This is the first in our weekly series identifying a player to watch for the upcoming opponent of Rutgers football. The season starts this Friday against #7 Washington at High Point Solutions Stadium at 8 p.m. This week’s player to watch is the Huskies accomplished signal caller.
Junior QB Jake Browning (6’2”, 210lbs)
Jake Browning is one of the best quarterbacks in the nation and the leader for the Washington Huskies. Last year, Browning carved up the Rutgers’ secondary going 18-27, 66% completion, 287 passing yards and 3 touchdowns. Browning performed very well during the 2016 by accumulating 3,430 yards, 43 TD’s, and only 9 INT’s for the season. He also led the Washington Huskies to a PAC-12 title (first one since 2000) and the College Football Playoff but falling to the Alabama Crimson Tide. Jake Browning could be a potential first round pick in the NFL draft due to his past performances and being a pro-style quarterback that translate into the professional league.
Challenges for Rutgers
Rutgers will have their hands full with Jake Browning. He is very accurate and doesn’t make mistakes. Though Rutgers did pick off Jake Browning last year, he only threw 9 interceptions for the rest of season which is sublime quarterback play. Washington Huskies are known for the double TE formation which creates match-up problems for defenses especially for the smaller DB’s. Browning loves to take advantage of the mismatches in the secondary. He possesses the arm strength and pin point accuracy to throw the ball towards the sideline hashes. Last year, Browning threw a 50 yard touchdown on Rutgers. Also, Browning is a play-maker who can throw the ball on schedule and off schedule with a uncanny ability to look down field and find an open target.
What Rutgers Must Do to Stop Jake Browning
Rutgers does possess a quality secondary. The defensive backs must press and misdirect the Washington Huskies’ wide receivers in order to disrupt their passing plays. Pressuring the quarterback is also key. Browning was only sacked 25 times last year which means his offensive line can be a daunting challenge to dismantle. Rutgers must find a way to sack Browning or force him to throw earlier than scheduled. Browning’s main weakness in 2016 was mobility which he rush -21 yards with only 8 rush attempts. Keeping Browning in the pocket and applying consistent pressure will to limit the passing attack. If Rutgers can keep Jake Browning in check, then Rutgers may have a shot in this game.
Limiting the passing game will help Rutgers dictate the flow of the game. Playing last year against the Huskies will give Rutgers’ defense familiarity and expectations on how to attack their offense.