UW Huskies lose center Matteo Mele, cornerback Davon Banks for season

It wasn’t all positive news Monday for the Washington football team, which finished off its nonconference schedule in style Saturday, winning 41-7 at Michigan State.

That’s because Husky coach Kalen DeBoer announced in his weekly news conference that sixth-year center Matteo Mele and sophomore cornerback Davon Banks are out for the season because of upper-body injuries.

DeBoer said both injuries required surgeries.

“It’s really unfortunate,” DeBoer said. “Davon along with Matteo are guys that have poured a lot into their preparation to get ready to play, not just this season, but Matteo has been doing it for many years here. So I feel super bad for the situation that they have.”

Mele started the first two games of the season — his first starts as a Husky — and was the coaches’ offensive power player of the week in UW’s 43-10 win over Tulsa on Sept. 9.

But Mele got hurt in that game, and redshirt freshman Parker Brailsford slid from right guard to center against Michigan State.

Banks saw a lot of action in the Huskies’ season-opening win over Boise State, recording two tackles and four pass breakups. He was the coaches’ defensive skill player of the week.

Banks had two tackles against Tulsa before leaving because of an injury.

“Davon brought a lot of energy, he plays with passion, and he brought juice to our secondary those first couple of games,” DeBoer said. “He was playing really good football.”

DeBoer said Mele and Banks are “team players” who have stayed involved with the team.

“Davon ran with the team yesterday, doing the things he can do,” DeBoer said.

The coach said Mele did not make the trip to Michigan State but was sending text messages to players and staff.

“He loves his team as well,” DeBoer said.

Senior starting safety Asa Turner, who also missed the Michigan State game because of an injury, is week to week, DeBoer said. The coach said Turner is doubtful to play Saturday against California.

The news was better with senior receiver Jalen McMillan, junior safety Kamren Fabiculanan and junior offensive lineman Julius Buelow.

McMillan and Buelow left the Michigan State game because of injuries, but DeBoer hopes both can play.

Fabiculanan, who had interceptions in the first two games, missed the Michigan State game. Co-defensive coordinator William Inge said he expected Fabiculanan would be ready Saturday, and DeBoer concurred.

Three Huskies honored by Pac-12

It’s not surprising after the Huskies’ rout at Michigan State that they won three of the Pac-12’s six weekly awards announced Monday,

UW senior quarterback Michael Penix Jr. was named offensive player of the week, senior edge rusher Zion Tupuola-Fetui was named defensive line player of the week, and Brailsford was named freshman of the week.

Penix Jr., in less than three quarters, completed 27 of 35 passes 473 yards and four touchdowns.

Tupuola-Fetui had two sacks, claimed the award for the first time since 2020, when he won it in three consecutive weeks.

Brailsford, starting at center after starting at guard in the first two games, helped UW accumulate 713 yards, and Penix Jr. was not sacked.

In the other Pac-12 awards, Colorado’s Shilo Sanders was named defensive player of the week, Utah’s Jack Bouwmeester was named special-teams player of the week, and Oregon State’s Joshua Gray was named offensive line player of the week.

On further review, DeBoer still sees fumble

DeBoer said he had a good view of Tupuola-Fetui’s first-quarter sack in which it appeared Michigan State quarterback Noah Kim lost the ball before he hit the ground. DeBoer said at the time he thought it was a fumble.

“[The officials said] video, apparently, wasn’t showing enough proof that they could overturn it,” DeBoer said.

DeBoer said he considered calling a timeout to give officials more time to look, but Michigan State called a timeout.

“Even during that time, they just really felt like there wasn’t enough proof,” DeBoer said. “It was all coming right at me and felt like the ball was certainly popped loose. Watching the TV copy, my thoughts really haven’t changed much.”


Washington’s game at Arizona on Saturday, Sept. 30 will be played at 7 p.m. (PT), the conference announced. It will be televised by Pac-12 Networks.

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