Monday, October 24, 2011
#7 Stanford thrashes #22 Washington 65-21 to remain undefeated!
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.