Yogi Roth: Why UW Huskies look like a Pac-12 favorite moving forward

Sep 24, 2022, 9:51 AM | Updated: 9:54 am

UW Huskies Ja'Lynn Polk Jalen McMillan...

UW Huskies WRs Ja'Lynn Polk and Jalen McMillan celebrate during Saturday's win over Kent State. (Photo by Jeff Halstead/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

(Photo by Jeff Halstead/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

After a 3-0 start to the season that includes an upset win over then-No. 11 Michigan State, the UW Huskies are starting to turn some heads in the college football world.

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Pac-12 Network’s Yogi Roth thought people were underselling the UW Huskies before the season began. So what does he think of Washington through the first three weeks of 2022? He joined Seattle Sports 710 AM’s Bump and Stacy to talk about the Huskies and their win over Michigan State.

“Exciting weekend indeed in Seattle,” Roth said Wednesday morning. “… I think for UW, when I went back and watched it, it was surgical. It wasn’t an implosion by Michigan State – they didn’t self-destruct – it was a surgical beatdown.”

The Huskies did basically whatever they wanted to the Spartans, especially on offense, Roth said.

“Whether it was through the air and Michael Penix, Jr., whether it was the offensive front, whether it was formational,” he said. “One of my favorite plays of the weekend was the touchdown to Wayne Taulapapa split out as a wideout. You see a matchup where they have an advantage and it was a perfect back-shoulder throw touchdown.”


“I just was a big fan of so many facets, whether it was the offensive front, the backs in pass pro, Penix Jr. knowing when to get rid of the ball, of course the guys making plays down the field, the defense tackling and flying to the football,” Roth added. “Overall, it was a dominating win.”

So is the Huskies’ early-season success a result of Penix being a stud, or is it a combination of culture and scheme implemented by first-year Washington head coach Kalen DeBoer.

“This is the whole system. I mean, who didn’t love the clip after the first win with Alex Cook giving the game ball to Kalen DeBoer,” Roth said, “And I think it was pretty cool for all of us to hear what he said. He talked about the operation, the organization, right? Like how efficient the program has been.”

Roth last year called a game of DeBoer’s last year when he was at Fresno State and the Bulldogs faced UCLA. Roth came away from that day thinking “this thing is real” when looking at DeBoer and his staff were building. Now, he’s doing the same thing at Washington.

“And for him to come in at UW and there was so much dialogue around the hire and guys dipping into the (transfer) portal and out of the portal, he was just steady,” Roth said.

Roth recalled talking to UW Huskies players about DeBoer and his staff and they told him glowing stories of their first meetings.

“It was about things outside of football. It was about a mindset, it was about a mental framework to frontload this program of what our expectations are, how we’re going to help you get there,” Roth said. “And we saw that shakeout. I think it’s much more than Michael Penix Jr.”

And thanks to two key things, Roth thinks DeBoer’s first year with the Huskies can be really special.

“I think what the good thing is for Kalen is they had a roster that’s talented … Usually when you see coaching changes, they’re depleted with talent. This is the exact opposite of that. They’re loaded,” Roth said. “I think if we chose right now who’s our favorite school to win the league heading into Week 4, how don’t you say UW? Especially when you look at obviously how they played, but who they don’t play in the misses of Utah and USC.”

UW Huskies’ Week 4 ranking

After the win over Michigan State, the Huskies find themselves ranked 18th in the country ahead of their Pac-12 opener against Stanford. Roth doesn’t think UW is getting enough love there, and he explained why to Bump and Stacy.

“My biggest issue coming out of the weekend was this AP poll, which, on one hand, it doesn’t matter, but on the other, I look at Michigan State and UW in the preseason in their first two games … they did the same thing,” Roth said.

What Roth means by that is both UW and Michigan State entered their showdown undefeated at 2-0 after blowing out lesser competition. For the Huskies, that was a 45-20 win over Kent State and 52-6 thumping of FCS Portland State. The Spartans, meanwhile, beat Western Michigan 35-13 and then shutout Akron 52-0.

“And then Michigan State, who was ranked 11th, got rolled in the game. And to me, UW should be higher than that based on what they did do a team that was given so much credibility,” Roth said. “So that’s the only issue I think I had coming out of the weekend. But on a positive front UW (had an) absolute dismantling of their opponent in an incredible environment. And I’m looking forward to UW, fired up for them. They got that game in front of their fans and students that they didn’t get in 2020 when Michigan was supposed to come to town (due to the shortened COVID-19 season).”

Listen to the full conversation with Roth at this link or in the player below.

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Yogi Roth: Why UW Huskies look like a Pac-12 favorite moving forward