SEATTLE – Washington has looked strong both offensively and defensively this year. The problem is, it hasn't happened in the same game.
The opener at Hawaii saw the Huskies eke out a one-point win thanks to the defense holding the Rainbow Warriors to 16 points. Last Saturday against Eastern Washington was a different story, as Washington's offense came to the rescue in a 59-52 victory.
"It's part of the learning curve of a new staff," Washington linebacker Shaq Thompson said Monday. "We have to all buy in and once we all buy in the consistency should just keep coming and coming and coming. It was a big improvement from Hawaii to Eastern Washington based on the offensive side. We just have to bring the offense and defense together and be on the same level and be able to play."
While the Huskies search for consistency, coach Chris Petersen would be happy to see his offense keep performing at the level it did against Eastern Washington. After failing to score in the second half of its opener, Washington moved the ball much better on Saturday, thanks largely to 356 rushing yards. The Huskies were also efficient through the air with new starter Cyler Miles under center.
"I think guys are out there finishing blocks more, which just opens up opportunities for running backs to prolong the play and find some more room," center Colin Tanigawa said. "I think that was the main thing, and I think our energy was a lot better this game coming out the gate."
Even if the Washington offense repeats its performance this week, Saturday's opponent, Illinois, has proven it can keep pace. Quarterback Wes Lunt has averaged 370.5 yards through the air in wins against Youngstown State and Western Kentucky.
Washington, which allowed Eastern Washington quarterback Vernon Adams to throw for 475 yards and seven touchdowns, could be short-handed in the secondary if junior cornerback Marcus Peters does not play Saturday. The Seattle Times has reported Peters would be suspended for a personal foul penalty and sideline outburst in the third quarter of the Eastern Washington game.
Peters was flagged for an unsportsmanlike conduct personal foul. He was immediately benched and was seen ripping off his gloves and throwing them on the sideline. After the game, Petersen said he wasn't in the mood for "stupid penalties."
Petersen said Monday that all discipline would be kept in-house and he would not comment further on Peters' situation.
"I told you after the game we have to conduct ourselves the right way and we have discipline things and we keep those in-house and go from there," Petersen said.