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2021 Washington college football preview: Lake gets full season in year two

Even with a season cut short to four games due to COVID, first-year head coach Jimmy Lake and his Huskies still claimed the Pac-12 North title. They’ll look to remain atop the division this fall.

NCAA Football: Arizona at Washington Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

COVID-19 prevented us from getting a full look at what first-year head coach Jimmy Lake brings to the table, with his Washington Huskies limited to just four games during the 2020 season. But the few glimpses we did get indicated that this program will remain a consistent threat near the top of the Pac-12 North standings.

The Huskies managed to get four games in between Nov. 14 and Dec. 5, dispatching of Oregon State (27-21), Arizona (44-27), and Utah (24-21) before falling to Stanford (26-31). That 3-1 mark was indeed good enough to qualify them as Pac-12 North Champions, but they were forced to pull out of the conference championship game due to COVID issues in program, relinquishing the spot to rival Oregon.

Now with a full offseason behind them and a pair of talented, young quarterbacks battling it out for the job, Lake’s Dawgs are aiming to stay atop the north this fall.

2020 Season Review

  • 3-1 (conference only schedule), 1st in Pac-12 North
  • Since 2019, Washington is 5-8 against the spread in Pac-12 games.

2021 Talent

2021 247Sports Composite Ranking: 36th
ESPN Returning Production: 82% overall (15th): 91% offense (7th), 73% defense (61st)
Returning Talent Index: Positive, 3rd in Pac-12
Returning starters: 7/11 offense, 7/11 defense
* All rankings out of 130 FBS schools

Key Player

Quarterback: Dylan Morris (Sophomore)/Sam Huard (Freshman)

Dylan Morris emerged as the Washington starter as a redshirt freshman last season and held his own in four starts, completing roughly 61 percent of his passes for 897 yards, four touchdowns, and three interceptions.

Conventional wisdom would normally tab a returnee like Morris as the starter but that’s not the case with a true freshman like Sam Huard now on campus to push him. A Washington football legacy, Huard was rated a five-star prospect by both 247 and Rivals and is the highest rated QB recruit in program history. He ended his prep career as the state of Washington’s all-time leader in passing yards, throwing for 13,214 yards and 153 touchdowns at Kennedy Catholic.

Offense (non-QB): TE Cade Otton (Senior)

Cade Otton enters his senior season as one of the highly touted blocking tight ends in the country who stands to improve his stock for the 2022 NFL Draft. The 6’5”, 240 pound force is entering his fourth season as a starter and was named a Mackey Award semifinalist last year, hauling in 18 receptions for 258 yards and three touchdowns in four games.

Defense: LB Edefuan Ulofoshio (Junior)

Jimmy Lake is a defensive oriented head coach and one of his main difference makers entering the season with preseason All-American hype is Edefuan Ulofoshio. Making 47 tackles and three sacks as a rotational player in 2019, he upped his production as a starter in 2020 by making 47 tackles, four pass deflections, a sack, and a forced fumble in just four games last season.

Team Stats Projections

2020 SP+ final: 19th overall: 27th offense, 19th defense, 109th special teams
2021 SP+ projection: 11th overall: 14th offense, 17th defense

Odds from DraftKings Sportsbook

To win national title: +8000
To win Pac-12: +360
Win total: 8.5 (Over -120, Under +100)

2020 Against The Spread: 1-3
2020 Point Total: Over 2-2

2021 Washington Schedule

2021 Washington Football Schedule

Date Opponent Time (ET)/TV Spread/Total
Date Opponent Time (ET)/TV Spread/Total
Saturday, Sep. 4 Montana 8:00pm/Pac-12Net N/A
Saturday, Sep. 11 at Michigan 8:00pm/ABC UW +1
Saturday, Sep. 18 Arkansas State 4:15pm/Pac-12Net N/A
Saturday, Sep. 25 California TBA N/A
Saturday, Oct. 2 at Oregon State TBA N/A
Saturday, Oct. 9 OPEN TBA N/A
Saturday, Oct. 16 UCLA TBA N/A
Friday, Oct. 22 at Arizona 10:30pm/ESPN2 N/A
Saturday, Oct. 30 at Stanford TBA N/A
Saturday, Nov. 6 Oregon TBA UW +1.5
Saturday, Nov. 13 Arizona State TBA N/A
Saturday, Nov. 20 at Colorado TBA N/A
Friday, Nov. 26 Washington State TBA N/A