About 18,000 unsold tickets remain for Saturday's opener at Husky Stadium.
Finally, the Huskies can turn their attention to someone else.
After a full offseason of much-ballyhooed buildup, and a month of pounding each other in fall-camp practices, the Huskies are just five days away from the season opener against Rutgers.
Washington is ranked No. 14 in the Associated Press preseason poll and enters the opener as a 26-point favorite against the Scarlet Knights.
Kickoff is set for 11 a.m. Saturday at Husky Stadium for a Pac-12 Network broadcast. As of last Wednesday, UW had about 18,000 unsold tickets remaining.
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“I think everybody in the country’s ready to play Week 1, just because it’s someone besides your own defense,” UW sophomore quarterback Jake Browning said. “Especially for us, because we have such a good defense. So now it’s kind of dialing into someone else and for the offense and defense to come together — and hopefully it’s something special.”
UW coach Chris Petersen will host his weekly press conference at 11:30 a.m. Monday. The Huskies are also expected to release their first depth chart of the season Monday morning.
Entering his third season at UW, Petersen has preached to his players to focus on the day-to-day work, not the mounting expectations about the team’s potential. Many project the Huskies to contend for the Pac-12 Conference title this season.
“I think it’s been a big emphasis (to) just ignore it — block out all the outside noise, good or bad,” Browning said.
How they’ll handle all the hype remains to be seen.
What they’ll see Saturday is a bit of a mystery, too. Chris Ash will be coaching his first game for Rutgers, and with the coaching change comes some unknown schemes for UW to prepare for.
Ash spent the past two season as the co-defensive coordinator at Ohio State, helping the Buckeyes win the national championship two years ago.
“We’ve been looking at Washington for a long time,” Ash said Saturday, according to the (Newark) Star-Ledger. “We’ve been looking at them since last spring and on and off quite a bit this summer. We’ve started our Washington prep already with scout team work.
“And they are a good football team. They have a lot of players coming back. They finished the season strong last year. The last three games of the season they were really explosive on offense and played some dominating defense. They’ve got a returning quarterback who is really good. The defensive line is good. The back seven is fast and physical so it’s a good football team.’’