Saturday, October 30, 2010

Stanford shuts out Huskies 41-0; Huskies first home shutout since 1976

By Kshell

When you are attending a game you have your gameday routine whatever it might be. Well for me on the ride up it is listening to the pregame show talking to my dad about what my team needs to do to get the win. We talk about how our team must catch some breaks and in the case of this Stanford game hope for a close game. Then a big fat smack to my face happens and that smack was delivered by reality. Well that is how it must have felt for the Washington Huskies(3-5,2-3) especially the four freshman who started on each side of the lines when the #13 Stanford Cardinal(7-1,4-0) not only destroyed the Huskies but punched them in the mouth.

This was a good ole fassion butt kicking delievered by the Stanford Cardinal. Sometimes on the road a ranked team will let a team hang even if it's for just the first quarter but Stanford didn't even do that today. After the Huskies stalled on their first possesion after calling a third and six draw play which of course was stuffed. The Huskies had pinned the Cardinal on their own 14 yard line.

That was the last time the Huskies had any chance of winning the game. Stanford came out passing and with future first round pick Andrew Luck that isn't a bad idea. Luck completed his first two passes for 27 yards. After Luck hit an eight yard pass to set up a third and two Luck kept the ball on a bootleg and ran for a 51 yard touchdown untouched giving Stanford a 7-0 lead. Stanford would score another touchdown when Stepfan Taylor would run it in untouched from two yards out. The line of scrimmage was dominated by Stanford as the Cardinals runners would go six to eight yards without being touched, Luck would be hit just once all game long. While the Cardinal were putting pressure on Locker and stuffing Chris Polk while blitzing the right side of the offensive line taking advantage of the Huskies starting two true freshman on the offensive line.

Stanford after leading 14-0 and Washington amounting to nothing on offense Stanford scored another touchdown. Taylor added another three yard touchdown run giving the Cardinal a 21-0 lead. Then Stanford scored another touchdown when Tyler Gaffney added a three yard touchdown run. All said and done Stanford led 28-0 at halftime. The crowd was booing and freezing cold from the constant down pour of the rain. Many fans hit the beer line at the zone including myself because the first half was just so horrific. The Cardinal had outgained the Huskies 318-46 in yards.

Stanford dominated a Washington Husky team that appeared to be playing like they wanted to be somewhere else. The Huskies for the second straight week showed no life on either side of the ball. If someone took away the jersey numbers and names I couldn't tell the difference between if this was 2010 or any year from 2004-2008. This first half was like a Tyrone Willingham performance which unfortunetly has happened before this game.

Stanford finally punted for the first time in the second half. For two consecutive weeks the defense didn't force the other team to punt in the first half. Stanford after a Locker interception settled for a field goal giving them a 31-0 lead. Then to end the quarter Andrew Luck would throw a touchdown to Zach Ertz from three yards out to give the Cardinals a commanding 38-0 lead. At the end of the third quarter the Cardinal had outgained the Huskies 410-65 leaving little doubt as to how far these programs are. The Cardinal would add a final field goal and win the game 41-0 outgaining the Huskies 471-107.

This was the Huskies first shutout loss at Husky Stadium since November of 1976 when they lost to Cal 7-0. That was Don James second season as head coach much like this is Steve Sarkisian's second season. The quarterback in that game was Pro Football Hall of Famer Warren Moon so this can happen to anyone. As Steve Sarkisian told media members in his post game news conference "We've hit rock bottom". I thought the Willingham days and the 0-12 days were behind this program. This was a hard dose of reality that has hit this program.

Last season the team rebounded from a disasterous 0-12 season that saw Tyrone Willingham fired. Steve Sarkisian was brought in and the team went 5-7 and lost four games by less than eight points. The team battled hard and never quit while changing the culture of Husky football. Then this year came around and there was high hopes probably unrealistic. The facts are this Husky team who Sarkisian guaranteed would go undefeated at home has now dropped to 2-3 at home. This year at home the Huskies have been outscored 175-111 this year at home. Not only did the Huskies not go undefeated but they have been ran out of the stadium in their home stadium twice this year.

All in all, you can't win with freshman. The Huskies going into this game I mentioned how Collin Porter and Erik Kohler are what's wrong with this team. Not that those two are bad players or that it's their fault. The fact that they were playing on Friday night lights just last year and now starting in the Pac-10 over seniors like Cody Habban and Greg Christine shows how terrible the Huskies are in the trenches. In a good program those guys would be redshirting. Had Willingham kept the home town guys like Stephen Schilling who is a captain at Michigan and David DeCastro of Stanford who is their top lineman the Huskies would be a real bowl contender. Until the Huskies get better in the trenches expect plenty of cold bowl less winters to come.


- Jake Locker is showing why Chris Polk would be an idiot to come back. Locker had he left last season could have been the top pick overall or at the least be a top 10 pick. Now he is seeing his stock falling. John Clayton thinks going into this game Locker will be a second or third round pick. Mel Kiper Jr. going into the week said Locker is a mid first round pick who reminds me of NFL draft bust Kyle Boller of California. Everyone forgave Jake after his stink bomb against Nebraska but will they after another stink bomb? Locker was 7 for 14 passing for just 64 yards passing and two interceptions. His backup Keith Price was two for three for 24 yards passing. His counterpart Andrew Luck who after seeing Locker this year will leave early you would think was 19 of 26 passing for 192 yards with a touchdown and an interception. He would also run for 92 yards on five carries with a touchdown.

- The running game was awful. The play selection on the runs were even worse. First of all get rid of the Wild Cat out of the playbook. The Huskies have the perfect "wild cat" quarterback so it's stupid to have Callier or Polk line up as quarterback in shotgun. You don't see the Eagles taking Vick out to do Wild Cat plays. Now to the rushing stats which Chris Polk was held to a career low 17 yards on 13 carries, Locker had just one yard on eight carries and Jesse Callier had one yard on four carries. Sarkisian must trust his senior quarterback Locker and not call draw plays on third and six when the ball was at midfield. The offensive line has been horrible this year but it seems like despite everyone back from last season that they have gotton worse. The good news is going forward Porter and Kohler are freshman and Drew Schaeffer is just a sophomore.

- As you saw in my post earlier in the week this was the 10th year anniversary of Curtis Williams getting injured which led to his death. The Huskies happen to be playing the team who he was injured against the Stanford Cardinal. In a sense of irony it was down pouring today and the only difference was the two teams record were switched. The Huskies back then were 6-1 heading into the game like Stanford was today and stanford was 3-4 heading into the game much like Washington was today. You would have never known about Curtis at the game though. Not one single thing was mentioned. That is the problem when you bring in outside guys sometimes people forget about our past. Sometimes people forget we are purple and gold and never wear white pants. Ultimately it was a bad move to not even mention anything about Curtis Williams. Well Curtis I'll mention you RIP C-Dub 25.

- Mason Foster is being wasted much like his whole career. Everyone will talk about how sad it is that Jake Locker was wasted but Locker also at times holds the team back. Foster had a career high 18 tackles today, 12 were solo. He has been a tackling monster this year like he has his whole Husky career. Foster will be playing on many Sundays for years to come.

- The defense has been awful after making such strides has resorted back to the Willingham like defenses. The Huskies have allowed 273 points this year for an average of 34.1 PPG. Last year the defense showed heart and would bend but not break. I understand losing two players to the NFL draft hurts you but nothing against them but if your defense can't replace two third round picks then your program is in shambles which the Huskies program is. The Huskies over the years have been awful on defense. Under Don James in his 18 years of coaching his defenses allowed over 20.0 PPG just four times, while since his retirement the Huskies have allowed under 20.0 PPG just once and that was in 1993 the year he resigned.

- The offensive juggernut which was led by offensive geru Steve Sarkisian has taken some huge steps backwards. The Huskies have scored under 20 points in four of the eight games played this season. The Huskies this year despite returning the entire offense back has scored just 174 points for an average of 21.8 PPG a far cry from what was expected. In fact that is almost 10 points below the scoring average when Jake Locker was a freshman under Willingham.

- This team accepts losing and has no fight. This group of Huskies has never tasted success and when you are in a program that hasn't won it is hard to turn it around. First sign of trouble you get that here we go again feeling. Growing up going to sporting events I always had that feeling because as a Seattle sports fan I'm used to failure. Except one sport and that was Husky football where the attitude was Rose Bowl or bust. Jim Lambright was fired despite win 65% of his games. So when the Huskies would fall down the players, the fans, the coaches attitude was no problem we have been here before we'll just overcome it. The Huskies may have tradition but those national championships and rose bowl wins mean nothing as this current group has never tasted success.

That is the problem with these Huskies from what I'm witnessing is accepting losing. Talk to any Husky in the 90's they would be one pissed off group and take it out on the next opponent. The Huskies just got destroyed last week yet there was no life out of them, the crowd was dead as it was pouring down raining and it wasn't an attractive team, the expectations from the fans and most people was the Huskies were going to lose. When you expect to lose you accept it easier. It is a sad day going to a Husky home game where I'm hoping the dawgs can keep it close with Stanford. Stanford used to be the team that UW would destroy having won 21 of the last 27 meetings. Stanford turned it's program around with a good coaching hire in Harbaugh and just like that have beaten the Huskies three years in a row and have beaten the Huskies three consecutive trips in Husky Stadium. In fact the last time Stanford lost at Husky Stadium was 2002 when Ty Willingham was still coach.

This team has just four games left in their season and by the way they have played the last two weeks it looks like they wish it could end sooner. For the seniors it is time to show some leadership and make sure there is that fifth game. The Huskies must win three of their last four games to be bowl eligible. They'll play #1 ranked Oregon Ducks next week who score 50 like it is nothing so there could be another blowout looming. What I'll be watching for is will the Huskies show a pulse. Will the Huskies fight back and put out an effort where their opponent at least respects them. Steve Sarkisian and Nick Holt took on a bigger challenge than anyone thought but they also aren't helping the process either. The Huskies have four games to get it together or they'll be home watching the bowl games during the holidays.

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