Saturday, September 29, 2012

Super Sophs lead Huskies upset over #8 Stanford 17-13

By Kshell

The Washington Huskies(3-1,1-0) upset the #8 Stanford Cardinal(3-1,1-1) 17-13 as the fans rushed the field in excitement at Century Link Field. Last year the Huskies defense allowed 65 points to the Cardinal while this year the Huskies defense held them out of the end zone while allowing only 65 yards rushing. The Huskies were led by a pair of super sophomores in wide receiver Kasen Williams who had a career high 10 receptions for 129 yards with the game winning touchdown. Another sophomore standout was running back Bishop Sankey who ran for a career high 144 yards with a touchdown against the nations #3 rush defense. This was indeed a huge win in the Steve Sarkisian era as the Huskies had been outscored 106-21 the last two years against Stanford.

The game started off slow as the Huskies started the game off by three and outing the Cardinal. The Cardinal would then three and out the Huskies. The Cardinal would begin on their own 38 facing a second and 10 when Josh Nunes would complete a 12 yard pass to Ty Montgomery to the 50 yard line. Facing a third and two from the 42 yard line Nunes would hit his tight end Zach Ertz for a gain of 24 yards. The Huskies defense would then get tough forcing the Cardinal to settle for a Jordan Williamson 31 yard field goal to give the Cardinal a 3-0 lead.

It got worse for the Huskies as they had to begin from their own 11 yard line after a poor kickoff return. Price began the drive by hitting tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins for a gain of seven yards over the middle. On the following play Price would hit Kasen Williams for a gain of six yards as the Huskies began using the hurry up offense. Price would hit Williams again for seven yards. On second and three Price would rush for a gain of 10 yards to their own 41 yard line. Sankey would rush for nine yards to the 50 yard line. With first and 10 from the Cardinal 46 yard line true freshman wide receiver Kendyl Taylor was at running back as he carried twice for four yards. The Huskies would stall on a Williams dropped pass. On the following play was a low snap to new punter Travis Coons(also the field goal kicker), Coons had to pick it up and punt it from his left foot which he downed Stanford on the 14 yard line.

The Huskies defense would three and out the Cardinal offense forcing them to punt as they took over on their own 49 yard line. After two straight incomplete passes by Price he connected on a beautifully thrown ball to Williams for a gain of 36 yards down to the Cardinal 16 yard line. The play would be reviewed as the replay would show Williams got the one foot in bounds. The Huskies offense would stall as Price would get sacked for a loss of nine yards. Travis Coons then would kick a 43 yard field goal which was a career high for him in his young career at Washington to tie the score at 3-3. The Huskies defense would force three straight three and outs on the Cardinal offense after that but unfortunately the Huskies offense kept stalling around midfield.

Stanford would take over on their own 18 with 4:39 left in the half. Stepfan Taylor would begin the drive with a gain of seven yards to the 25 yard line.  Nunes would throw an incomplete pass setting up a third and three. Nunes would make up for it as he burned true freshman Shaq Thompson hitting Ertz for a gain of 35 yards to the Huskies 40 yard line. After a Taylor run of five yards on second down set up a third and five from the 35 yard line. Nunes would complete an 18 yard pass to Levine Toilolo on a jump ball. The ball was poked away but since pass interference was also called on Justin Glenn the missed call only cost the Huskies three extra yards. The next play Nunes went to the end zone but it was incomplete. Taylor would rush for three yards to the Huskies 14 yard line. Facing a third and seven Nunes would hit Taylor but he was stopped well short of the first down. Facing a fourth and three from the 10 yard line the Cardinal decided to kick the field goal. Williamson would drill the 28 yard field goal to give the Cardinal a 6-3 lead at halftime.

The Huskies would start the half going three and out after completing an 11 yard pass to Kendyl Taylor. Travis Coons would have a 50 yard punt with no return as the Cardinal would begin from their own 18 yard line. Nunes would hit Ertz for a gain of 14 yards to the Cardinal 34 yard line. Facing a third and seven from their own 37 the Huskies forced their first turnover. Josh Shirley came in with the sack from behind Nunes and stripped the ball as Andrew Hudson recovered giving the Huskies offense the ball on the Cardinal 35 yard line. Price would throw an incomplete pass, Sankey would rush for two yards setting up a third and eight. Price would throw another incompletion and the Huskies decided to go for it. Price would hit DiAndre Campbell for a gain of three yards which was well short of a first down. The Huskies blew their golden opportunity.

The Cardinal up 6-3 tried to steal momentum away as they drove to the Huskies 47 yard line before the defense once again got tough forcing a punt. The Huskies offense would three and out after a costly penalty by Williams. The Huskies defense would three and out Stanford forcing a punt.

Then two bad breaks went against the Huskies as Marvin Hall returned the 23 yards to their own 47 yard line. It was a bad break because Hall had ran for a touchdown but like he did against Portland State he barely stepped out of bounds. Instead of leading 10-6 the Huskies still trailed 6-3. Then on the following play Price attempting a screen to Taylor was picked off by defensive end Trent Murphy as he read the play perfectly. Murphy then sprint in for a 47 yard interception touchdown return giving the Cardinal a 13-3 with 3:24 left in the quarter. With the way the Huskies offense was playing that appeared to be the dagger in this game.

The Huskies would face a critical offensive series as the crowd started to feel nervous. Starting from their own 19 yard line facing a second and 10 Price would connect with Sankey on a screen for eight yards setting up a third and two from their own 27 yard line. Sankey would rush for three yards getting the first down at the 30 yard line. Price would be sacked for a loss of seven the next play. On second and 17 Price would hit Williams for a gain of six setting up third and 11. Price again would hit Williams for a gain of 10 as Williams ran his route short of the first down. The Huskies were facing a fourth and one from their own 39 yard line. This was the first of two critical decisions by Sarkisian. Sarkisian decided to go for it as time was winding down in the quarter. The Huskies quickly snapped the ball with one second left in the quarter as they handed it to Sankey who got the first down. Then Sankey made the safety miss and was gone for the 61 yard touchdown his longest run of his career. That pulled the Huskies to within 13-10 heading into the fourth quarter.

After a John Timu sack on third down the Cardinal were forced to punt to the Huskies. With nine minutes to go in the game the Huskies would take over from their own 35 yard line. Sankey would start the drive with a gain of three yards. Price would complete a short three yard pass to Jaydon Mickens setting up a third and four from their own 41 yard line. Price would hit Seferian-Jenkins for three and a half yards setting up fourth and one from their own 44 yard line.

Another critical decision by Sarkisan as his defense was playing great and there was still over seven minutes left. Instead Sarkisian went for it and gave the ball to Dezden Petty for his only carry of the game. Petty gained two yards to their own 46 yard line for the first down. Sankey would rush for six yards then rush for five more for another first down to the Cardinal 43 yard line. On second down Price hit Williams on a quick wide receiver screen for a gain of eight yards to the 35 yard line. On third and two Price liked the coverage he saw audible from a run to another quick screen to the right to Williams. Williams got the first down as he stiff armed his man then fumbled the ball in the air slightly around the 20 yard line as he retained it and still was going. Williams then cross the goal line and fumbled after he had crossed the goal line. After the review it showed Williams crossed as he had made his biggest play as a Husky so far in his career as the Huskies finally led 17-13 with 4:53 left in the game.

The Cardinal would take over on their own 34 yard line needing a touchdown as a field goal would do them no good. Nunes would immediately hit Ertz for a gain of 15 yards to the 49 yard line. On second down Nunes hit Ertz again for nine yards to the Huskies 42 yard line setting up a third and one. Nunes would fumble the ball but Ryan Hewitt would pick it up for two yards for the first down. After a five yard penalty Nunes would complete two short passes setting up a fourth and four from the Washington 34 yard line with two minutes left in the game. Nunes would attempt to lob it up to 6'8" Toilolo as he was being covered by Desmond Trufant. Trufant would intercept the pass at the Stanford eight yard line.

The Huskies would still need a first down as the Cardinal had two timeouts. The first run to Sankey went nowhere as Stanford called timeout. Sankey would rush for six yards to their own 14 yard line setting up a third and four as Stanford called their last timeout. Price went up with the hard count and Stanford jumped offsides giving the Huskies five yards which was good enough for a first down. The Huskies simply kneel'd down after that running out the clock as they upset the 8th ranked team in the country and the fans stormed the field.

The Huskies defense was the story in this win as the Cardinal offense who has scored 140 points on the Huskies the last thee years were shut down. The Cardinal were held to 65 yards rushing and 5-18 on third downs. Quarterback Josh Nunes in his first career road start was dreadful. Nunes was 18-37 passing(48.6%) for 170 yards(4.6 YPA) with the game deciding interception. His main target was Zach Ertz who caught six passes for 106 yards. Stepfan Taylor who has killed the Huskies in the past was shut down as he had just 75 yards rushing on 21 carries(3.6 YPC). His longest run of the game was just seven yards. Last year Stanford had 10 runs of 15 yards or more. Stanford only had 235 yards total offense and was held out of the end zone. Thomas Tutogi led the Huskies in tackles with 10, John Timu had six tackles with a sack. Josh Shirley recorded a sack and forced fumble while Desmond Trufant had the game deciding interception.

The Huskies offense had their own struggles but they came through when they had to. Keith Price battled all day as his young offensive line got him battered all game long. Price finished 19-37(51.4%) passing for 177 yards(4.8 YPA) with the game winning touchdown pass and interception. His main target was Kasen Williams who caught 10 passes for 129 yards(12.9 YPC) with a touchdown. Price also connected with Kendyl Taylor who had a catch for 11 yards while rushing for nine yards on four carries. Seferian-Jenkins was held in check with only two catches for 10 yards.  Jaydon Mickens had two receptions for eight yards while DiAndre Campbell had two receptions for 10 yards.

Bishop Sankey would rush for 144 yards on 20 carries(7.2 YPC) with a touchdown. He also had two receptions for nine yards. This was a break out game for Sankey who ran for 64 yards in the first half and ran for 80 yards in the second half. The Huskies had 136 yards rushing on the #3 ranked rushing defense in the nation as Sankey has ran for back to back 100 yard games.

This was a big win for this program as they finally got that big win under their belt. Sarkisian defeated #3 USC 16-13 in his first year but since then was 0-4 against top 10 teams. In fact Sarkisian had lost six straight games to ranked opponents allowing an average of 49.2 points per game and was 1-9 in his last 10 games losing by 28.2 points. The Huskies were hoping to reverse that bad trend which they did as they won this game with defense. The Huskies beat a team who has bullied them the last three seasons as they are hoping this win can show growth in the program. The Huskies played with heart and never gave up which is a sign that perhaps things are looking up. The Huskies won a big game finally on a big national network game which is the biggest selling point this program can make.


- This was the breakout game from Kasen Williams that was long overdue. In his 16th career game at Washington Williams recorded his first career 100 yard game. Williams was the only receiver to have more than 12 yards receiving and more than two receptions as he was the entire passing game against Stanford. Williams finished with a career high 10 receptions for a career high 129 yards receiving with the game winning touchdown.

For the year now Williams has 25 receptions for 292 yards(11.7 YPC) with three touchdowns. Williams made some explosive plays as well with the 36 yard reception setting up a field goal and a 35 yard game winning touchdown. This year Williams is on pace for 75 receptions and 876 yards receiving with nine touchdowns which is pretty good for only a sophomore. Williams came up big as he is so strong and physical he is unstoppable on those quick wide receiver screens.

- Another true sophomore who enjoyed a breakout game was running back Bishop Sankey. The Cardinal defense held the USC Trojans to 26 yards rushing on 24 carries in their upset win. They were the #3 rush defense in the country. Instead Sankey had a career game with 20 carries for 144 yards(7.2 YPC) with a touchdown. He also had two receptions for nine yards. Sankey ran hard all game long and showed his burst of speed on fourth and one when he busted that 61 yard touchdown to give the Huskies momentum.

Sankey on the year now has 329 yards rushing on 64 carries(5.1 YPC) with four touchdowns. He also has six receptions for 39 yards(6.5 YPC). Sankey is on pace for 987 yards rushing with 12 touchdowns this year. He came into the year not as the starter but when Jesse Callier went down he became the starter. In his first career start at LSU he got shut down. Since then he has put up back to back 100 yard plus rushing games as he running with some confidence now. Sankey is making Husky fans glad that he ditched the Washington State Cougars last minute to join the Huskies.

- Senior corner back Desmond Trufant had a huge game for the Huskies. The Tacoma native and younger brother of Marcus Trufant is having an outstanding season. Trufant saved the day with the fourth down interception on a play that he probably gets burned on in years past.

Heading into the year Trufant had a lot of hype primarily due to his last name. Well he is earning that as he is clearly the best corner in the conference. Sarkisian called him the best corner this conference has seen in the last 12 years. Due to Trufant's shutdown play the Huskies defense is allowed to put him on an island out there which means they can blitz more. That also allows the Huskies to cheat against the run because defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox knows Trufant isn't going to get burned. Trufant has came a long ways in his four years at Washington and watching him grow has been terrific!

- Justin Wilcox proved he is worth the money.  Mixed and matched a lot. Had the balls to sit our best front seven player in Josh Shirley on 1st and 2nd downs and played OLB Travis Feeney at Free Safety as well. He was mixing and matching his defense perfectly. Give this guy another year or two and this Defense will be legit I'm sure of it.

He had a bunch of different looks something the Huskies defense hasn't even tried since Jim Lambright was running the defense.  He put safety Sean Parker at corner a lot. Shaq Thompson was all over the field stopping the run in the backfield. Danny Shelton plugged up the middle. It was nice seeing the defense play so well against Stanford who had ran for over 1,000 yards on the ground against the Huskies the last three seasons. The defense won the game by forcing seven three and outs.

- Regards to the storming of the field controversy here is my take.

Those who favor it will argue that it was against a top 10 team

Those who oppose will argue it is freaking Stanford.

Both valid.

The Verdict: Yes for those who are older than 25 it was embarrassing seeing us rush the field vs Stanford. The thing is the students 18-22 years old only know of Stanford as the big bad bully's and UW as well bad. Stanford was a top 10 team and had kicked our ass three years in a row in embarrassing fashion.

So I rule that UW was in the right to storm the field but let's not make a habit of this in the future.

- I felt Travis Coons had a really good game for the Huskies. He nailed a 43 yard field goal to tie up at 3 in the first quarter. Plus he is now the teams punter and had a great game.

Coons punted the ball nine times for a 38.9 average with a long of 53 yards. He had three punts go inside the 20 yard line. Coons showed last week how versatile he can be when he completed that fourth down pass on the fake punt. This week he made a 43 yard field goal, handled the punting duties terrific as the Huskies won the field position battle and he even had a touchback on the kickoff. Coons had a rough first game with the Huskies but since then has made a field goal each week as the Junior is proving the Huskies once again have a reliable kicking game.

- Keith Price once again struggled as for the third straight week he threw for under 200 yards. Price was 19-37 passing for 177 yards with a touchdown and an interception. In the defense of Price he is missing his second and third best wide receivers. He is also missing three starting offensive lineman meaning he has no time in the pocket.

Price did show the intangibles though which is what you look for in a good starting quarterback. On the game winning touchdown pass the play call was a designed run but  Price liked the coverage and called an audible. That is where he quickly got the ball out to his play makers hands as Williams busted the pass into a 35 yard game winning touchdown. Later in the game Price used a hard count to draw the Stanford defender offsides which clinched the win for the Huskies. He also experienced his first fourth quarter comeback of his career.

For the year 75-127 passing(59.1%) for 737 yards(5.8 YPA) with five touchdowns to two interceptions. Those are well below his expectations as a quarterback. Hopefully he can get it going soon and the offensive line can give him some time so he can finally complete longer passers. It would be nice for Price if Kevin Smith also came back to give him another weapon besides Williams and Seferian-Jenkins.

- What a week it has been for Seattle? First the arena news passed meaning we are getting the Sonics back plus NHL. Then the Seahawks won against the Green Bay Packers 14-12 on a miracle hail marry catch by Golden Tate. Then the Huskies completed it by upsetting #8 Stanford Cardinal 17-13 in a game where their offense did nothing for the first 44:50 of the game.

Storming the field was great and I was glad the students did that. Gave me a chance to feel young again as I haven't stormed a field since my high school days back in 2004. After the craziness of storming quickly died down it was nice just walking around on the stadium chatting with my friends. To be able to walk on an NFL stadium where Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers have played on was pretty special.

Being at this game I'll never forget the feeling.  The crowd was dead first half but boy was the atmosphere electric in the second half. My voice is still lost from this game. I was so glad the Huskies pulled this win off and was so happy to see so many Husky fans with pride yet again as we all walked around the field to soak this whole moment in.

- This was a huge win for fourth year head coach Steve Sarkisian. He was fully aware that his program was at a crossroads. He was tense before the game talking to NOBODY not even his coaches was alone. Then A.D. Scott Woodward pulled him aside to chat with him to relax Sarkisian as he smiled.

For Sarkisian this game was won by the defense as the offense didn't do much. However, the two critical calls of the game Sarkisian went aggressive and it paid off. Both touchdown drives were scored when Sarkisian went for it on fourth down in his own territory. Both times on fourth and short Sark trust his running game which heading into the game ranked 104th in the nation against the #3 rush defense which isn't a good recipe. Both times the Huskies converted the first down and scored touchdowns. For Sarkisian who I'm a big critic of he deserves all the credit for those two critical calls which ultimately won the game.

This is the kind of win can change the program for the better. The Huskies sit at 3-1 with two more ranked opponents in the next two weeks. That is why this win was so critical. On paper the Huskies close the season with the two worst teams in the conference although both are on the road. The Huskies are hoping that this is the year they finally take that next step as a program after finishing 7-6 the last two seasons. With wins over top 10 teams that is how you take that next step. With playing good defense which the Huskies have done holding their opponents to 14 points or less in three games this year something they did only once all of last year. The Huskies are starting to develop a running game as well which is how you take the next step. Hopefully this win wasn't the highlight of the season instead it was something much more. Hopefully this win was the start of the turnaround for the program from being average to a good program in this conference. It was a magical night at Century Link Field for the second time in a four day span and I'm happy I was there to witness the game in person.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Huskies hope to end 4 game losing streak vs #8 Stanford

By Kshell

The Washington Huskies(2-1,0-0) are hosting the #8 Stanford Cardinal(3-0,1-0) on a special Thursday night game on ESPN which the Huskies will be wearing the black uniforms. This is a big game for the Huskies as they start conference play in probably the second toughest conference in America. The Huskies will also have some revenge on the mind as the Stanford Cardinal have dominated this series in recent memory winning four in a row including last seasons embarrassing 65-21 loss to then #7 Stanford as the Huskies were ranked #22 going into that game. The Huskies were 5-1 heading into that game and that loss started a trend where the Huskies lost five of their last seven games of the season.

If the Huskies are to pull off the upset they will need a big game from Keith Price. Price this year is 56-90(62.2%) passing for 560 yards(6.2 YPA) with four touchdowns to one interception. He has had to deal with a injured offensive line and injuries to his receivers as well. Basically Price has had to overcome a lot in his junior season. Last year in the loss to the Cardinal Price was 23-36(63.9%) passing for 247 yards(6.9 YPA) with a touchdown and a costly interception that was ran back for a touchdown. Price was able to move the ball on the Cardinal last year just couldn't finish off drives. Hopefully this year Price can finish off the drives as he is 8-1 at home in his Husky career and the Huskies do tend to play a lot better at home compared to on the road.

The Huskies offense despite the injuries still feature plenty of talent headlined by super sophomore tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins and wide receiver Kasen Williams. The Huskies also start true sophomore running back Bishop Sankey as well.

First I'll start by talking about the talented tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins who has 20 receptions this year for 211 yards(10.6 YPC) with a touchdown. In the loss to Stanford last year Seferian-Jenkins had five receptions for 77 yards. Seferian-Jenkins is a match up nightmare for every opponent he faces this year.

Then at receiver you have Kasen Williams who this year has 15 receptions for 163 yards(10.9 YPC) with two touchdowns. Williams has had two good games and one stinker at LSU. Williams is a touchdown machine though have caught eight in 15 career games so far. The receiver opposite of Williams will be junior Kevin Smith  who in two games this year has six receptions for 68 yards(11.3 YPC). The Huskies will need another receiver to step up whether that be Jaydon Mickens, DiAndre Campbell, Kendyl Taylor or Marvin Hall. One of those four guys needs to develop into that consistent number three option.

For the running game the Huskies will turn to Bishop Sankey. Sankey on the year has ran for 185 yards(4.2 YPC) with three touchdowns. Last year in the loss to Stanford Sankey ran for 31 yards on five carries(6.2 YPC). Backing up Sankey is Erich Wilson who has ran for 119 yards(5.7 YPC) and has the longest run of the season so far which was 31 yards. Last year despite the loss Chris Polk busted two long runs against the Cardinal as he ran for 144 yards with two touchdowns. The Huskies must have some sort of run game to overcome this Stanford defense which has been pretty good this year.

The Stanford defense currently ranks 3rd in the nation against the run. They held the then #2 USC Trojans to 26 yards rushing on 24 carries as they flat out dominated the Trojans. This year the Cardinal have yet to allow 20 points in their three games as they are allowing only 14.7 points per game.

This defense creates pressure which leads to turnovers as they have already forced six interceptions this season. They are led by Ed Reynolds who already has three interceptions for 144 yards including a touchdown. The Cardinal defense have also shut down the Huskies in the Sarkisian era holding the Huskies to 14 points, then shutting them out at home in 2010 and last year the Huskies only scored 21 points against this defense. The Huskies must find a way to score on this defense as the Cardinal offense has also had their way with the Huskies in recent years.

The Cardinal offense is led by Stepfan Taylor who this year has ran for 338 yards(5.0 YPC) with three touchdowns. He also has 10 receptions for 89 yards with a touchdown. Taylor has also destroyed the Huskies in the past as well. Taylor as a freshman ran for a touchdown against the Huskies then started to do damage on them in 2010 and 2011. In 2010 Taylor ran for 102 yards on 20 carries(5.1 YPC) with two touchdowns. Then last year Taylor ran for 138 yards on only 10 carries(13.8 YPC) with a touchdown. The offense runs through Taylor as the Cardinal have pounded the ball on the Huskies the last four years.

The Cardinal will have a new quarterback in this series as Andrew Luck defeated the Huskies the last three years. This year the quarterback is Josh Nunes who will be making his first career start on the road. This year Nunes is 47-88(53.4%) passing for 615 yards(7.0 YPA) with six touchdowns and three interceptions. His leading target is tight end Zach Ertz who has nine receptions for 146 yards(16.2 YPC) with a touchdown. The Cardinal will try to establish the run game and work the play action passes against this new Huskies defense led by new coordinator Justin Wilcox.

The Huskies defense this year has played well in two games and terrible in the other game. The defense has been killed by the Cardinal the last three years in the Sarkisian era allowing 34 points, 41 points and last year giving up 65 points. This defense does have some talent led by senior corner back Desmond Trufant who has played really well this year. They also have super talented true freshman Shaq Thompson who is all over the field and he could see some action at running back.

The Huskies defense in the past especially against ranked opponents have been blown out. The defense has allowed 298 points in their last six meetings against ranked opponents all of which are losses. That is an average of 49.7 points per game which is completely unacceptable. For the Huskies to take the next step they must start showing they can compete in these type of games.

This is a huge game in the Steve Sarkisian era as his tenure appears to be at a cross roads. A win tomorrow proves the Huskies are indeed moving in the right direction as a program. While another blowout loss with #2 Oregon and #13 USC looming could start getting some uncomfortable talk surrounding Sarkisian. Starting with this embarrassing 41-0 loss to Stanford in 2010 the Huskies are 1-9 in their last 10 games against ranked opponents losing by an average of 28.2 points. The Huskies have lost six games in a row to ranked opponents all of which were by double figures. In three games against Stanford the Huskies have lost 34-14, 41-0, and 65-21 last year. Sarkisian is in his fourth year and this is a huge game for him. The 41-3 loss to #4 LSU Tigers was a bad start to showcase how this program has made "progress". Hopefully tomorrow Sarkisian can start pulling off these upsets like he did his first year and a half on the job.

This is a big game for the Huskies program on a special Thursday night game on ESPN. This is a chance for this program to finally show they are ready for big time wins on big network games. This is a chance for Sarkisian to finally silence his critics with a win over a good top 10 opponent who is very beatable. The Huskies have the talent to beat the Cardinal and they are at home. Plus in the past when facing a quarterback making his first career road start that used to always mean a Huskies win. The Huskies program has a great opportunity tomorrow to show they are ready to compete with the top tier teams in the conference. Should be a fun atmosphere which I'll be there in person to witness. The Huskies are hoping this year against the Cardinal it's a different story unlike the last four years. We'll know a lot more about the Sarkisian tenure at Washington after tomorrow that is for sure.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Observations from Seahawks wild 14-12 win over Packers

By Kshell

The Seattle Seahawks defeated the Green Bay Packers 14-12 on one of the more wild finishes in Monday Night Football history. We've all seen the catch by Golden Tate by now and I'll get into that play specifically in a moment as he hauled in the 24 yard game winning touchdown pass from rookie Russell Wilson. The shame in this controversy is so much of this game has already been forgotten which is what I'll be going over. The Seahawks more importantly are now 2-1 on the season and 18-8 all-time on Monday Night Football while being 14-5 all-time at home. This was a huge home win for Pete Carroll who has built this Seahawks defense into an elite defense. So in this upcoming post I'll just go over some observations of the game.

-  After looking at the replay of the final play it had appeared that the Packers M.D. Jennings had intercepted the pass. It was also obvious Golden Tate had committed an offensive pass interference.

Now I'll say this I think if the real refs had done this game the same call would have been made. It was in live action and it had appeared that Tate had caught it simultaneously with Jennings. The rule states that the offensive guy is rewarded the catch and that can't be reviewed. I also don't think the real refs would dare call an offensive pass interference as they  never call pass interference on Hail Marry plays either. I think this was a lot tougher call than people want to admit. I also believe had the Packers won this way there would be 1/10th the outrage. Nobody seemed to care after the Super Bowl XL loss or Vinny Testaverde scoring that phantom touchdown to beat the Seahawks in 1998.

-  It was a nice coming out party for the most scrutinized pick in the 2012 draft Bruce Irvin. Irvin as most of you know many said the Seahawks wasted a first round pick on. Well in this game he got after Aaron Rodgers quite a bit recording two sacks which gives him 2.5 for the year.

Irvin was brought in to create pressure on the quarterback and so far this year he has done just that. I also liked his flare for the moment as he did the "discount double check " dance after his first sack. I think Mel Kiper Jr did the Seahawks a favor as well by famously doubting the Irvin pick. Reading Irvin's twitter you can tell that fuels him which is nice.

Irvin is that pass rusher that Aaron Curry was supposed to be for the Seahawks. The Seahawks haven't had a pass rusher like him since Julian Peterson when they led the NFL in sacks back in 2007. Watching Irvin grow in this defense is going to be fun to watch for years to come.

- Chris Clemons was another great pick up by the Seahawks in the Carroll regime. He has recorded 11 sacks the last two seasons and recorded four on Aaron Rodgers in the first half alone. Clemons tied a Seahawks record for most sacks in a game with four other guys with four sacks.

For the year now Clemons has five sacks and with the addition of Irvin he can get even more sacks. The last two years he has been the only primary pass rusher for the Seahawks. With Irvin now in the fold Clemons will have help creating sacks which makes an already top 10 defense even more scary. This defense really doesn't have a weakness on their roster which is headlined by the pass rush of Clemons and Irvin as they sacked a hard quarterback in Aaron Rodgers eight times in the first half.

- Switching to the offense I felt Marshawn Lynch ran hard once again especially in the first half. Lynch finished with 98 yards rushing on 25 carries(3.9 YPC) as he ran for the tough yards. It was a grind for Lynch whose longest run was only for nine yards but he was consistently getting yards against those eight man fronts.

Lynch on 4th and two got the key first down which could have set the Seahawks up for the win. Lynch this year unlike Shaun Alexander is running well despite his contract. This season Lynch has ran for 305 yards(4.2 YPC) with one touchdown. Lynch has been steady for the Seahawks which they need him to be since they have a rookie quarterback. Lynch is the face of the franchise on offense and is the leader this offensive unit desperately needs. This was yet another great personal move by the Carroll/Schneider regime in acquiring Lynch.

- The passing game once against struggled which isn't all rookie Russell Wilson's fault. Wilson was 10-21 passing for 130 yards with two touchdowns but more importantly zero interceptions. Wilson also rushed for 18 yards.

Wilson did earn his first career 4th quarter comeback as well. For the year Wilson is 43-75(57.3%) for 434 yards(5.8 YPA) with four touchdowns to one interception with 66 yards rushing. The passing game must do more going forward but the key is Wilson isn't losing the game. Wilson was throwing the ball away constantly and gave up only one sack. For the second straight week and for the 10th straight quarter he didn't turn the ball over either. Wilson will eventually have to do more but for now he is growing in this offense which is exactly what Carroll wants.

- This was a breakout game for Golden Tate who finished with three receptions for 68 yards with two touchdowns. Tate who had the breakout game and last week had the monster block on Sean Lee is proving to be a football player.

Tate had a weird game as well. He showed his big play ability with that 41 yard touchdown reception in the second quarter on a beautifully thrown play action pass by Wilson. Then he appeared to be the goat as the Seahawks were facing a 4th and 3 from the seven yard line. Wilson threw a great fade to Sidney Rice only for Tate to be in the wrong spot and jump in front of the pass only to drop the ball which many thought lost the game. Only Tate would make up for it as Wilson would lob up the hail marry despite being three Packers defenders Tate went up and wrestled the ball to at least make the officials make a judgement call. They ruled it a touchdown and for Tate who was a second round pick in 2010 this was easily his biggest moment as a Seahawks wide receiver.

- Lost in all this madness was the Seahawks defense holding Tony Romo to seven points last week and Aaron Rodgers to 12 points this week(their only touchdown was bs but the national networks won't bring that up). The Seahawks defense currently ranks 4th in the NFL in yardage, 2nd against the run and 1st in the NFL in points allowed.

They shut the mighty Packers offense out in the first half as they recorded eight sacks. Then after the failed red zone play the Seahawks offense late in the game the Packers took over from their own 7 yard line with the Seahawks having just two timeouts. One first down and the game is over. The Seahawks forced a fumble on the first play but the Packers recovered it. The Seahawks defense forced the three and out to allow the crazy play to happen. This defense has been terrific this year. Clemons had four sacks, Brandon Mebane had two and Irvin had two sacks. The defensive secondary was incredible holding Rodgers out of the end zone and to only 223 yards passing on 39 pass attempts.

Carroll has built this defense as every player on that starting except for Leroy Hill and Red Bryant(who he moved to defensive end) were acquired by the Carroll/Schneider combo. They deserve all the credit for this terrific defense which looks to be the best in the NFL. It's a shame that call is overlooking the great job this defense had done.

- Great win for Pete Carroll in his third year as Seahawks head coach. Carroll now improves to 16-19 as Seahawks head coach but remember the team was 9-23 the previous two seasons he took over. He has built this defense from 25th in the NFL in points allowed three years in a row from 2008-2010 to 7th last year to 1st so far this year.

This Seahawks first half of the schedule is tough but they are 2-1 as they head on the road for four of the next five games. I like the direction that Carroll has this franchise going in. The defense is the best defense the Seahawks have had in over a decade probably back to 1997. This defense has no weaknesses and that reflects Carroll who has hit so many home runs as team president so far with the Seahawks. From the Lynch trade, to drafting Chancellor and Thomas, to acquiring Browner and Clemons when nobody thought much of them this franchise is going places.

This game will be remembered for all the wrong reasons. Nobody will remember the blown calls both ways or that the Seahawks defense proved they are an elite defense by shutting down one of the better offenses in football. This game will be remembered on the final play of the game which is a shame as the Seahawks really played well on the national big stage. No credit will be given to the Seahawks though as the national narrative is Seattle "stole" this game which is fine. The Seahawks are 2-1 which they needed since the Arizona Cardinals are 3-0 and the San Francisco 49ers are 2-1. This was a huge win for the Seahawks and a lot happened in the first 59:52 of the game but unfortunately all anyone will remember is the final eight seconds.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Seahawks get ready for Monday Night

By Kshell

The Seattle Seahawks(1-1) will be hosting the Green Bay Packers(1-1) on Monday Night Football for the first time since 2006 when the defending NFC Champions Seahawks rallied to defeat the Packers 34-24 in a snowy Qwest Field. The Seahawks are riding a five game winning streak on Monday Night including four straight home wins on Monday Night. The Seahawks have the best Monday Night record in NFL history at 17-8(.680). The Seahawks have enjoyed great success in the Monday Night era over the years. The Seahawks last loss on Monday Night was a 43-39 heartbreaker to the Dallas Cowboys back in 2004. That loss was the third straight Monday night loss for the Seahawks which was snapped the following year.

In 2005 the Seahawks were playing a late Monday Night game against the defending NFC Champions Philadelphia Eagles. The Seahawks destroyed the Eagles in that game 42-0 as they led 35-0 which sparked the five game winning streak. That also sparked a streak where the Seahawks would shut their opponents out in three of the next four Monday Night games.

In the Matt Hasselbeck era the Seahawks were 3-1 on Monday Night. He lost his first start to Dallas despite completing 28-40(70.0%) of his passes for 414 yards(10.4 YPA) with three touchdowns and no interceptions while rushing for 16 yards. In his four career Monday Night starts with the Seahawks Hasselbeck was 80-131(61.0%) for 947 yards(7.2 YPA) with 9 touchdowns to 4 interceptions. He also ran for 44 yards as well. Hasselbeck also played well under the lights in Seattle.

Another player who seemed to shine well in big games was Shaun Alexander. He did most of his damage on Sunday Night but on Monday Night he still had good games. Coming off the bench in a loss to the Kansas Chiefs back in 2000 as a rookie he ran for 74 yards on only 11 carries(6.7 YPC) with a touchdown while catching two passes for 13 yards. Alexander played in five Monday Night Games for the Seahawks where he ran for 503 yards on 116 carries(4.3 YPC) with six touchdowns while catching nine passes for 59 yards. His biggest game was the last Monday Night game he played in against the Green Bay Packers in the snow game where he ran for 201 yards on a career high 40 carries(5.0 YPC). The Seahawks have a new running back now who thrives in big games.

Last year in the Seahawks 30-13 blowout win over the St.Louis Rams on Monday Night Football they were led by pro bowl running back Marshawn Lynch who ran for 115 yards on 23 carries(5.0 YPC) with a touchdown while catching two passes for eight yards. He also attempted two halfback passes but both were incomplete. For the Seahawks to continue their win streak on Monday Night they must feature Lynch who has ran for 207 yards on 47 carries(4.4 YPC) with a touchdown this season. Lynch has ran for over 100 yards in six straight home games. During that stretch he has ran for 712 yards(118.7 per game) including 122 last week. He has also rushed for six touchdowns during that stretch while catching another touchdown. Lynch has been terrific for the Seahawks and if he can run effectively while keeping the powerful Packers offense off the field even better.

Tonight will be a special night in Seattle as every Monday Night game is. The Seahawks as a franchise always get up for Monday Night as they have won five in a row including four at home. As a franchise they are 17-8(.680) on Monday Night and 13-5(.722) at home on Monday Night which is also the best in NFL history. Besides Monday Night this is a big game for the Seahawks as they play four of the five next games on the road which for a franchise who typically struggles on the road this is a key win. The crowd will be pumped up which is always a good sign for the Seahawks who always play well on Monday Night!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Huskies use historic 2nd quarter to blowout Vikings 52-13

By Kshell

The Washington Huskies(2-1) got back on the winning track in blowing out FCS Portland State Vikings(1-2) 52-13. In a game which saw the Huskies score a school record 31 points in the second quarter as they led 45-0 at halftime before Steve Sarkisian pulled many starters after leading 52-0. Keith Price looked back to form as he threw three first half touchdowns while birthday boy Bishop Sankey had his first career 100 yard rushing performance while rushing for two touchdowns. The Huskies scored on all three phases of the game with their offense, defense and special teams. This was a good win for the Huskies as they now will face five straight ranked opponents.

The game started off with the Vikings attempting an onside kick which they jumped offsides on. So the Huskies took over on the Portland State 46 yard line. After a defensive holding penalty the Huskies had the ball on the 36 yard line as the Vikings handed them great field position. In trying to get the run game going Sankey ripped off a nice nine yard run on a draw play to the Vikings 27 yard line. Following play Price hit Austin Seferian-Jenkins for a 12 yard gain to the Vikings 15 yard line. After an incomplete pass by Price the Huskies again turned to the run game as Sankey ran it in from 15 yards out to give the Huskies the early 7-0 lead. Sankey last week against the LSU Tigers had only 16 yards rushing already had 24 yards rushing on that first series.

The Huskies defense three and outed the Vikings offense then forced a punt from their own 10 yard line. Marvin Hall returned it 20 yards to the Vikings 35 yard line. Price would immediately hit Kasen Williams for a gain of 15 yards down to the Vikings 20 yard line. On the following play Price would throw a beautiful pass to sophomore wide receiver DiAndre Campbell for the touchdown from 20 yards out. For Campbell that was his first career touchdown with the Huskies. For Price he looked like he did much of last season as he started off three for four passing for 47 yards with the touchdown. The Huskies led 14-0 over the Vikings as their offense had yet to face a third down as their offense was in sync. The Vikings would drive to the Huskies 41 yard line on the following play before Prince Fuimaono tackled D.J. Adams for a loss of five on fourth and one.

After the Huskies finally stalled on a drive the Vikings drove down the Huskies 36 before once again on 4th and two the Huskies defense came up with a stop. From the Huskies 35 yard line Price began the drive hitting Campbell for an eight yard pass. Erich Wilson ran for three yards to pick up the first down. Price hit Seferian-Jenkins on a bootleg for a gain of four yards. After a false start, Wilson ran for three yards setting up a third and eight from their own 48 yard line. Sankey on a draw play didn't read the hole and gained only four yards to make it fourth and four from the Portland State 48 yard yard line. Sarkisian was visibly upset at this point thought about going for it on fourth down instead he sent out his punt team. Instead of usual punter Korey Durkee who wears #46 he sent out his field goal kicker Travis Coons who also wears #46. Coons did a fake punt as he hit a wide open Sean Parker for a gain of 16 yards to the Vikings 32 yard line as the quarter ended with the Huskies leading 14-0.

This is when Kasen Williams took over the rest of the drive as he had been held to one catch for 15 yards in the first quarter. On second and nine from the 31 yard line Price hit Williams on a wide receiver screen for 13 yards down to the Vikings 18 yard line. On the following play again Price hit Williams on a wide receiver screen as Williams carried his defender down for a gain of eight yards down to the 10 yard line. Price hit Williams again for the third straight play and once again to the left side for a gain of five yards down to the Vikings five yard line setting up a first and goal situation. After a Sankey run of two yards to the three yard line Sarkisian decided to not mess around. Price lobbed a three yard fade pass to a wide open Williams on the right side this time for a touchdown to give the Huskies a 21-0 lead.

For the Huskies that drive they ended up going 65 yards on 12 plays eating up over 6:44 in clock.  Williams on that drive had four receptions for 29 yards including the touchdown. While Price was six for six passing for 41 yards including the touchdown. Price after four drives was 10-12 passing for 88 yards with two touchdowns showing he was back to his old form of last season.

The Vikings trailing 21-0 tried to make it a game. Facing a third and 11 from their own 34 yard line Vikings quarterback Keiran McDonagh burned Tre Watson badly as he connected with his favorite target Justin Monahan for 44 yards. On the play Watson committed the pass interference while Monahan still hung on as the Vikings had the ball on the Huskies 22 yard line. McDonagh ran the next play for six yards to the Huskies 16 yard line. Then texted Watson again but both passes were incomplete. Nigel Burton after being stuffed twice on fourth and short elected to kick the 33 yard field goal. Freshman sensation Shaq Thompson came in and blocked the field goal as cornerback Watson who had been picked on scooped it up and ran it in from 79 yards out to give the Huskies a commanding 28-0 lead. For Watson the former walk-on and transfer from Central Washington University scoring a touchdown in his third career game at Washington is something you'd make a movie out of.

The Huskies took over from their own 30 yard line as their offense continued to click. Sankey ran for three yards then six yards setting up a third and one from the 39 yard line. Seferian-Jenkins would have a costly false start backing the Huskies up to make it third and six. He would make up for it though on the next play as Price hit Seferian-Jenkins on a fade route as Seferian-Jenkins made the catch and ran for 40 yards to the Vikings 26 yard line. On second and 10 Dezden Petty would rush for three yards as the Vikings had a face mask to bring him down. Huskies would have the ball on the 11 yard line. Huskies went empty but Petty jumped false start making it first and 15 from the 16 yard line. That is when Price lobbed the ball up there in the end zone to let his big tight end make a play. Seferian-Jenkins hauled in his first touchdown reception of the season from 16 yards out giving the Huskies a 35-0 lead over the the Vikings.

After the kickoff the Vikings began from their own 21 yard line. Facing pressure McDonagh wildly threw a pass towards the right sideline as corner back Marcus Peters jumped the route for the easy interception return for the touchdown giving the Huskies a 42-0 lead. On the following drive the Vikings miscues continued as they attempted a 35 yard field goal only to have a poor snap as the Huskies recovered the ball on their own 26 yard line. Highlighted by a 31 yard by Wilson where he started off right to his left then cut all the way back up field down to the Vikings 40 yard line. Price would hit Evan Hudson for a gain of six yards to set up third and six from the 36 yard line. Sankey would rush for seven yards then six more to the 23 yard line. The Huskies would settle for a Travis Coons 41 yard field goal to give the Huskies a 45-0 lead at halftime.

At halftime the Huskies led 45-0 led by Price. Price was 12-17(70.5%) passing for 149 yards(8.7 YPA) with three touchdowns. His main targets were tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins who had four receptions for 72 yards with a touchdown. He also hit Kasen Williams five times for 44 yards with a touchdown. Then DiAndre Campbell got into the action with two receptions for 28 yards with a touchdown.

The rushing game was a lot better this week as well as Bishop Sankey ran for 52 yards on eight carries(6.5 YPC) with a touchdown. Erich Wilson had 50 yards rushing on five carries(10.0 YPC) in the first half. The Huskies had outgained the Vikings 260-137 in yards, 14-6 in first downs. The Huskies held the Vikings to two for eight on third downs and 0 for 2 on fourth downs. The Vikings were led by quarterback Keiran Mcdonagh who was 9-17 passing for 68 yards with an interception. He also had 57 yards rushing on eight attempts.

After getting chewed out in front of the whole stadium by Sarkisian the Huskies came out hungry in the second half to not have a let down. On defense they forced a three and out as their offense took over on the 21 yard line. Sankey began the drive with a gain of three yard, Price would hit Seferian-Jenkins for a gain of six yards setting up a third and one. Petty rushed up the middle for a gain of eight yards to their own 38 yard line. Sankey ran for six yards to the 44 yard line. On the following play Sankey would rush for 21 yards to the Vikings 35 yard line. After a rush of no gain Price would hit Williams for a 25 yard gain down to the 10 yard line. Sankey would rush for four yards making it second and goal from the six. On the following play Sankey would rush it in for a six yard touchdown and his second touchdown of the day as the Huskies led 52-0.

That is when Sarkisian decided to pull his starters as Price, Seferian-Jenkins and Williams wouldn't play anymore. Sankey would stay in long enough to rush for his first career 100 yard performance before being pulled. The Huskies would allow two late touchdowns before winning 52-13. It was a dominant performance by the Huskies who desperately needed this win as they face four straight ranked opponents.

For the Vikings this was a tough loss as they were obviously over matched facing a Pac-12 school who has reached back to back bowl games. Add in the fact the Huskies were embarrassed last week you knew the Huskies were going to take it out on them.

They were led by true freshman quarterback Keiran McDonagh who was 18-32(56.3%) passing for 178 yards(5.6 YPA) with a touchdown and two interceptions. He also led the team in rushing with 61 yards on 10 carries(6.1 YPC) with a rushing touchdown. Running back D.J. Adams was shut down as he was held to just 20 yards rushing on 9 carries(2.2 YPC).  McDonagh main receiver was Nevin Lewis who had three receptions for 83 yards including a 70 yard touchdown to avoid the shutout. Justin Monahan had three receptions for 53 yards in the loss. The Vikings under third year head coach Nigel Burton do appear to have a bright future as McDonagh is a true freshman after leading Skyview high school to the state title game last year.

For the Huskies they did what they had to do which was take care of business. Led by their junior quarterback Keith Price who reminded fans why he is still an elite quarterback. Price was 14-19(73.7%) passing for 181 yards(9.5 YPA) with three touchdowns and zero interceptions. His main weapons were once again tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins who caught five passes for 78 yards(15.6 YPC) with a touchdown. He found Kasen Williams six times for 69 yards(11.5 YPC) with a touchdown. DiAndre Campbell finally getting some action at receiver caught two passes for 28 yards with a touchdown. Marvin Hall caught a pass for 16 yards playing in his first career game. Michael Hartvigson caught a pass for seven yards while tight end Evan Hudson caught a pass for six yards.

The Huskies running game had a productive day rushing for 209 yards. They were led by the birthday boy Bishop Sankey who rushed for a career high 103 yards on 14 carries(7.4 YPC) with a career high two rushing touchdowns. Erich Wilson ran for 72 yards on 15 carries(4.8 YPC) while Dezden Petty ran for 54 yards on 16 carries(3.4 YPC). The Huskies for the first time this year saw their passing game working and their running game working. They are going to need it as they start conference play on Thursday September 27th against #9 Stanford Cardinal.

This was a productive win for the Huskies but no questions were answered. Hard to judge if the Huskies offense was clicking or if they were taking advantage of a team who was overmatched. We'll find out pretty soon just how good this Huskies team is in Steve Sarkisian's fourth year in the program. The Huskies for the second straight year are 2-1 heading into conference play with this new "A, B, C" schedule they are adopting like every other program. This was a good bounce back win for the Huskies but in a few weeks we'll find out if progress has been made or not.


-  Tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins is shaping up to have an all-american season this year. He still must avoid those mental lapses as he had a costly holding penalty and two false starts.  He still had another productive game as he had five receptions for 78 yards and his first touchdown of the season which puts him three away from first place in school history for tight ends.

For the year Seferian-Jenkins has 20 receptions for 211 yards(10.6 YPC) with a touchdown. That puts him on pace for 80 receptions for 844 yards with four touchdowns which is incredble numbers. He'll surely be a first round pick when he is first eligible after the 2013 season. The Huskies haven't had a tight end like this since their last tighe end who was a first round pick Jerramy Stevens. Given than Seferian-Jenkins isn't in the police blotter all the time I'd say he'll have a much more productive career than Stevens did.

- The other five-star recruit in the class of 2011 was wide receiver Kasen Williams who had a good bounce back game. Williams caught six passes for 69 yards and one drive he took the game over with four receptions all in a row.

For the year Williams has 15 receptions for 163 yards(10.9 YPC) with two touchdowns. That put him on pace for 60 receptions for 652 yards with eight touchdowns which for a true sophomore year is pretty good. I think his receiving yards will be higher though as he'll need to step up for the Huskies passing attack to continue to progress. Williams is physical and is terrific on those wide receiver screens. Hopefully in Pac-12 play we see more Williams over the middle on deep post routes.

- Another five-star recruit who had a big game was true freshman Shaq Thompson who is such a good athlete that he started at outside linebacker this game. Thompson led the team with seven tackles while having two for loss. He also blocked a field goal which led to Tre Watson scoring a touchdown. Thompson is already making a big impact on defense as he plays like a veteran already. When Thompson starts to play his natural position at safety next year where he is allowed to roam around and make plays it could be fun to watch. Still Sarkisian it appears has hit home runs on all three of his five star recruits which is huge since the Huskies had previously been 0 for 5.

- When big schools play the smaller schools due to scholarship limits the biggest edge is special teams. The Huskies special teams was terrific as Travis Coons was perfect on all seven PAT's and hit a 41 yard field goal. He also completed a fake punt pass to safety Sean Parker for a gain of 16 yards.

The Huskies also blocked a field goal for a touchdown, then blocked an extra point later in the game. Marvin Hall had a 20 yard punt return and also a 37 yard kickoff return that many thought he was going to score a touchdown but he stepped out of bounds. Special teams this year has been good for the Huskies. Remember their only points against LSU was due to the kickoff team forcing a fumble.

- Bishop Sankey who turned 20 on gameday had his best game as a Husky. Sankey who struggled the previous six quarters badly needed a game like this. Sankey finished with 103 yards rushing on 14 carries with two touchdowns. He showed good speed with a 21 yard run and also was finishing runs which was nice to see.

On the year Sankey has rushed for 185 yards on 44 carries(4.2 YPC) with three touchdowns. I imagine Sankey will get more rushing yards as the year goes on. Remember he was supposed to share the backfield with Callier and now all of the sudden he is the main man carrying the rock. Sankey has shown flashes of becoming a special running back for the Huskies. He just needs to hit the hole hard and finish his runs better.

- This was a good game for Sarkisian to feature his backup running backs to see who can spell Sankey some carries. Wilson carried the ball 15 times for 72 yards while Dezden Petty carried the ball 16 times for 54 yards. Petty is a power back who should be used primarily on short yardage situations as he runs hard.

I like Wilson a lot though all three games he ran well and has shown good speed evidence by his 31 yard run against Portland State. On the year he has rushed for 119 yards on 21 carries(5.7 YPC). I think Sarkisian must find a way to get this speedster the ball four to five times a game at least as he has ran well in all three games.

- This wasn't the type of homecoming that Nigel Burton wanted when he returned to coach against his former school for the first time as a head coach. Burton took some major risks early by attempting an onside kick that didn't work out and going for it on fourth down twice which neither worked as well. I respect Burton trying to win this game and not being afraid to get blown out.

Burton led the Vikings to their first winning season last year since 2006. He has a true freshman at quarterback who appears to be the real deal. His quarterback will probably dominate the Big Sky for the next couple of years. Burton is trying to make a name for himself like every coach in the Big Sky tries to do. Although Burton is in a beautiful city in Portland and I've always felt Portland State is a sleeping giant in the Big Sky since they are easily the biggest market in that conference.

- For those doubting Price need to stop. He had one bad game which looked worse by the fact his receivers couldn't hang onto the ball. Today Price looked like his old self in completing 14-19 passes for 181 yards with three touchdowns. Price was pulled after the first series in the second half as he was poised to have a big day. Price was accurate on his throws and finding his main two targets as well.

For the year now Price is 56-90(62.2%) passing for 560 yards(6.2 YPA) with four touchdowns and one interception. Not bad for a guy who is "struggling". Price is on pace to throw for 2,240 yards with 16 touchdowns to 4 interceptions. I'm sure all those numbers will go up for Price who still looks pretty good this year.

- Steve Sarkisian now improves to 21-20 as head coach. Unlike the Eastern Washington game last year Sarkisian didn't take this game lightly pulling off fake punts and ripping his team a new ass in front of the whole stadium right before halftime with his team up 45-0.

I think Sarkisian is a smart enough guy to realize the big picture which faces him ahead. The Huskies are slated to host #9 Stanford, travel to #3 Oregon, host #13 USC and travel to #22 Arizona in the next four weeks. These will be the make or break four week stretch for Sarkisian. If he can somehow survive that stretch by going 2-2 which would put the Huskies at 4-3 then they are poised to finish the year strong which would be progress heading into next season. If the Huskies were to fall to 2-5 look for the fire Sark momentum to pick up. Sarkisian talks a good game we are about to find out if he can coach a good game where he is 1-9 vs ranked opponents in his last 10 contests.

This was a good tune up game for the Huskies as they head into a bye week. After that the toughest four game stretch of the Sarkisian era for him as a coach. The Huskies can't afford to stumble during that stretch and must keep up the good momentum that they earned in this game. The running game must be a factor and not just a one game performance against a weak performance. Price must continue to play lights out like he did in the first half against San Diego State and Portland State. The Huskies defense must continue to make plays as they have scored defensive touchdowns in both their wins over San Diego State and Portland State. Overall this was a good win but it was hard to truly judge due to the opponent. The Huskies are about to find out what kind of team they are in the next four weeks.