton was a constant disruption for the Scarlet Knights defense in 2014 when he was an all-Big Ten honorable mention selection and is part of an experienced defensive line.
Washington: QB Jake Browning. If Washington’s offense is to make a major step in 2016 it will be largely based on the improvement of Browning. His freshman season was solid, but big plays were lacking. The return of WR John Ross III should help the Huskies push the ball downfield.
FACTS & FIGURES
Since 1924, Rutgers head coaches are 11-1 in their debut games. The only loss was Dick Anderson in 1984 who suffered a 15-12 loss at Penn State. … First time Washington has opened at home under Chris Petersen. The Huskies opened at Hawaii in 2014 and at Boise State last year. … Third straight year Rutgers is playing a team from the state of Washington. Scarlet Knights split a two-game series with Washington State, winning in Seattle in 2014 (41-38) and losing to the Cougars last year at home (37-34).
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