Alabama will not be as much of a mismatch for Washington as many people believe.
That’s what ESPN’s Todd Blackledge thinks, anyway. Blackledge will be in the broadcast booth with Joe Tessitore for the Peach Bowl, and he doesn’t think the Huskies are getting enough credit, especially on defense.
“Washington’s defense is maybe a little better than most people realize or think,” Blackledge said Tuesday on a media teleconference. “I think they’re extremely talented in the back end of their defense. And I think they’re also better than people maybe give them credit for up front.”
Tessitore agreed, saying he thought people are “absolutely dismissing how talented and how capable the Washington defense is.”
The Huskies boast one of the best secondaries in the country with S Budda Baker and CB Sidney Jones Jr. Despite playing in the high-flying Pac-12, Washington held its opponents to 17.2 points per game this season.
And while Alabama has the nation’s No. 1 overall defense, Blackledge said Washington’s explosiveness on offense could cause problems for the Crimson Tide.
“I think Washington is a very intriguing matchup for Alabama,” Blackledge said. “As good as they are on defense, as dominant as they have been on defense, I think that the offensive attack of Washington presents some challenges for Alabama with their ability to throw the football, (and) the dynamic playmakers they have in their passing game.”
The question, Blackledge said, will be how Washington’s offensive line can hold up against the pressure Alabama brings. Against the talented, athletic front of USC, the Huskies were manhandled and suffered their first loss of the year.
Alabama’s front seven is even better. Keeping Jonathan Allen, Reuben Foster and Tim Williams at bay may determine whether Washington is able to ever make use of its weapons.
“I think (Washington’s) defense is good enough to hold them in this game,” Blackledge said. “It’s just a matter of whether or not, offensively, they can make enough plays in the passing game.”
Alabama plays Washington in the Peach Bowl on Dec. 31 at 3 p.m. ET on ESPN.