Saturday, September 4, 2010
Huskies lose heartbreaker on the road to BYU 23-17
The Huskies lose another road game 23-17 at BYU in Provo, Utah. The Huskies road losing streak has been extended to 13 games which dates back to 2007. Just like last season the Huskies had their chances to pull out a big road win. The Dawgs just couldn't get the job done for several reasons. The main reason like in last years losses was finding ways to lose.
The Huskies couldn't have asked for a better start in this game. The defense forces a three and out on the Cougars opening possession and then Locker hits Jermaine Kearse for a 19 yard touchdown reception which was set up by Jesse Callier's 39 yard run on 3rd and 6. The Huskies defense again three and outs the Cougars. At that point in the game I'm thinking the Huskies were by far the better team. Then the first of many mistakes occurred.
Greg Ducrie roughs up the punter on BYU giving the Cougars a first down. That play set up the field position battle for the Cougars. BYU missed the field goal on that drive so the defense continued to play tough in the first quarter. On the Huskies next possession they stalled so the Huskies were forced to punt. The ball was hiked over Will Mayhan's head and Mayhan showing his intelligence throws the ball out of bounds which resulted in a safety. BYU after getting the safety receives the ball marches down the field but stalls in the red zone for a field goal making the game 7-5UW in the lead.
The Huskies weren't done making special teams mistakes. Chris Polk fell on the 1 yard line on the ensuing kickoff. On the first play Steve Sarkisian called a play action pass to Jermaine Kearse who was wide open but Jake Locker over threw him on that play. The Huskies missed out on several chances in the first half to put the game away.
After the Huskies eventually punted the ball BYU again marched down the field and scored a touchdown. On that drive they converted several 3rd and 4th down opportunity's. Junior quarterback Riley Nelson who was rotating every other series with freshman phenom Jake Heaps scored on the 2 point conversation.
With BYU having all the momentum in the game having scoring 13 unanswered points the Huskies responded. Jake Locker finished the drive with a 9 yard scoring run to put the Huskies back up 14-13. BYU then pinned the Huskies on the 1 yard line again right before halftime. Locker hit a key 25 yard pass to Jordan Polk to set up a career high 53 yard field goal by Erik Folk to put the Huskies up 17-13 on the road.
At that point in the game if someone had told me the Huskies would score zero points in the 2nd half I'd say you were crazy. The Huskies offense sputtered the whole third quarter while after cutting it to 17-16, on 3rd and 10 Riley Nelson hits a wide open JJ Di Luigi for a 48 yard touchdown reception. The Cougars then decided to kick the extra point instead of going for 2 to go up 23-17.
The Huskies had their chances in the 4th quarter. Trailing 23-17 midway through the 4th quarter the Huskies decided to go for it on 4th and 2 from 23 instead of kicking the field goal. The Cougars played great defense on the play. The play was designed to get Chris Polk on the play action boot leg but he was well covered so Locker threw it to Jermaine Kearse who was well covered.
The Huskies had a final chance again after Locker had hit Kearse. Kearse who had 3 drops in the game would have some big plays catching 5 passes for 123 yards and a touchdown. The Huskies on 3rd and 5 with two minutes to go elect to have a QB draw instead of having Locker throw the ball. Locker was stuffed which set up a 4th and 6. Lockers pass was tipped and when it fell to the ground the game was over. The Huskies has dropped their 13th straight game on the road. In fact four of the last 5 road losses for the Huskies have been decided by less than 7 points.
The Huskies must learn from their mistakes and move on. They will play Syracuse who is 1-0 for the Husky Stadium opener. Then the real test happen with #8 Nebraska coming to town and then at #14 USC. The Huskies very easily could be 1-3 after this 4 game stretch. The dawgs must figure out a way to win these close games. The defense kept the team in it by allowing just 21 points but they have to get some pressure on the quarterback. Byu quarterbacks had all day to throw and never got hit at all.
Dating back to 2007 the Huskies are 2-12 in games decided by 7 points or less. The Huskies must learn how to win these close games if they wish to be playing in December.