Auburn football: Huskies’ writer predicts score for top-10 showdown

Chris Petersen will have the Huskies ready for Auburn. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Chris Petersen will have the Huskies ready for Auburn. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images) /

You’ve seen the Fly War Eagle picks for the game Saturday between the No. 9 Auburn football team and No. 6 Washington and it’s time to see what they think from the other side.

Earlier Thursday, we published a Q&A with Bret Stuter, who writes for FanSided’s the Husky Haul and covers the Washington Huskies. He had a lot of insight into the matchup and you can read that here.

The Week 1 matchup is the only game in the country featuring a pair of top-10 teams. And while it may seem early to be thinking about the College Football Playoff, this game is marked as the game of the weekend with playoff implications.

Fly War Eagle spoke with Stuter about a variety of things, included a player Auburn fans might not know about, but should, Washington’s long trip to Atlanta and his score prediction for the game.

More. Auburn tries to get offensive in midseason form vs. Washington. light

Here’s what he told us:

Q: Who is the player Auburn should most be worried about Saturday?

The Husky Haul’s Bret StuterThe Washington Huskies have a secret weapon at running back who did not get much press nor many carries last season, Salvon Ahmed. With the departure of running back Lavon Coleman, look for Ahmed to pick up the lion’s share of his touches. Despite the light work, Ahmed averaged 6.4 yards per carry and at times flashed brilliance with the ball in his hands.

His biggest game by far was the game against Washington State, where he carried the ball nine times for 82 yards.

He has a completely different style than Myles Gaskin. If the Auburn defense is overconfident, Ahmed has the speed to turn a normal play into a burst rush to the end zone for a score. Unless the Tigers put someone on Ahmed from the moment he steps onto the field, he has the talent to turn any carry into a touchdown.

Q: Biggest area of concern from personnel standpoint for Washington?

Bret Stuter: Injuries. The Washington Huskies suffered a series of injuries to key players last season. From the moment the team lost wide receiver Chico McClatcher, the passing game never truly got on track. The impact of injuries last year did not cripple the team in any one game. But the constant stream of bad news about the roster created discomfort throughout the team both on offense and defense. QB Jake Browning never seemed to have the same set of receivers to throw to in consecutive weeks. So too, the defensive secondary seemed to have a huge game from a player followed by an injury to that same player the following week.

For the team to do well this season, the team needs to emerge from this game relatively healthy and intact.

Q: Do you think traveling to Atlanta will have negative impact on UW?

Bret Stuter: I think the travel to Atlanta will have a negative impact on Washington for three reasons. The first is the most obvious: the team is playing in Auburn’s backyard. Termed a “neutral site”, the stadium will be filled with SEC fans, most of whom will be cheering loud and long for the Tigers. Washington will be hard-pressed to get fans to the other side of the country.

The second negative impact for the Washington Huskies is fighting that time zone difference.  While the start time reflects a later start in the day (3:15 p.m. ET), that translates into 11:15 a.m. start time for Washington in their native Seattle. Since Auburn plays in the Eastern Time zone, that gives the Tigers a huge advantage on gameday.

The third negative impact is the huge national stage this game plays upon for a season opener.  While both teams face the same difficulties, the fact remains that the young men who take the field in purple and gold will have a more difficult time of ignoring all of this game’s distractions. It will be a huge test for the Huskies to remain focused on the objective at hand.

Q: Score prediction?

Bret Stuter: I won’t lie. I don’t really have a sense of how to gauge this game, so the integrity of my prediction in any post-game analysis has no confidence level. But here goes.

Both Auburn and Washington enter the game with more respect on the defensive side of the ball than offense.  That tempts me to expect a low scorer. But I am resisting the temptation. This game will be about the offense. I believe the moment one team gets a 10-point advantage over the other, this becomes a shootout. Auburn will work hard to establish a running game early. I believe the Huskies can frustrate the Tigers’ ground game enough to allow them to pull out to an early lead.

Next. What you should know about Auburn's depth chart. dark

However, holding onto a lead against Auburn will be difficult. It will require a combined effort of offense, defense and special teams to win this one. My final score prediction?

Washington 31, Auburn 27