2. Auburn Ultimately Won the Battle of the Defenses
The Tigers came out with a War Eagle mentality and played with emotion early in the game. The defense did a great job flying to the football and caused an early interception from Washington quarterback Jake Browning on a poor throw due to a corner blitz.
Auburn took advantage of the absence of Huskies preseason All-American left tackle Trey Adams, who missed the game due to injury. Their speed on defense was a factor all day. Browning had some success throwing the deep ball to wideouts Ty Jones and Aaron Fuller. In the 4th quarter, however, the Auburn pass rush took over, especially in the last Washington drive, which ended with a sack of Browning on 4th down.
The Huskies defense weathered the early storm as Auburn quarterback Jarrett Stidham led the Tigers to two scoring drives on the first two possessions. At halftime, coach Chris Petersen thought the team needed to settle down and play “real football.”
From there, the Huskies front seven was led by 315-pound defensive tackle Greg Gaines, who had a terrific game despite several double teams. The constant backfield adjustments and high tempo offense from the Tigers finally wore down the Huskies late. Washington was stout in the red zone for most of the game but finally gave in to a late game-winning, rushing touchdown.