Sunday, November 7, 2010
#1 ranked Oregon crushes Huskies 53-16; biggest win over Huskies since 1973
The #1 ranked team in the nation Oregon Ducks(9-0,6-0) throttled the Washington Huskies(3-6,2-4) down in Autzen Stadium 53-16. Despite the slow the start the Ducks handed the Huskies their worst loss in this rivalry since beating them 58-0 back in 1973. The Ducks took advantage of a weak Huskies offense playing without star quarterback Jake Locker and at the end of the day the Huskies couldn't stop the Oregon rushing attack. The Ducks ran for 279 yards and six touchdowns on the day including a two point conversation. Despite what some may tell you this was not a "good" loss at all.
The game started off slowly for the Ducks. In fact the Huskies were the first team all year to force Oregon to punt on the first series. The Huskies were the first team all year to shutout the Ducks in the first quarter. The Huskies defense unlike the previous two weeks were at least showing some effort. The Huskies in fact kept the game low scoring behind freshman quarterback Keith Price making his first career start. The Huskies tied the game up at 3-3 on an Erik Folk 51 yard field goal with eight minutes left in the game. Then the Oregon offense woke up and exploded.
After running the ball and passing at will on the Huskies the Ducks capped the drive with a touchdown by LaMichael James to give the Ducks an 9-3 lead. With the Huskies special teams slanted to right the Ducks ran a fake PAT and the kicker Rob Beard ran it in untouched to give the Ducks an 11-3 lead. The Ducks would score again after the Huskies failed to stall out the clock when Darron Thomas would bust a 34 yard touchdown run to give the Ducks an 18-3 lead. The Huskies would finally score a touchdown when Price hit Jermaine Kearse but D'Andre Goodwin lined up illegally negating the touchdown and the Huskies had to settle for another Erik Folk field goal cutting the lead to 18-6 at halftime.
The Huskies were in the game surprisingly despite having a freshman quarterback. It had appeared Steve Sarkisian had his boys prepared and the second half started off even better for the Huskies. Facing a third and 12, senior captain Nate Williams sacked Thomas and forced a fumble which Mason Foster recovered the fumble on the Ducks 17 yard line. Next play Price would hit Goodwin for a 17 yard touchdown and after Folk's PAT the score was now 18-13 in the third quarter.
The Ducks wasted no time killing the momentum that Washington had built up. What has been a problem for the Huskies all season long the kick off coverage struck its ugly head again. The Huskies kicked off to Josh Huff and he returned it 80 yards to the Huskies six yard line. Setting up a Thomas pass to Jeff Maehl from six yards out to give the Ducks a 25-13 lead. The Huskies facing a third and 12 elected a draw play to Jesse Callier setting up a fourth and two. Instead of going for it from the Ducks 30, Sarkisian elected to kick the field goal. Folk made the field goal from 47 yards out cutting the lead to 25-16 with six minutes left in the third quarter. Then the game turned worse than every Willingham game ever did against the Ducks.
The Ducks offense kept going and going. James would rush for a 14 yard touchdown to give the Ducks a 32-16 lead. Then Thomas would rush in a touchdown from seven yards out giving the Ducks a commanding 39-16 lead at the end of the third quarter. The Ducks would tack on two more scores to complete the blowout 53-16. Despite what Husky homers want you to believe this was the worst loss to the Ducks in 37 years. The Ducks have no won seven in a row against the Huskies.
The stats don't lie in this game as the Ducks outgained the Huskies 522 to 263. Despite having a freshman quarterback and the game being close for two and a half quarters Chris Polk still doesn't get enough carries. Polk had just 17 carries but ran for 77 yards(4.5 YPC), while Callier 7 carries for 55 yards(7.9 YPC). The freshman QB Price at times looked all right but he did miss plenty of throws in going 14 of 28 for just 127 yards with one touchdown. He also had 13 carries for four yards as he was sacked five times.
The Ducks statline which was expected was pretty impressive. Darron Thomas doing what he can to make fans forget he was just third string last year in passing 24 of 33 for 243 yards and a touchdown. He also ran for 89 yards on 12 carries with two touchdowns. LaMichael James kept his heisman hopes alive with 26 carries for 121 yards and three touchdowns. He also added 19 yards receiving on three receptions. It's a two man race for the heisman in my opinion between James and Cam Newton of Auburn.
At what point do the Husky fans say enough is enough? At what point do we stop and look in the mirror and say I see no change? The Huskies thankfully have a bye week and they need one after being outscored 138-30 in the last three weeks. The Huskies I'll give them credit actually put forth some effort but it is alarming we are crediting a Pac-10 team for just showing effort. In the 1990's that was expected every Saturday that effort will be shown. This team had a ton of hype heading into the season and now must win the last three games with two on the road to make a bowl game. The Huskies haven't won three Pac-10 games in a row since 2002 which was eight years ago. As Bill Parcells says you are what your record says you are. Well the Huskies are 3-6 so they just aren't very good.
- The Huskies are a young team as everyone has documented. We all know that they have played 16 true freshman this year. What isn't being said though is this team week in and week out starts 10 seniors. That isn't counting guys like Goodwin who is a senior, Chris Polk who could leave early or Jermaine Kearse who could leave early. The facts are next year the Huskies will be a lot younger than even this year.
- The Huskies can't tackle still. In fact they aren't a fundamentally good team. Some blame should be put on the players as you need to be held accountable but good coached teams don't make the mistakes the Huskies make. The Huskies upperclassman receivers are lining up wrong, at least 10 miss tackles a week, plus special teams is still a disaster. At what point do you stop kicking off and squib kick every ball?
- I felt Sarkisian never once tried to win the game but tried to do what he could to avoid a blowout. He punted on fourth and 1 when the score was 11-3 which allowed Oregon to score another touchdown, he then kicked a 47 yard field goal on fourth and two down 25-13. I know I'm nit picking here as it didn't make a difference in the game.
- The Huskies fans and players attitudes are alarming. People are satisfied that the Huskies didn't lose by 100. You are even hearing players like Chris Polk saying he was happy because they thought Oregon would hang 70 on them. Cort Dennison was happy because Oregon fans were complimentry towards them. This loss shouldn't be acceptable at all even if it is Oregon who was the #1 ranked team in the nation. Since when did losing 138-30 in three games become acceptable? Where are our standards?
- When Locker returns I'm afraid the team will think everything will be okay. Sarkisian must find a way to include Chris Polk more. I've been saying all year long I want to see Polk run more. I would also like to see Locker roll out more as well. He might have been hurt and if that is the case he probably should have been rested against Stanford and go with Price that game as well. My fear is now that Locker returns against UCLA the players relax. The defense in the first half played some of the best ball they played all year long.
The Huskies have a long road to go but they can win all three of these games. They can also lose all three games. I predict the Huskies to go 2-1 if not 1-2. California is a different team in Berkley while the UCLA game the Huskies should win. UCLA also isn't a walk through the park either they did beat Oregon State and destroyed Texas in Texas. I think the Huskies have the players on this roster to win the last three games it's just whether this team and coaches want to go to a bowl game or not.
All in all, it's a good thing the Huskies have a bye week. The bye weeks worked out perfectly, last time it was after the loss to Nebraska and now after this stretch. The Husky players need to just get away from football for a few days and relax. The coaching staff needs to find a way to get this offense going. This offense has scored just 30 points twice in regulation when going into the year that was the expectation is that they average 30 points again. The Huskies were shown by a northwest rival who they used to dominate they have a long ways to go before they ever sniff a Rose Bowl.