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September 14, 2012

Five to Watch: Portland State




With the Huskies facing off against Portland State in a rebound game tomorrow afternoon, let us take a deeper look into the Vikings roster and highlight some interesting players to keep an eye on.

1) Julious Moore, DT

After watching the Huskies' O-line get shredded by LSU, it will be interesting to see how they respond to the likes of Julious Moore. Moore is a local kid out of Bellevue, he's a solid 290-pounds, and he will be going up against a disgruntled and wounded Husky front. As we saw down in the bayou last Saturday, it's not easy to put points on the board when there's no holes to run through and no time to even drop back for a pass.

Moore will be leading the Vikings defensive front tomorrow, and with a couple of sacks already under his belt, the Huskies will be forced to prove their resiliency.

2) D.J. Adams, RB

On the other side of the ball, the Huskies defensive line has a thing or two to prove after getting run over last week as well. LSU tallied 242 rushing yards against the Dawgs, and this is where D.J. Adams catches our attention.

Adams, a Maryland transfer, will be used to playing on big stages since he used to play for a power conference himself. Not only did he play for Maryland his freshman year, but he also scored 11 touchdowns for the Terps that year as well. Now a junior, D.J. is a guy who has big game potential. He has three touchdowns over the Vikings two games this season, and he's averaging over seven yards per carry. Just like the offensive line, UW's defensive line needs to come out with a chip on their shoulder, and stifle any momentum or hopes for an upset early on.

3) Ian Sluss, LB

Ian Sluss is Portland State's defensive anchor, a 2nd team All-Big Sky linebacker coming in with a respectable 17 tackles through two games. As it is apparent in the early going of this season, the Huskies have surprisingly had a lot of difficulty generating any kind of offense.

The Huskies only have one rushing touchdown and one passing touchdown on the season, both coming from the first quarter of the San Diego State game two weeks ago. If the Huskies can keep Sluss from putting a noticeable imprint on tomorrow's game, there's a great chance the Dawgs will finally begin to roll on offense. We want to see touchdowns!

4) Kieran McDonagh, QB

The Vikings start Kieran McDonagh, a freshman from Skyview High School, at the quarterback position. Keep an eye on the youngster to see how he handles the big stage. As of now, he has put up good numbers in his first two outings, and has been completing over 50 percent of his passes while running the Pistol offense. It will be interesting to see how the Huskies react early to the Pistol offense, seems how the defense has been known to get slightly lackadaisical at times (remember San Diego State's unguarded 47-yard touchdown pass to open the second quarter of game one?).

But against a Pac-12 defense and amongst the Husky faithful in Centurylink Field, one will have to keep an eye on how McDonagh handles all the pressure. Unlike D.J. Adams, Kieran McDonagh hasn't played in a big time college setting, and if the Huskies get after him early, it could be a long day for the Vikings.

5) Nick Fernandez, K

Yes, Nick Fernandez is the kicker, and yes, he is worth keeping an eye on. The Huskies rarely found themselves in decent field position against the Tigers last weekend, and with Fernandez being a kicker who only has two touchbacks out of fifteen kickoffs, the Huskies should have great opportunities to find themselves in scoring territory on the field.

As for Fernandez putting points on the board for the Vikings, don't be surprised to see him attempt deep yardage field goals. The Dawgs' defense will need to play stingy because Fernandez isn't shy about kicking from beyond 40 yards out.

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