Saturday, September 29, 2012
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Those who favor it will argue that it was against a top 10 team
Those who oppose will argue it is freaking Stanford.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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 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 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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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 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.
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
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.