Monday, October 31, 2011

Polk sets records as Huskies become bowl eligible with 42-31 win over Wildcats!

By Kshell

The Washington Huskies(6-2,4-1) won't need any late season surges this year to go to a bowl game as they took care of business. The Huskies defeated the Arizona Wildcats(2-6,1-5) 42-31 led by five touchdowns by Chris Polk. Polk set plenty of Husky game milestones and Husky career milestones today in the win over the Wildcats. Polk rushed for 144 yards with four rushing touchdowns while also having 100 yards receiving with a receiving touchdown as well. The Huskies defense came up big in the redzone and forced three turnovers in the fourth quarter as the Huskies overcame an early 10 point deficit to prevail. The passing game which is a speciality under Steve Sarkisian struggled not because of Keith Price but due to some dropped passes by veteran receivers. So the Huskies with the game on the line turned to their youngsters Kasen Williams and Kevin Smith who each came up with huge receptions. This time the last two seasons the Huskies were 3-5 while right now they are 6-2 which is their best start since 2001. Polk for the second straight week has submitted a ton of highlights to show NFL scouts as he prepares for his NFL career next season.


The game started off horribly for the Huskies as the Wildcats won the toss and took the opening possession into Huskies territory. Nick Foles completed his first pass to Juron Criner for a gain of 16 yards. Foles completed back to back passes for 22 yards to the Huskies 27 yard line. The Wildcats ran the ball three straight times including on third and two where they came up a yard short. Facing a fourth and one from the Huskies 18 yard line the Wildcats elected to kick the field goal on the road which was good to give them a 3-0 lead. Defensively the Huskies were facing a third and two on their first drive of the game. Price who had an open fullback in the flat held onto the ball as he was sacked for a loss of 11 yards as the Wildcats three and outed the mighty Huskies offense on the opening drive of the game. The Wildcats would take advantage of that stop on the Huskies offense.


The Wildcats second drive started on their own 34 yard line. Facing a third and seven the Huskies jumped offsides, also held the receiver then had a bad personal foul called on Sean Parker giving the Wildcats 15 yards and an automatic first down. Foles then completed a pass to set up a third and two from the Huskies 40 yard line. The Wildcats then rushed for five yards to record the first down. Foles completed another pass for 11 yards to the Huskies 24 yard line. Nick Holt dialed up a blitz and this time was burned for it as Greg Ducre was left on an island. Foles hit Criner for a medium gain which he broke the tackle of Ducre as he went into the endzone for a 24 yard touchdown. The Wildcats led 10-0 as the first quarter came to an end as this was the first time all season long the Huskies were shutout in the first quarter. The Huskies offense would once again go three and out as the Wildcats took over up 10-0. After driving all the way to the Huskies 43 yard line the Huskies forced a punt on the Wildcats and took over on their own 20 yard line.


The Huskies began the drive with an eight yard run to Polk but Kearse committed an away from the ball 15 yard penalty making it second and 17 from the 13 yard line. After a Polk run for four yards the Huskies were once again in a third and long situation. That is when Price started to play Keith Price football as he hit Devin Aguilar with a bullet pass for 21 yards. Polk ran for 14 more yards to the Wildcats 47 yard line. Sarkisian called a play action pass but Austin Seferian-Jenkins couldn't come up with the ball. Price hit Kevin Smith for a gain of eight yards setting up a third and two. Polk lined up as the fullback took the direct handoff for a gain of six yards to the Wildcats 33. On second and nine from the 32 is when the Huskies had to overcome some adversity. Price on a play action pass hit Michael Hartvigson to the one yard line. The officials then called that pass incomplete despite Hartvigson having the ball in his one hand was stumbling took five steps towards the one yard line stretched out for the touchdown then the ball hit the ground as he landed on the ground. Sarkisian then challenged the call thinking the replays would prove that was a catch instead the officials continued on with the crap call as the Huskies had to face a crucial third and nine. Price hit a critical pass to James Johnson for a gain of 16 yards and then Johnson was facemasked for eight more yards to the Wildcats eight yard line. After a short two yard run Price then throw what was ruled a lateral pass to Jermaine Kearse. Kearse due to a key block by Johnson scored the six yard touchdown. Many thought at the time that was the 29th career touchdown reception for Kearse putting him one behind Mario Bailey instead that was ruled a rushing touchdown for Kearse. The Huskies more importantly pulled within 10-7 as their offense showed they weren't going down so easily.

The Wildcats would respond to the Huskies score with a score of their own. Foles would hit Criner for a gain of 12 yards to their own 43 yard line. Foles then completed a broken play that went  22 yards  to Ka'Deem Carey to the Huskies 36 yard line. The Huskies defense though would force back to back stops setting up a third and four from the 30 yard line. It had appeared Foles could have ran for the first down but attempted a pass which fell incomplete. The Wildcats were forced to kick a 47 yard field goal which was good to give them a 13-7 lead. Despite having scored three times to the Huskies only scoring once the Wildcats were up by less than a touchdown. The Huskies offense would on the next drive would make the Wildcats pay for having to settle for two early field goals instead of touchdowns.

The Huskies responded to the Wildcats with a drive of their own and a little bit of some trickery. On the first play of the series from their own 41 after a Kevin Smith 30 yard kickoff return. Price threw a pass to Aguilar behind the line of scrimmage who then threw a pass crossfield to Chris Polk for a gain of 33 yards to the Wildcats 26 yard line. The play was reviewed as Polk and the Wildcats defender both came down with the ball but it was ruled a catch. The following play Price hit Kearse over the middle for a gain of 19 yards to the Wildcats seven yard line. Polk would rush for three yards then three yards again setting up a third and goal from the one. The Huskies then had a false start penalty setting up a third and goal from the six. Price attempted a pass over the middle but the Wildcats were called for pass interference giving the Huskies the ball first and goal from the two yard line. Polk was tackled for a one yard loss then Price threw an incomplete pass. The Huskies got to the line quickly and called a quick hitter to Polk up the middle for a gain of two yards to the one yard line. Setting up a fourth and goal from the one yard line which Sarkisian was going to go for it unlike the Wildcats earlier in the game. The Huskies on that play did an excellent job sealing off the defensive end as Polk ran to the right for the touchdown to give the Huskies a 14-13 lead which they would hold at halftime.

The Huskies began the second half by continuing the momentum with another big kickoff return by Smith which went for 45 yards to the 50 yard line. The drive began with a Bishop Sankey run for nine yards to the Wildcats 41 setting up a second and one. Sarkisian called a play action pass which Price had intercepted into triple coverage but the Wildcats were called for pass interference giving the Huskies the ball on the Wildcats 26 yard line. Price hit Kearse for a gain of nine yards to the left on a bubble screen to the 17 yard line. On second and one the Huskies had another play action pass which Price hit Polk on a fade pass for a 17 yard touchdown giving the Huskies a 21-13 lead over the Wildcats. The momentum was wearing purple now as the Wildcats were moving the ball to the Huskies 49 yard line when Foles was intercepted by Nate Fellner at the Huskies 32 yard line. First play for the Huskies Price hit Polk on another go route for 43 yards to the Wildcats 25 yard line. Looking to put the Wildcats away Price was scrambling around saw Johnson and delivered the pass to Johnson. This is when the Wildcats would avoid the blowout and make this a game again. Johnson caught the pass but was bobbling the pass as he was running towards the nine yard line when the Wildcats defender Robert Golden caught the pass for the interception. Golden then went across field for a 91 yard interception for the touchdown. Foles would complete the two point conversation and just like that the game was tied at 21-21 as Husky Stadium was dead quiet.

With the game now tied after it had appeared the Huskies were ready to put the Wildcats away Sarkisian went back to basics. The Huskies began possession on their own 24 when Polk ran to the right for a gain of 19 yards to their own 43 yard line. After a short loss by Polk, Price completed a pass to Aguilar for a gain of five setting up a critical third and six. Price then delivered a pass to Kearse for seven yards for the first down. On the next play Price hit Austin Seferian-Jenkins over the middle for a gain of 14 yards to the Wildcats 32. After a one yard pass to DiAndre Campbell, Polk ran for eight yards setting up a third and one. Once again the Huskies used Polk as a fullback and gave it to Polk for a gain of three yards to the Wildcats 20 yard line. Price ran for 11 yards to set up first and goal from the nine yard line. After an incomplete pass, Sarkisian called a run up the middle to Polk which should have only netted five yards instead his run for eight yards set up a third and goal from the one. Polk rushed to the right for the one yard touchdown giving the Huskies a 28-21 lead.

The Wildcats began their drive on their own 35 yard line. Foles started the drive with a 16 yard pass completion plus the Huskies also had a 15 yard penalty for a helmet to helmet hit giving the Wildcats the ball on the Huskies 34 yard line. Foles hit Criner for a gain of 12 yards to the Huskies 22 yard line. Foles completed another pass for 13 yards to the nine yard line. Foles capped the drive by hitting Criner on a nice fade pass which was well covered for the touchdown to tie the score up at 28-28. The Huskies offense responded with a three and out as the Wildcats took possession of the ball on their own 30 yard line. After back to back six yard runs by Carey, Foles completed a seven yard pass to Criner to the Wildcats 49 yard line. Facing a third and three Foles then completed a 41 yard pass to Criner to the Huskies 10 yard line. Criner ran for a gain of five yards as the quarter ended setting up a second and goal from the five. The Huskies defense would get tough and hold the Wildcats to another short field goal that would be the Wildcats third field goal of the game as they led 31-28 over the Huskies.

The Huskies would drive to the Wildcats 42 before Price would throw his third interception of the game as Johnson slipped right after Kearse had just dropped a wide open touchdown. The Huskies defense would keep their hopes alive by forcing a three and out. The Huskies took over on their own 19 yard line. In a shotgun formation Price faked handing it off to Polk and kept it himself for a gain of 11 yards to the 30 yard line. On second and nine from the 31 yard line Price would hit Kasen Williams over the middle for a slant then Williams bounced off the defender and dragged the Wildcat defenders for a gain of 48 yards. To date that has been Williams biggest play in a Huskies uniform. On second and 10 the Huskies had a gain of nine called back due to holding setting them back second and 20 from the Wildcats 31 yard line. Price would hit Smith who would make a defender miss for a gain of 26 yards to the Wildcats five. That is when Sarkisian wasn't messing around anymore as they ran a stretch play to Polk to the right as Colin Tanigawa made a key block as he pulled for the Huskies to take a 35-31 lead. For Polk that was his fourth touchdown of the game and third rushing of the game.

The Wildcats had the ball on their own 27 with under nine minutes left in the game. Foles started the drive hitting an 18 yard pass. He then completed another six yard pass to the Huskies 49 yard line. This is when after all game long of having breaks go against them the Huskies finally caught a huge break. Foles hit Criner for a gain of nine yards then fumbled as Prince Fuiamaono recovered for 10 yards to midfield as the Huskies took over. Price on a play action pass went downfield to Kearse for a gain of 24 yards to the Wildcats 26 yard line. Polk ran for 14 yards to the Wildcats 12 yard line. On the next carry Polk ran for one  yard which tied him with Napoleon Kaufman as the only Husky running backs to ever eclipse 1,000 yards rushing in a season for the third straight year. Earlier in the game Polk broke Kaufman's record for most 100 yard rushing games with 18. With second and nine Polk was cramping so he had to leave the game as Jesse Callier ran for eight yards to set up third and one as Polk came back out. On third and one from the three Polk was met in the backfield but powered through the defender for the first down. On the next play Polk scored his fifth touchdown of the game as he scored from two yards out to give the Huskies a 42-31 lead with under four minutes to go in the game.

Arizona now down two scores started off on their own 30 yard line. Foles completed a 13 yard pass to the 43 yard line. After a short one yard pass Foles completed a 21 yard pass to the Huskies 35 yard line. That is when Fuiamaono rushed from the left side to chase Foles down to the right with a sack for a loss of 13 yards as time was ticking for the Wildcats. After Foles completed a 13 yard pass setting up a third and 10 with 2:37 left in the game. Foles threw an interception to true sophomore safety Sean Parker to ice the game. After the Huskies grinded down the clock the Wildcats had the ball with under a minute to go. With 48 seconds left in the game Cort Dennison jumped a Foles pass returning it 12 yards to ice the game as the Huskies won 42-31 to become bowl eligible. The Wildcats lost despite Foles going 32-50(64.0%) for 388 yards(7.8 YPA) with two touchdowns and three interceptions. His main target was Juron Criner who had 11 receptions for 118 yards with two touchdowns but a costly fumble.

 For the Huskies they were led by Chris Polk who carried the ball 34 times for 144 yards(4.2 YPC) with four rushing touchdowns while also having four receptions for 100 yards(25.0 YPC) with a touchdown as well. The Huskies passing attack struggled due to several dropped passes which reflected in Keith Price's numbers as he was 16-30(53.3%) for 277 yards(9.2 YPA) with a touchdown but three interceptions. His main receivers besides Polk was Kasen Williams who had two receptions for 60 yards including a very big 48 yard reception. Jermaine Kearse once again struggled with dropped passes ended up with four receptions for 59 yards(14.8 YPC) with a rushing touchdown of six yards. Kevin Smith also had a good all around game with two receptions for 34 yards while also having 150 yards in kickoff return yards(30.0 AVG) including twice almost breaking one for a touchdown.James Johnson was held to just one reception for 16 yards. Devin Aguilar had two receptions for 26 yards while also completing a pass for 33 yards as the Huskies are going bowling.

All in all, last year the Huskies were 3-5 as senior leader Jake Locker was injured heading into their next week. The Huskies are healthy this year and coming off a win when preparing for the Ducks. The Huskies haven't came into the Oregon game off a win since 2002 and haven't entered the Oregon game with a winning record since 2000. The Huskies offense continues to score points as Price leads the passing game while Polk continues to set records at Washington. Sarkisian has had his bumps along the way but is 10-2 in his last 12 games and the Huskies are going to a bowl game in back to back years for the first time since the 2002 season. The Huskies overcame bad breaks, bad calls and an early deficit to pull this win out like good teams do.

Observations:

- Despite what the stats say I think Price played a pretty good football game. He had a touchdown taken away from him on the Kearse play because that was technically a lateral. Kearse also dropped a touchdown later in the game and the Michael Hartvigson play wiped away a 31 yard pass for him. He also had Seferian-Jenkins drop a 20 yard pass not to mention two of his three interceptions hit the receivers in both hands while the third interception the receiver got tripped. Price did help move the chains as the Huskies were 7-15 on third downs and 1-1 on fourth downs. Price hit some critical passes whenever the Huskies needed a third down pass. He also didn't lose faith in his guys as the Huskies were up 35-31 he trusted Kearse who came up with a big 24 yard catch. Trailing 31-28 on second and nine he trusted fourth receiver and true freshman Kasen Williams who delivered a 48 yard reception. Price despite the stats played a pretty good game.

For the season now Price has completed 66.5% of his passes for 1,990 yards(8.4 YPA) with 23 touchdown passes to now eight interceptions. The school record for touchdown passes is 28 so Price has four games to pass for six touchdowns which he has shown he is capable of. This was also Price's first career fourth quarter comeback. He has played great this year as a sophomore quarterback and next season will be asked to be the leader of the team.

- The defense kept the Huskies in the game. Trailing 10-0 the Wildcats had the ball and the Huskies defense forced a stop. With the game tied at 28 the Wildcats had the ball on the five yard line the Huskies defense held them to a field goal and after a Huskies interception the defense forced a three and out. Then on the next three possessions the defense created turnovers. Nick Holt has been taking heat all week and I think most of it has been fair. The defense played more agressive against the Wildcats and they allowed some big plays but they also recorded two sacks while forcing four turnovers. In the redzone the defense held the Wildcats to two short field goals which helped the Huskies earn the win much like the California game. The defense is still allowing too many points and yards but at least they showed a pulse this week. You can tell on the sidelines especially the seniors like Cort Dennison and Quinton Richardson(who is presenting Holt with the game ball there) really care for their coach.

- Chris Polk had one of the greatest individual games in Husky football history. Polk became the first Husky in history to rush for over 100 yards and receive 100 yards or as I like to call it a Marshall Faulk special. Polk also ran for four touchdowns while receiving another one. In the same game he passed up Kaufman for most 100 yard rushing games while also equaling Kaufman for three straight 1,000 yard rushing seasons. This is why recruiting is so important as Polk was going to USC instead he is at Washington. Like Kaufman the Huskies have a tailback who everyone in the nation wanted. Polk has been more consistent this season as he has rushed for 100 yards or more in seven of the teams eight games. The one game he didn't rush for 100 yards he ran for 60 while having 85 yards receiving. He has scored a touchdown whether it be rushing or receiving in seven straight games(11 of last 12 too). Polk has had one of the most consistent seasons in Husky history.

For the season Polk now has rushed for 1,016 yards(5.6 YPC) with nine rushing touchdowns(tying his career high from last season). He also has 18 receptions for 249 yards(13.8 YPC) with three touchdowns. Polk this year has shown the ability to bust long runs or receptions(all three touchdowns on fade or seam passes), Polk still runs for power on short yardage situations, he has shown the ability to be a receiving threat and is a wonderful blocker. Polk will be a star in the NFL and this year has made life easy on Price as teams are preparing to stop Polk. Now that Price is lighting teams up they are force to prepare for Price which means Polk has been running crazy going for 287 yards rushing with six rushing touchdowns the last two weeks.

- Sarkisian in year three has his offense playing at a high level. The Huskies offense is averaging 35.6 points per game which is good for 25th in the nation. The offense is balanced as they are averaging 255.5 yards passing a game which is good for 37th in the nation while the rushing is averaging 174.1 which is good for 45th in the nation. The Huskies are now 6-2 which puts Sarkisian at 18-15 as Huskies coach who were 12-47 the previous five seasons prior to his arrival. This was a real gut check win as the Huskies overcame so much while Sarkisian never lost faith and his players didn't panic. Remember the goaline fiasco at Notre Dame two years ago? Well the offensive line is better now and Sarkisian doesn't get cute anymore as he just pounds Polk for the touchdown. Remember how the Huskies could never win close games ever? Well under Sarkisian they always win the close games. The culture at Washington is a winning attitude and now Sarkisian has one more mountain to climb. He will take on the Oregon Ducks this week hoping to end the Huskies seven game losing streak to the Ducks which is their longest in program history.

In conclusion, good teams find ways to win which is exactly what the Huskies did. There was several momentum swings that went against the Huskies whether it be self inflicted or officiating. There was no excuses made the Huskies just went about their business on the next play which earned them the win. Polk had a memorable game that Husky fans will talk about for years to come. The special teams which has been great all year played well once again giving the Huskies great field position and the defense made plays in the fourth quarter. This was a total team effort as the Huskies improve to 5-0 at home. This is the Huskies best season since 2001 where they went 8-4 that year. The Huskies will face two stiff tests the next two weeks which will tell you a lot about this team going forward not only for this year but for years to come. For now Husky fans enjoy this win and start clearing your schedule in late December as the Huskies once again are going bowling.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Huskies look to bounce back against Wildcats

By Kshell

The Washington Huskies(5-2,3-1) are set to host the Arizona Wildcats(2-5,1-4) in a game that would appear to be a blowout looking at the record. However the Huskies fresh off of getting blown out 65-21 at Stanford while the Wildcats won 48-12 last week against UCLA. The Wildcats also smashed the Huskies 44-14 last year with their backup quarterback. Much of the talk surrounding this game has been focused on the Huskies defense mainly Nick Holt. The Huskies defense has been in the news after the latest disaster are allowing 33 points a game. The Wildcats have done pretty well against the Huskies as they are 3-1 against the Huskies the last four years averaging 43.2 points per game against the Huskies although two of those games were against Tyrone Willingham. The Huskies will be facing an explosive Wildcats offense so this year should be another high scoring game.

The Wildcats offense is led by senior quarterback Nick Foles. Despite the 2-5 record Foles is having a terrific season completing 70.9% of his passes for 2,546 yards(8.0 YPA) with 18 touchdowns to five interceptions. Foles didn't play against the Huskies last year but he has played in Husky Stadium before. In a 36-33 loss which he threw game winning interception that went for a touchdown Foles played pretty well that game for the most part. Foles was 39-53(73.6%) for 384 yards(7.2 YPA) with a touchdown and two interceptions in the final moments of the game. Foles has plenty of receivers to throw to this season. The Wildcats have eight players with double digit receptions, eight over 100 yards receiving and four guys with over 30 receptions and 300 yards receiving. The leading receiver for the Wildcats is Dan Buckner who has 36 receptions for 541 yards(15.0 YPC) with two touchdowns. The next leading receiver is Juron Criner who has 36 receptions for 441 yards(12.2 YPC) with six touchdowns. The Wildcats running game isn't bad either led by Keola Antolin who has rushed for 351 yards(5.0 YPC) with three touchdowns. The Wildcats offense this season is averaging 30.2 points per game so look for them to score plenty of points on the Huskies defense.

The Huskies will be having a "black out" this Saturday night. The Huskies are 2-0 all-time when wearing the black uniforms so look for the crowd to be jacked up. The defense led by team captains and seniors Alameda Ta'amu and Cort Dennison must rally the defense to record some stops. The Huskies defense has to contain the Wildcats offense so their own offense can be balance. The Huskies rushing attack led by Chris Polk who has rushed for 844 yards(5.7 YPC) with five touchdowns can only be effective if the game is close. The Huskies will be playing a warm weather team at home in late October at night where the weather looks to be pretty bad. Look for the Huskies to rely on Polk some to control the clock plus the Wildcats allow 173.3 yards rushing per game. The Wildcats are also last in allowing passing yardage at 290.9 yards per game so look for the Huskies to exploit that as well.

The Huskies passing game also got a nice bonus when the Wildcats top cornerback Shaquille Richardson along with three other secondary players were suspended this game. Richardson and the Wildcats top nickel corner are suspended the whole game for fighting against UCLA while Richardson's backup along with a backup safety is suspended for the first half. The Huskies passing game which is already good going against an already bad Wildcats secondary should have a field day. The passing offense is led by sophomore quarterback Keith Price who is completing 68.4% of his passes for 1,713 yards(8.3 YPA) with 22 touchdowns to just five interceptions. Price has plenty of options too as the Huskies have six guys in double figures in receptions(another with nine receptions) with four over 300 yards receiving. The Huskies leading receiver is Devin Aguilar who has 26 receptions for 401 yards(15.4 YPC) with three touchdowns. Next is Jermaine Kearse who has been dropping passes lately but still has 27 receptions for 336 yards(12.4 YPC) with six touchdowns. James Johnson is also have a nice season with 25 receptions for 314 yards(12.6 YPC) with three touchdowns. The Huskies also have talented tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins who has 20 receptions for 321 yards(16.0 YPC) with four touchdowns. The Huskies offense should have no problem scoring points on the Wildcats defense just a matter of can their own defense stop the Wildcats?

In conclusion, this is a huge game for the Huskies as they look to be bowl eligible in October for the first time since 2001. The Huskies are trying to be 6-2 and 4-1 in conference play for the first time since 2001 as well. For all the talk about firing Holt that talk can be suspended for a week with a win right here. Steve Sarkisian has plenty of weapons on offense to exploit a weak Wildcats defense so this should be a high scoring game that will remind fans of the WAC days in the 1990's which Sarkisian excelled in while playing for BYU. A loss here could spell doom for the season as the Huskies take on the Oregon Ducks and the USC Trojans in consecutive weeks. The Huskies who are 4-0 at home should be just fine against a Wildcats team who is 0-3 on the road this season. Look for the Huskies offense to be unstoppable while the defense led by Dennison and Ta'amu make just enough plays for the Huskies to come away with the victory.

Seattle Sounders FC head to Rio Tinto for the first leg of the MLS Cup playoffs

By Money Mike


The Seattle Sounders take on Real Salt Lake in the first leg of the Quarterfinal of the MLS Cup playoffs down in Salt Lake tomorrow night at 7 p.m. This is a huge week for the Men in Rave Green as they look to advance past the quarterfinal round after failing to do so the first two seasons in MLS. These two teams split the season series with 2-1 road victorys. Real Salt Lake are coming into this series under heavy pressure after ending the regular season on a 6 game winless run. If Seattle can come away with at least a draw in this first leg, that would give them an even greater advantage going into the second leg on Wednesday night in Seattle.


Injury report:

Seattle Sounders FC - Here's the injury report for the Sounders. Terry Boss, Mike Seamon and Steve Zakuani are shut down for the remaining part of the season. O'Brian White looks to be done as well. Mauro Rosales re-spained his MCL last Saturday against Chivas USA and we just recieved word earlier today that he did not make the trip, so he is out. There's a chance however that he'll return for the second leg. Josh Ford has a knee problem and he didn't make the trip either. And finally, Amadou Sanyang has a knee sprain.

Real Salt Lake - For Real Salt Lake, Nelson Gonzalez has a fractured right foot and Cody Arnoux has a strained left hammie and both are out. Tony Beltran is listed as questionable with a left adductor strain, however he will not play tomorrow. Ned Grabavoy, who has a left adductor strain, and Kyle Reynish, who has a right ankle bone spur, are both listed as probable.


Key matchups:

Mike Fucito vs Jamison Olave - I'm expecting Sigi Schmid to start Mike Fucito over Sammy Ochoa to test RSL defender Jamison Olave. Back on May 28th, Fucito was brought down be Olave to deny a breakaway chance for the Sounders. That resulted in a straight red card for Olave.

RSL Midfield vs Seattle Midfield - I think the midfield battle will decide the match here. Salt Lake will get a boost with Kyle Beckerman coming back following his three match ban to team up in the central part of midfield with Javier Morales. On the other side, the Sounders will be missing Mauro Rosales, so the question will be, do you start Lamar Neagle, do you start Erik Friberg, only Sigi has the answer to that.


What to look out for in this game:

- The Sounders have had a week to get prepped for the first leg down in Salt Lake and are feeling confident that they will walk away with a result. First legs are always huge.

- Real Salt Lake will of course be attacking all game and trying to put one past Kasey Keller while Seattle will do the same and attack but in my mind will also play more of a defensive minded game.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Why do Seattle fans hate Jim L. Mora?

By Kshell

This past sunday when the Seattle Seahawks took on the Cleveland Browns there was an interesting choice as the color commentator. The announcer was former Seahawks head coach Jim L.Mora and he actually showed he still loves the city of Seattle. With the Washington Huskies defense still struggling under Nick Holt some fans have suggested Mora take over as coach. Of course some fans are against the move. You see due to the Tyrone Willingham fallout in 2007-2008 Mora to those fans is the most evil coach there is. He's on the same level as Chip Kelly and Rick Neuheisel to this fanbase. In this following post I'll explain why hating Jim L. Mora(he isn't a junior by the way) is simply stupid and I'll explain why some fans hate Mora.


The controversy all began with Mora in December of 2006. Mora two seasons removed from taking the Atlanta Falcons to the NFC championship game was on 950 KJR with Dave "Softy" Mahler and his old college roommate Hugh Millen. On air talking candily with two guys that he considers his friends Mora made mention that the Univeristy of Washington was his dream job. Mahler caught that statement and knew he had gold so he ran with it. To which Mora said "If I'm coaching Super Bowl week I'm quitting my job to be with the Huskies if they offered tomorrow." Those comments made some Husky fans very excited. Those comments also pissed off the Atlanta Falcons fanbase and some Washington Huskies fans as the Huskies had a coach in place in Tyrone Willingham. Willingham who took over a 1-10 mess saw his team go 2-9 in year one but then in year two saw progress going 5-7. The Huskies did lose six games in a row after starting off 4-1 as Willingham rubbed some people the wrong way with his "suddenly senior" game as the Huskies lost 20-3 at home to 0-10 Stanford Cardinal. At the end of the season the Falcons fired Mora after going 7-9 in a season which the Falcons started off 5-2. The Falcons lost three games in a row after Mora made those comments as well. Mora was hired though by the Seattle Seahawks to be the secondary coach and assistent head coach. That move was interesting as Mora would be in Seattle in 2007 which meant he was going to be the first choice if Willingham started to fail.

With Mora already in Seattle that made for an interesting 2007 season which divided up the fan base. You had your pro Willingham guys who defended him no matter what and felt you should never bash on your coach. You also had some fans who wanted Mora to be the coach. The season started off well for Willingham as the Huskies were 2-0 for the first time since 2001 under freshman quarterback Jake Locker. The Huskies then lost six games in a row and the tipping point was the final loss as the Huskies blew a 41-26 lead to the Arizona Wildcats losing 48-41. That is when some fans began to openly demand the Huskies fire Willingham and go with Mora. Mora took a position job for the Seahawks many felt so he can be right there in Seattle. There was some speculation that a secret behind the scenes deal was taking place for Mora to take over for Willingham. There was many arguments on the dawgman boards where it got to a point the Mora fans created their own website which could get pretty vulger at times but the content was generaly the right message.

 The Huskies finished the 2007 season losing the Washington State Cougars 42-35 and then blowing a 21-0 lead only to lose 35-28 to the Hawaii Warriors. This is where the University screwed up they chose to keep Willingham for the 2008 season knowing that an NFL coach was in their backyard in Jim L. Mora. In January of 2008 the Seahawks who had a 10-6 season named Mora the next head coach for when Mike Holmgren retires after the 2008 season. Willingham of course went 0-12 in 2008 and because Mora was already scheduled to be the next NFL head coach he turned down the Huskies out of loyalty to the Seahawks. The Huskies would hire Steve Sarkisian while Mora was fired after just one season for the Seahawks going 5-11 even though he inherited a team that had gone 4-12 the year prior.

Seattle has had plenty of failed coaches before and many who have failed worse than Mora did in only one season. Which is why it is so perplexing that Mora is so hated by so many fans in Seattle. For those who don't know Jim L. Mora's dad is Jim Mora the coach who once had the famous line of "Playoffs?!! I just hope we can win a friggin game" in a very high pitch voice. Well elder Mora earned his stripes as the Huskies defensive coordinator when Don James took over as head coach the first move he made was demoting Jim Lambright from defensive coordinator to linebackers coach. The Huskies won the Rose Bowl during the 1977 upsetting the Michigan Wolverines 27-20. Elder Mora then bolted to the NFL as he was successful for the New Orleans Saints and Indianapolis Colts but couldn't ever win the big game.

Younger Mora played for the University of Washington from 1980-1983 as he was a part of two Rose Bowl teams and a graduate assistent on the Orange Bowl team. Younger Mora went on to coach with his dad then later became an up and coming defensive coordinator with the San Francisco 49ers before becoming head coach of the Atlanta Falcons. There is no reason to hate Mora as his dad has a big part of Huskies history and he himself played for the Huskies. He has stated several times that the Huskies job would be his dream and he even coached the Seattle Seahawks. Recently while announcing the Seahawks game he showed that he still loves Seattle as he grew up here, his wife is from here and he still lives in Seattle. If anything fans should root for a guy like Mora who has local connections. Instead, since nobody will ever admit to supporting Willingham the bitterness still remains. Many of the Willingham fans are easily detected as they go out of their way to hate on the "evil" Rick Neuheisel and will bash on Jim L. Mora even though he played for the Huskies.

Now the Mora bashers bring up the fact that why would any college team want him since he failed in the NFL twice? Well let's play a little game coach A won one division title and has a 31-33(.484%) record in the NFL and a 1-1 playoff record. He was given three years at one job where he had some success and at another job was fired after just one season. Coach B won one division title and had a 33-31(.515) record in the NFL and a 1-2 playoff record. He was given three years at one job where he had some success and at another job was fired after just one season. Both coaches were also defensive coordinators on successful 49ers teams. As you can see both coaches are eerily similar so if you haven't guessed by now coach A is Jim L. Mora and coach B is Pete Carroll. Yes the same Carroll who replaced Mora as Seahawks coach and more importantly the same Carroll who won two national championships, four Rose Bowl championships and two Orange Bowl's. Carroll like Mora is an energetic defensive minded coach who had no college head coaching experience at all prior to arriving at USC.

 In fact failing in the NFL doesn't mean much as most failed NFL coaches do quite well in the college game. Former Seahawks coach Dennis Erickson won two national titles at the university of Miami went to the Seahawks where he was 31-33 in four seasons. After being fired went to the Oregon State Beavers who hadn't had a winning season in close to 30 years. While at Oregon State Erickson went 31-17(.646%) including a Fiesta Bowl win.  Erickson went to the 49ers where he was 9-23 only to return to the college game with the Arizona State Sun Devils who are enjoying a 5-2 season as we speak. Steve Spurrier won a ton of games including a national championship at the univeristy of Florida Gators before leaving to the Washington Redskins. With the Redskins Spurrier was a failure going just 12-20 before returning to the college game. At bottom feeder South Carolina Spurrier is 50-34(.595%). Typically failed NFL coaches come down to the college ranks and dominate the college game just like major leaguers dominate triple A.

In conclusion, no fan in Seattle should have any reason to hate Jim L. Mora yet so many want him to fail. Just mentioning that a former NFL head coach should be the Huskies defensive coordinator and some fans will be outraged at the thought of Mora becoming defensive coordinator. You just know if Sarkisian were to be fired or leave and Mora takes over all those Willingham supporters bitterness would come through as they would ride Mora like no other. Facts are Mora was with the Seahawks for one season which isn't enough time to run a franchise into the ground like many portray that he did. Mora also isn't set out for the NFL but as a Huskies fan I fear that someday UCLA, Arizona or California will come in and swoop Mora up. I've never seen Husky fans turn on one of their one in my entire life. Sad that the fans will let an 11-37(.229) coach like Willingham be the reason for turning on a player whose dad coached the Huskies to a Rose Bowl win and a former player who was on a Rose Bowl championship team. Hopefully the animosity towards Mora will finally end as he appears to be a guy who loves this area. This is a guy we should be rooting for not against as there is no reason to root against Mora. If the Huskies are ever at point of searching for a new head coach(hopefully not for decades I might add) I would have no problem with Jim L. Mora being the head coach and neither should you.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Recruit Profile: Austin Apodaca

By TWolf



I decided to switch things up from the usual articles about the Washington State Cougars. With all the incoming recruits I thought it would be a good idea to get a more in-depth look at one of them. First one up, Austin Apodaca, 6'3" 180 pound quarterback out of Silver Creek High School in Longmont, Colorado.

First, a little history. Longmont is a town of 86,303 located in Boulder County 16 miles from Boulder and 37 miles from Denver. It was named one of the Top 100 Places to Live by Money Magazine in both 2006 and 2008. An interesting fact I fount is that, according to the Software and Information Industry Association, Boulder/Longmont area is home to the highest concentration of software-related jobs in the nation.

Enough with the quick history, this article is about Austin and what he brings to Washington State's football program. To date Austin has compiled 5925 yards passing, 66 touchdown passes, and a quarterback rating of 104. Since he became the starter Silver Creek has amassed a record of 20-10. (Forgive me if these stats are off as they were taken from maxpreps.com). In my opinion stats only tell you part of what a recruit brings to the program, so I wanted to know a little more about him. He was more than nice enough to answer a few questions for me over Facebook.

twolf: Are there any similarities between Longmont and Pullman?


Austin:  It is pretty similar to Pullman because of the very local feeling it has to it. You see alot of people you know around town in Longmont. Also its similar because its relatively close to Denver, like Pullman to Spokane, so its not too hard to get into the bigger city.


twolf: Everyone that looks it up knows about the great stats you've put up. What is the one thing you would like people to know about you outside of the numbers? 


Austin:  I pride myself on being a great leader. The quarterback is always in the spotlight, so when things go bad I have to be the first one to keep everybody focused.


twolf: What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?


Austin: In my spare time, I love to go fishing. Whenever we have some time, my recievers and I will go to the lake to fish. I also love playing basketball and baseball.


twolf: There is a good chance you will redshirt your freshaman year since Jeff Tuel will be a senior. If that happens, what are your expectations going into your freshman year? Are you ok with redshirting for a year if that's the route the coaching staff goes?


Austin:  Yes, i'll redshirt my first year. I plan on gaining alot of good weight during my 
redshirt year and working to learn and understand the offense, working hard in the weight room and in practice/film.


twolf: I am always interested to find out from recruits, especially out of state ones, why they chose the college they did. What made you choose Washington State University?


Austin:  I chose Washington State because I feel it is the best fit for me and I absolutely 
loved everything about the program and the whole university. I can't wait to get to Pullman and start going to work.


twolf: Were any other PAC-12 schools interested in you? Who else were you considering?


Austin:  Oregon, Oregon State, and Colorado were also interested in me


twolf: What do you view is the best asset of a quarterback? Vision, arm strength, or IQ?


Austin:  I think the best asset for a quarterback is to know the game and play with passion. The desire to win is most important in my opinion.


twolf: The next question is to prepare you of the kind of questions you'll get from the
 resident #1 Cougar fan and writer in the area, Jim Moore. Do you have a dog? If so, what kind and what's his/her name?


Austin:  I do not have a dog haha


I can tell he will have many fans once he gets to Washington State. I am already one of them. 


I am sure Austin will have a great career at Washington State, both on and off the field. From all my discussions with him on Facebook I can tell he's a great person and is as much of a Cougar already as anyone who has gone there. With him and the others that have already committed this program is only going up.


Thanks again for doing the interview Austin. You rock!

Seahawks lose snoozefest 6-3 to Browns

By Kshell

The Seattle Seahawks(2-4) lost on the road to the Cleveland Browns(3-3) in a game that set football back a few decades. The Browns escaped with a 6-3 win over the Seahawks in a game which featured no offense, missed calls and terrible quarterback play on both sides. The Seahawks who were without Tarvaris Jackson and a late scratch to Marshawn Lynch saw their offense put up just 137 yards of total offense which was just 2.7 yards per play. The Seahawks called 33 pass plays which saw them just put up 72 yards of offense which is also just 2.2 yards per passing play called. The defense played great but that didn't matter as the Seahawks offense couldn't move the ball minus one drive. The Seahawks couldn't overcome a few bad calls and in the redzone despite having several chances couldn't score a touchdown. Pete Carroll's handpicked quarterbacked Charlie Whitehurst appears to not be an NFL quarterback after the Seahawks had two weeks to prepare for this game. The Seahawks also didn't run the ball well either as they ran for just 65 yards on only 17 carries(3.8 YPC). This was a disgraceful offensive performance for Carroll's Seahawks who fall three games back in the NFC West.


The first half was a snooze fest like much of the game was. The Browns led 3-0 at halftime on a Phil Dawson 52 yard field goal which was set up by a Charlie Whitehurst fumble. The first half highlights included a Red Bryant blocked kick. That was the only highlights for the Seahawks who had just 55 yards of total offense which averaged only 1.89 yards per play which for the NFL is beyond pathetic. The Browns offense wasn't much better as they only had 140 yards of offense while averaging only 3.4 yards per play. The first half saw the Seahawks longest drive go only 15 yards while they had five punts and a fumble. The offense was abysmal in the first half as the Seahawks were held in check for the fifth time in six games in the first half. This was also the fifth time in six games the Seahawks trailed at halftime as they went away from the no huddle offense. The first half was so bad that many thought there was no way that the second half could be any worse and sadly many were wrong. The second half did feature one critical blown call that probably cost the Seahawks the win. The second half also saw Whitehurst continue to struggle while the Browns offense did barely enough to come away with the victory. The first half definately set the stage for a terrible game despite the closeness of the score.

The second half saw the Browns open with the ball first. The Browns actually had a nice drive going as they went on an 11 play drive covering 50 yards. The Browns had the ball on the Seahawks 30 facing a second and four when Colt McCoy was intercepted by David Hawthorne to keep the score at 3-0. The Seahawks offense of course did nothing as they punted the ball back to the Browns. The Seahawks forced a three and out and a punt by the Browns. Leon Washington Fielded the punt at midfield then with his burst a speed bust it to the outside and went up the sideline for the games first touchdown giving the Seahawks a 7-3 lead. The officials who made some horrible calls all game long threw a flag for a block in the back which replayed showed was merely a flop. The Seahawks though still had good field position on their own 45 yard line. That is when Whitehurst threw a pass to Sidney Rice which it had appeared Rice was being held. The pass was immediately intercepted as the Seahawks momentum quickly changed. In the matter of moments the Seahawks went from being up 7-3 which in this game felt like being up 21 points to still trailing 3-0 as Whitehurst continued his struggles. Seahawks defense once again forced a three and out then had their only successful drive of the game coming up.


Starting from their own 38 yard line the Seahawks began their only decent drive of the game. The drive began with a Leon Washington run of 11 yards. Washington then ran for four more yards to the Browns 47 yard line. On second and six Whitehurst went back to pass as he saw a wide open Sidney Rice. Whitehurst completed the pass to Rice for a gain of 38 yards to the Browns nine yard line. The pass was so horribly thrown that Rice's momentum forced him out of bounds. Had the pass been a decent pass Rice walks into the endzone and the Seahawks take the lead. As is the Seahawks had first and goal from the nine yard line. Whitehurst tried a wide receiver screen to Rice which he was tackled for no gain. On the next play Washington ran for a gain of five yards and was only brought down due to a game saving facemask which gave the Seahawks first and goal from the two yard line. On the first play they tried Justin Forsett to the left which he was tackled for no gain. Whitehurst then attempted two passes and both were incomplete as his struggles continued. The Seahawks were forced to settle for a Steven Hauschka 20 yard field goal to tie the score up at 3-3 as the quarter was almost over.

The Browns would respond to the field goal with an 11 play drive that ate up over six minutes. Facing a third and three from their own 24 yard line McCoy completed a 13 yard pass to extend the drive. Again on third and six from the 41 yard line McCoy completed another crucial seven yard pass to extend the chains. After that McCoy hit a 16 yard pass to the Seahawks 36 yard line. The Seahawks defense would get tough and stop the Browns. Dawson came out to try to make his second 50 plus yard field goal of the game. Dawson drilled the 53 yard field goal to give the Browns a 6-3 lead over the Seahawks in the middle of the fourth quarter. The Seahawks offense of course went three and out like they did all game long.

The Browns took over hoping to put the Seahawks away as they went on a 14 play 60 yard drive which ate up six and a half minutes. Starting from their own 34 yard line the Browns started to grind down the clock. First with a short pass for five yards, then with a run of a yard setting up a third and four. McCoy hit another key pass for nine yards to their own 49 yard line. On third and 11 from the 48 yard line McCoy ran up the middle for a gain of 12 yards to continue the drive. Michael Hardesty had a run of six yards to set up a third and four. The Browns surprised the Seahawks with a run call which went for six yards to extend the drive to the Seahawks 28 yard line. Hardesty then had a run of 15 yards to the Seahawks 13 yard line. The Browns went super consertative as they ran the ball three straight times. Had the Browns scored a touchdown given that there was a little over three minutes left in the game  that would have iced the game. Instead the Browns called on their field goal unit to try and go up six points. That is when Red Bryant came through once again blocking his second field goal attempt of the game as he is trying to go after Joe Nash's record. That blocked kick gave the Seahawks new life but their offense once again couldn't do anything. Whitehurst on fourth and 15 couldn't complete the pass as the Browns had possession again. The Seahawks were going to get the ball back but Bryant who had a great game headbutted a Browns offensive player drawing a penalty which iced the game. The Seahawks lost 6-3 as their offense did nothing. The Seahawks passing game was terrible which saw Charlie Whitehurst complete 12-30(40.0%) of his passes for 97 yards(3.2 YPA) with an interception as his quarterback rating was 35.0. The leading receiver was Sidney Rice who had two receptions for 38 yards while the rushing attack wasn't much better. The rushing game was led by Leon Washington who had 39 yards rushing on seven carries(5.6 YPC) who also had four receptions but just 10 yards. Justin Forsett had 23 yards on eight carries(2.9 YPC) in the game as well.

All in all, the Seahawks dropped a very winnable game which will sting at the end of the season. Had the Seahawks won they would be 3-3 instead they are 2-4 which leaves them three games back of the San Francisco 49ers who are 5-1 and actually that is 3.5 games back due to tiebreaker. I think it is safe to say there will be no more quarterback controversy as Whitehurst showed he isn't an NFL quarterback. With two weeks to prepare the offense was a joke and last year the Seahawks fired the offensive coordinator. At what point does the offensive failings fall on Pete Carroll's shoulders? Carroll better find some answers quick as the fans have turned on him because he let go over overrated veterans. This was a tough loss for sure never good to lose when you allow only six points both on fifty yard plus field goals.

Observations:

- The Seahawks passing game was struggling all game so why they called 35 pass plays(30 pass attempts, three sacks, two Whitehurst scrambles) is very confusing. The Seahawks threw the ball 70.0% of the time. The Browns were in the bottom three in the NFL against the run and although Marshawn Lynch was injured still should have ran more. During the game Washington averaged 5.6 yards per carry but only received seven carries. I know he isn't an every down back but still give him 13-17 carries and the Seahawks probably win this game.

While on topic with the run game this last game proved that Justin Forsett serves no purpose on this team. He was held to 23 yards rushing on eight carries(2.9 YPC) and something stood out in the redzone. The Seahawks have no power backs on their roster besides Marshawn Lynch. Forsett basically is a poor version of Washington so having both on your roster not to mention an undersized fullback is just stupid. The Seahawks must get a real fullback this offseason and replace Forsett with a goaline back who can record those tough yards when you need him to.

- Charlie Whitehurst had one of the worst performances I've seen in a while for a starting quarterback. Very rarely does a quarterback play the entire game while attempting 30 passes and somehow threw for under 100 yards. This was a very winnable game where a simple decent throw to Rice on that 38 yard completion and the Seahawks win the game. Had Whitehurst been able to throw for a touchdown when he had two cracks at it from the two yard line the Seahawks win this game as well. Pete Carroll gave up 20 spots in the second round and a third round pick for Whitehurst in a move that at the time was questionable looks downright horrible now.

So far Whitehurst has started three games for the Seahawks going 1-2 in those starts. The Seahawks are averaging only 8.7 points per game while Whitehurst was 46-89 passing(51.6%) for only 402 yards(4.5 YPA) with two touchdowns to three interceptions with a quarterback rating of 57.4 which is downright terrible. The defense played their best game of the Carroll era and it will go down as a loss which will remind fans of the 1992 Seahawks. Whitehurst who is a free agent at the end of the season in his short sample size has proven he isn't the answer for the Seahawks going forward.


- Pete Carroll is a defensive minded coach and his defense when Red Bryant has been healthy has been pretty good. Carroll is the head coach and team president which means the offensive shortcomings also fall on his shoulders. This offense minus the stretch where they used the no huddle(why not use the no huddle this game?!!!) has been terrible. Last year Carroll used his one fire the coordinator get out of jail free card. Carroll can't fire the offensive coordinator again in my opinion without first having his job examined in the process.

Whenever you lose a game 6-3 the fan base is going to be angry and rightfully so. The game plan was just plain  awful to have your backup quarterback throw 70% of the time in a game in which at most you trailed by three points. The Seahawks should have put the ball in Leon Washington and Sidney Rices hands more instead of second tier tight ends. The offensive game plan was terrible and although Carroll has no say on the offensive gameplan as head coach that ultimately falls on his lap. Carroll is now 9-13 as Seahawks head coach and 10-14 if you include the playoff games. I think like most college successful coaches Carroll is realizing that in the NFL you have to draft you can't just sign all the best kids because of where you are located. You have to actually evaluate talent instead of offer 25 scholarships to the best kids in the country. The Whitehurst mistake is squarely on Carroll as that move has been nothing short of a disaster.

In conclusion, the Seahawks lost the probably the most boring game in close to a decade. At least in a blowout I can turn the game off but this game was close so I sat through the entire snoozefest. The Seahawks lost a very winnable game because the offensive gameplan was horrible. The Charlie Whitehurst experiment needs to end as he clearly isn't better than Tarvaris Jackson. Carroll has a ton of work to do as the offseason much like this past offseason will be spent on drafting nothing but offensive guys. The Seahawks lost to a bad football team 6-3 in a game which will haunt them throughout the season.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Seahawks Lose an Ugly One in Cleveland


By Wyatt Lyles
Man was that a bad game. It was so hard to watch, and I almost regret watching it at all. Any progress that the Seahawks had made was completely stopped in its tracks after Sunday's game. I've managed to come up with four things I can comment on from the game. We all know what one of them is, and I'll save his roasting for last. 

While the game overall was horrible, the defense was its normal self. Once again, they kept us in the game until the very end. That's about all you can ask from your defense in this game. The run defense was still on top of things. The Browns did have 141 yards on the ground, but 31 came from their QB Colt McCoy, and that's not really the fault of the run defense. McCoy is pretty mobile and when he gets any sort of open field to run in, he's hard to stop. So the run defense in the traditional sense allowed only 110 yards rushing. And once again, no opposing rusher has broken 100 yards against our defense. So this was a major bright spot once again. We were still in the game up until the final minutes of the 4th Quarter thanks to the defense. It was the offense who just couldn't get it done in this game. 

There was a couple guys who really stood out to me on Sunday, and of course, they were from the defense. First was Red Bryant. I know that he's been one of the focal points of the defense for the past couple seasons, but he did something on Sunday that no Seahawk had even done before. He blocked TWO field goals. In the same game. It was definitely an awesome thing to witness. Seeing the determination that he had on each of the blocks was insane. He pretty much just had his way with the linemen who were trying to stop him. He pretty much made them look like weaklings. He wasn't all good though, as he got ejected late in the 4th quarter for head butting an opposing player. This is something he just can't do. He needs to keep his composure on those kinds of things. But overall, he had a great game, and I hope he can keep up that kind of playing in weeks to come. 

Another guy that stood out to me was David Hawthorne. So far this season, he's been pretty average. He hasn't really done anything that has stood out. But on Sunday he had eleven tackles, one sack, and an interception. The interception came while the Browns were in the red zone, so it was perfect timing by Hawthorne. It was nice to see him playing so well out there. 

Now for what I've been waiting since Sunday to finally put on paper. Charlie Whitehurst is a HORRIBLE quarterback. He has no future in this league. I mean, going into the game, I knew that he wasn't going to go out there and play like an elite QB. But, he surprised me in how bad he played. He was 12-for-30 for 97 yards and one interception. I could sit here and talk for awhile about all the things that he did wrong on Sunday, but it really isn't even worth my effort. The bottom line is that he finally proved what we all knew was true: Whitehurst is a career backup, and he is in no way, shape, or form a better QB than Tarvaris Jackson. I hope all the Whitehurst supporters will just sit down now because there is no way that you can defend his performance. While it is true that football is a team sport, he deserves at the very least 75% of the blame. If Jackson had played this game, we would have won. It's as simple as that. 

(Side note: I'm not even going to get into the how bad the officiating was on Sunday. Those refs need not ever ref an NFL game ever again in their lives. Their performances were just as bad, if not worse than Whitehurst's. And that's saying something.) 

This game is in the past now, though. It's time to look towards this week's matchup against the Bengals. I really really really really hope that Jackson is healthy in time for the game because I can't watch Whitehurst start another game. I seriously think that If Jackson can't go Sunday that they should play Josh Portis. There's no way he can be any worse than Whitehurst was Sunday. At any rate, I'm still looking forward to Sunday's game because I still love this team, and I'll support them no matter what the outcome of a game is. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

#7 Stanford thrashes #22 Washington 65-21 to remain undefeated!

By Kshell

The #7 Stanford Cardinal(7-0,5-0) for the second straight season defeated the #22 Washington Huskies(5-2,3-1) by over 40 points as they won 65-21. This is the type of loss that has raised plenty of eyebrows at Montlake as the Huskies defense allowed a staggering 615 yards of total offense including 446 on the ground. The Cardinal rushing attacked averaged 9.3 yards per play and 10.1 yards per carry average. The Cardinal had two guys rush for over 100 yards and a third break 90 yards. Heisman trophy candidate Andrew Luck didn't need to do much as he threw for only 169 yards but did complete 76.2% of his passes with two touchdowns. This was a good all around butt kicking as the Huskies received a harsh smack of reality check. This was also the first time the Huskies were held under 30 points and quarterback Keith Price's six game streak of at least three touchdown passes was snapped as well. The Cardinal offense punted once the entire game which was late in the fourth quarter as they have beaten the Huskies 106-21 the last two seasons.


The game started off beautifully for the Cardinal as they won the toss they chose to receive. Starting on their own 24 yard line the Cardinal ran a reverse to Chris Owusu for a gain of 45 yards to the Huskies 31 yard line. After a short run Stepfan Taylor busted a 17 yard run to the Huskies 13 yard line. A five yard penalty set the Cardinal back to the 18 yard line when Andrew Luck finally attempted a pass as he completed back to back passes for 16 yards to the Huskies two yard line. That is when the Cardinal  gave the ball to their fullback Jeremy Stewart for the two yard touchdown to give the Cardinals a 7-0 lead. On defense the Cardinal after allowing a third down pushed the Huskies offense back forcing the Huskies to punt. The Huskies knew they were in for a buzz saw as their offense couldn't protect Keith Price while defensively the Huskies were pushed back despite having a potential first round pick in Alameda Ta'amu at defensive tackle. The Huskies were forced to punt the ball to the Cardinal offense as they took over on their own 27 yard line leading 7-0. That was the first time the Huskies had trailed in nine quarters.


On this drive the Cardinal decided to feature Luck which almost cost them. Luck started the drive by hitting Griff Whalen for a gain of 32 yards to the Huskies 41 yard line. Luck then hit Owusu for a gain of 12 yards to the Huskies 29 yard line. Luck on the next pass almost gave the Huskies a gift but they couldn't take advantage. There was a miscommunication as Luck threw the ball in the right endzone with just Desmond Trufant there who dropped the interception. Luck would complete an eight yard pass to Owusu to set up a third and two. Luck hit his tight end but Huskies safety Sean Parker knocked the ball out of his hands preventing the long pass. The Cardinal would settle for a Jordan Williamson 39 yard field goal giving the Cardinal a 10-0 lead and for the season had outscored their opponents 60-0 in the first quarter. The Huskies were suddenly facing a must score if they had any chance at keeping this a game.

The Huskies offense like they had done all season long would respond. Price facing the rush would hit Chris Polk for a gain of two yards giving Polk three receptions early in the game. He would hit Jermaine Kearse for a gain of five yards as the Huskies faced a critical third and three from their own 27 yard line. Price completed a pass to Devin Aguilar that was short of the first down but Aguilar trucked his defender then ran for a gain of 13 yards to their own 40 yard line. Back to back runs went nowhere setting up a third and six as Price would hit Aguilar again for a key first down for a gain of 10 yards. After Price threw an incomplete pass Steve Sarkisian had a great play call as the Cardinal kept blitzing. The Huskies called a draw play to Chris Polk who busted it for a 46 yard touchdown untouched to cut the lead to 10-7. That was the first score the Cardinal had allowed all season long in the first quarter.

The Cardinal would respond to the Huskies score with a score of their own. Starting from their own 20 yard line the Cardinal would pound Taylor for a gain of four yards. Tyler Gafney busted a 24 yard run to their own 48 yard line. After a short run Gafney busted another long run of 30 yards to the Huskies 21 yard line as the Cardinal were just pounding the ball on the Huskies all game long. After two short gains the Cardinal were facing a third and four from the Huskies 15 yard line. The Huskies sent Trufant on a blitz as Whalen was wide open for a gain of 14 yards as Justin Glenn saved the touchdown stopping him at the one yard line. Luck would finish the drive with a beautiful pass over the head of Greg Ducre to all-american candidate tight end Cody Fleener for a one yard touchdown to give the Cardinal a 17-7 lead over the Huskies. Once again the Huskies offense had to respond or this game would turn into a blowout.


The Huskies once again were facing a must score as the Cardinal looked like they were not going to be stopped. After a penalty by the Cardinal the Huskies began on their own 31 yard line. They continued to go with Polk who ran for eight yards to the Cardinal 39 yard line. Then another draw to Polk who busted it 61 yards untouched for the touchdown. With that touchdown the Huskies pulled within 17-14 as this game appeared to be a shootout. For Polkhe went over 100 yards for the 17th time in his career for the Huskies which tied him with Napoleon Kaufman for most 100 yard rushing performances in Huskies history. The Huskies have had plenty of great running backs led by Kaufman so that was a big accomplishment. The Huskies unfortunately wouldn't get any closer in this game as the Cardinal quickly stole the momentum right back.

The Cardinal with the ball on their own 30 yard line up only 17-14 decided to not mess around. Calling a simple run play to Taylor who busted it to the outside then went all the way for the 70 yard touchdown. That play was one of many devastating plays that turned this game towards the eventual blowout as the Cardinal led 24-14. The Cardinal at that point in the game was dominated the Huskies defensive line. Once again the Huskies offense had to respond to the challenge and try to answer the Cardinal score with a score of their own. Starting from their own 21 yard line Price hit Austin Seferian-Jenkins over the middle for a gain of 20 yards to their own 41 yard line. He then completed a seven yard pass to Kasen Williams and followed that up with a 17 yard completion to Kearse on the right to the Cardinal 35. Facing a third and 10 the Huskies called on the draw play as Polk ran for 11 yards for the first down. That is when the Huskies offense due to a questionable penalty started to stall. They would have to settle on an Erik Folk 46 yard field goal attempt which hit the goal post and was no good. The Cardinal offense would take advantage of the the Huskies missed opportunity.

Taking over from their own 28 yard line the Cardinal had a ball control offensive possession. After two short runs by Taylor setting up a crucial third and four the Huskies allowed a five yard run to Luck for a first down. Taylor would rush for eight yards then for 24 yards to the Huskies 29 yard line. Facing another third and four from the Huskies 23 yard line Luck would complete a pass to Owusu for a gain of five yards to move the chains. Luck then completed a pass to Zach Ertz for a gain of 14 yards down the middle to the Huskies four yard line. On the next play Luck would throw his second touchdown pass of the game to Drew Terrell from five yards out to give the Cardinal a 31-14 lead. With under four minutes left in the half and with having the ball first in the second half the Huskies weren't quiet yet out of the game. The Cardinal though would put the Huskies down for good on the following drive.

The Huskies were facing another must score and had a nice head start as Kevin Smith ran the kickoff 36 yards to their own 37 yard line. Polk would rush for eight yards then rush for another eight yards as the Huskies were in Cardinal territory. Price would hit Seferian-Jenkins for a gain of nine yards to the Cardinal 38 yard line. On second and one the Huskies tried Polk up the middle but he was blown up for a three yard loss. On third and four the game would turn into a laugher as Price didn't see an open Aguilar instead trying to force the ball into Kearse which was picked off by Michael Thomas for a 61 yard interception for a touchdown to give the Cardinal a commanding 38-14 lead. The Huskies still had a minute left before the half ended as Price tried to salvage the game still. Price hit Seferian-Jenkins for a gain of 11 yards to the Huskies 36. Polk ran for three yards which set up a Price completion to Seferian-Jenkins for a gain of 28 yards but the Huskies also committed a 15 yard penalty. Price hit Seferian-Jenkins again for a gain of nine yards to the Cardinal 39 yard line. With one play left Price completed the hail marry well short of the endzone to Aguilar for a gain of 30 yards as the half ended. The Cardinal outscored the Huskies 28-7 in the second quarter. Despite being only outgained 356-316 in the first half the Huskies had trailed by 24 points. The Cardinal were led by Luck who was 11-13 passing for 109 yards with two touchdowns and a strong rushing attack led by Taylor who had 130 yards rushing on just eight carries including a touchdown. The Huskies saw Price make that costly mistake but played solid going 17-24 for 186 yards with the interception. Seferian-Jenkins had five receptions for 77 yards while Aguilar had four receptions for 58 yards. The Huskies were led by Polk who had 143 yards rushing on just 10 carries with two touchdowns while catching three passes. The second half would see more Cardinal scoring as the Huskies defense had no answer.

The second half which the Cardinal are so successful at put the Huskies away. The offense went three and out to begin the second half punting the ball to the Cardinal offense. The Cardinal took the ball out of Luck's hands and still scored a touchdown. The drive began with a four yard run to Taylor, then a five yard run to Anthony Wilkerson setting up a third and one. The Cardinal called a fullback dive which went for three yards. Gaffney rushed up the middle for a gain of 16 yards to the Huskies 36 yard line. Gaffney followed up that run with 32 yard run to the Huskies four yard line. Gaffney finished off the drive with a four yard touchdown run to give the Cardinal a 45-14 lead. The Huskies offense continued to sputter in the second half as they went three and out once again. The Cardinal would then go on an 11 play 52 yard drive but would have to settle for a field goal as they led 48-14 over the Huskies. The Huskies offense went three and out once again as they punted the ball back to Stanford. The Huskies finally forced a Cardinal punt for the first and only time all game long.


The Huskies offense had one last drive in them for pride.  After Kasen Williams returned the punt 12 yards to their own 32 yard line is when Price would finish off his last drive of the game. After a short completion facing a second and 15 Price hit Aguilar for a gain of 15 yards. Facing another second and long Price hit Kearse for a gain of 29 yards to the Cardinal 20 yard line. Price hit James Johnson for a gain of 12 yards to the eight yard line. Facing a third and goal from the three Price would hit Kearse who bobbled the ball and ended up dropping the ball. After a Cardinal penalty the Huskies had new life as Price hit third tight end Evan Hudson for his first career reception which was a two yard touchdown pass which cut the score to 48-21. For Price that would be his final pass of the game as he was getting drilled all game long.

The Cardinal were hell bent on running up the score this game as Luck played into the fourth quarter and they were throwing passes to the endzone at the end of the fourth quarter. The Cardinal would tack on some more points. After a run the Cardinal had the ball on their own 40 yard line when Luck hit Whalen for a gain of 18 yards. Luck completed two more passes for 26 yards to the Huskies 18 yard line. Wilkerson finished the drive with an 18 yard touchdown run giving the Cardinal a 55-21 lead. Kevin Smith would fumble the kickoff as the Cardinal recovered settling on a field goal to go up 58-21. Nick Montana would come in for Price as the game was a blowout. Montana would throw an interception setting up yet another score for the Cardinal. Wilkerson on the final drive carried the ball seven times for 58 yards including his 38 yard touchdown run two minutes left in the game to give the Cardinal a 65-21 lead.

The Huskies loss was very demoralizing as it was impressive for the Cardinal. The Cardinal saw Luck complete 16-21(76.2%) of his passes for 169 yards(8.0 YPA) with two touchdowns and no interceptions. Luck also ran for 23 yards. His favorite target was Whalen who had four receptions for 76 yards. The Cardinal rushing attack was too much for the Huskies. Stepfan Taylor led the rushing attack with 138 yards on 10 carries(13.8 YPC) with a touchdown. Tyler Gaffney added 117 yards on the ground on just nine carries(13.0 YPC) with a touchdown. Anthony Wilkerson ran for 93 yards on 14 carries(6.6 YPC) with two touchdowns. For the Huskies Keith Price has seen better days but didn't play bad. Price completed 23 of 36 passes(63.9%) for 247 yards(6.9 YPA) with a touchdown and a costly interception. His main targets were Austin Seferian-Jenkins who had five receptions for 77 yards. Devin Aguilar added five receptions for 71 yards while Jermaine Kearse had four for 52 yards receiving. The Huskies rushing game was actually pretty good led by Chris Polk who ran for 144 yards on 15 carries(9.6 YPC) with two touchdowns. Then in garbage time true freshman Bishop Sankey ran for 31 yards on five carries(6.2 YPC). The Huskies loss feels like more than just one game but it is just that one game.

All in all, this is a devastating loss to the Huskies program who appeared ready for such games like this. Instead for Sarkisian it is looking more and more that he is going to have to make a tough decision regarding his friend Nick Holt in the offseason. The Huskies defense appears to be getting worse the longer Holt is there. The Huskies were hoping to make a statement this game instead they just showed how far away they really are. The Huskies are still a bowl team but the Stanford Cardinal proved there is a huge difference between a middle of the road bowl team and a national championship team. Those are the facts the Cardinal are competing for a national title while the Huskies are three years removed from 0-12. Losses like this are completely unacceptable as it shows the Huskies still have a long ways to go.

Observations:

- This was Price's worst game as a Husky quarterback this season. Shows how well he's played when he throws for 247 yards and completes 63.9% of his passes against a good defense. Price was under pressure all game long as it was pretty obvious early in the game that Stanford was dominating both lines of scrimmage. Still the game was somewhat in balance at 31-14 when Price didn't see an open Aguilar instead throwing the pick six. If the Huskies let's say trail 31-21 or 31-17 at halftime maybe this doesn't turn into quite the blowout.

 I still think Price played well enough for the Huskies to win. You aren't going to beat anyone giving up 65 points I don't care who your quarterback is. Price saw his three touchdown a game streak snapped but is still have a great season. For the year Price is completing 68.4% of his throws for 1,713 yards(8.3 YPA) with 22 touchdowns to five interceptions on the season. Not bad for a sophomore quarterback who many picked as the worst quarterback in the Pac-12 heading into the season.


- I do like the fact that the Huskies finally have a tight end to throw the ball to. Austin Seferian-Jenkins is only a true freshman but is going to be a future probowl tight end in the NFL bank on it. This guy will be a first round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft after he leaves his junior year. For the game Seferian-Jenkins had five receptions for 77 yards as he was catching passes over the middle, breaking tackles and using his speed. On the first Polk touchdown run Seferian-Jenkins had a key block which set that touchdown run up. Seferian-Jenkins has had the biggest impact freshman season for the Huskies since Reggie Williams in 2001 by far.

He'll be a freshman all-american and make some sort of all pac-12 team this year. For the season Seferian-Jenkins has 20 receptions for 321 yards(16.0 YPC) with four touchdowns. He is on pace for 34 receptions for 550 yards receiving and 6.9 touchdowns this season not counting the bowl game. Seferian-Jenkins has became a big part of this offense and as he gets older look for him to be the Huskies leading receiver.


- Chris Polk is awesome and the Huskies are going to miss him next year. I know Polk is a junior but he's had big games on the national spotlight this year against Stanford and Nebraska. He has shown he is an everydown back too as he has the speed to bust off long runs, the power to earn those tough yards plus he can catch passes out of the backfield. Against a Stanford defense which had allowed only 52 yards rushing a game Polk ran for 144 yards on just 15 carries. Had the game been close he could have gone off for 200 yards. For the year Polk has ran over 100 yards in six of the seven games. The one game he didn't was against California where he had 85 yards receiving so he has yet to have a game where he wasn't over 100 yards all-purpose.

Polk also tied legendary running back Napoleon Kaufman for most 100 yard rushing performances in Huskies history. He has still has five more games left(one against the Cougars who can't stop anyone from rushing) so he'll certainly break Kaufman's record. For the year Polk has ran for 844 yards(5.7 YPC) with five rushing touchdowns. He also has 14 receptions for 149 yards(10.6 YPC) with two touchdowns. Polk is on pace to rush for 1,446 yards in the regular season and including the bowl game 1,567 yards which is an incredible season. Polk is easily in the Huskies top five running backs of all-time and I personally would put him third only behind Kaufman(most exciting Husky ever) and Hugh  McElhenny(all-time great). The Huskies have had plenty of great running backs and Polk deserves to be high up on that list.

- The Huskies defense in year three shouldn't be allowing 65 points including 446 on the ground. Teams who are passing teams are throwing for over 300 yards on the Huskies at will. The two teams who run the ball well like Nebraska and Stanford have embarassed the Huskies. At what point does Sarkisian realize that Nick Holt simply isn't that good? It could be Sarkisian isn't recruiting well enough on defense either way the defense has been a problem and has gotten worse each year. Here are some stats that I got from KJR's Mitch in the Morning that I'll post up.

Huskies Defense in the Holt era:
Pts per game allowed: 2009 - 26.66, 2010 - 31.16, 2011 - 33.71
Yards per game allowed: 2009 - 389.5, 2010 - 401.17, 2011 - 431.28 (thru 7 games).
 Sacks per game: 2009 - 2.5, 2010 - 2.33, 2011 - 1.86 (thru 7 games)


As you can clearly see the Huskies defense is allowing more points and yardage each season while recording less sacks. I know the team has lost NFL players such as Donald Butler and Mason Foster the last two years I understand that. Still the team has Cort Dennison and Alameda Ta'amu not to mention other highly recruited players. With the exception of Sean Parker the Sarkisian/Holt guys on defense have yet to do anything. I think if the Huskies want to reach the next level they have to seriously sit down and think hard if Holt is the right guy or not.

- For Steve Sarkisian this was tough loss. In year three I figured these type of blowout losses were over and done with. Last year the Huskies lost four games by over 30 points and until this loss the Huskies only other loss was a competitive loss to Nebraska. I do like that after losses Sarkisian always puts the blame on him instead of the players which is nice to see. His offense is still playing at a high level as they moved the ball on the Stanford defense. The Huskies offense has moved the ball on all their opponents this year just couldn't score this game was the only problem.

I'd say overall Sarkisian is doing a fantastic job as the Huskies are still 5-2. If the Huskies just win the games they are supposed to they'll go 8-4 and just pull off one upset that is 9-3 heading into the bowl game. I think a year after losing Jake Locker most fans would take 8-4 or 9-3 just three years removed form 0-12. The defense has allowed over 20 points in six of the seven games and over 30 points in three games. Shows how successful Sarkisian's offense is that they are 5-2 with such a rough defense.

In conclusion, the Huskies aren't ready for primetime games. Someday they could be as their offense I feel is ready the defense though is years away. The Cardinal scored 65 points with Andrew Luck not having to do much but game manage. So even if Luck didn't play I suspect the Cardinal would have won in a blowout anyways. The Huskies simply can't let this loss lose them the next game against Arizona. Under Sarkisian after the six game mark the Huskies have gone on losing streaks of four games in year one then three games in year two. The Huskies lost the first game after the sixth game hopefully that trend ends this Saturday. A loss on Saturday can be devastating with Oregon and USC on the road looming. For the Huskies the offense is solid but unless the defense gets fixed in a hurry they are years away from seriously competing for a Rose Bowl. The Cardinal for the third straight year punched the Huskies in the mouth and left them without any bite. Back to back years the Cardinal put the Huskies at "rock bottom". Last year the team won four of the next five games after losing 41-0 to the Cardinal. We'll find out a lot about this Huskies team this Saturday night at home against the Arizona Wildcats.