Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Huskies embarrassed by #3 LSU Tigers 41-3!
The Washington Huskies(1-1,0-0) failed an early road test once again in the Steve Sarkisian era getting blown out 41-3 to #3 LSU Tigers(2-0,0-0) down in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The Huskies all offseason claimed they were ready to take the next step but reality sunk in as the Tigers destroyed them every facet of the game. This was never a contest as the Huskies failed to score a touchdown. Quarterback Keith Price had his worst game as a Husky and the running game averaged 1.1 YPC as they rushed for only 26 yards after having mostly negative rushing yards all game long. This was a huge step back for a program hoping to take that next step.
On the following series the Huskies offense again went three and out as they failed to record a first down on their first three drives. The Tigers offense would stall around the 50 yard line and this time Wing's punt went in the end zone. On first down Price hit Mickens for a gain of nine yards. On the following play big back Dezden Petty would rush for a yard giving the Huskies their first first down of the game. Which things quickly fell apart for the Huskies who saw Price get sacked on third and five. Durkee would shank the punt for 18 yards giving the Tigers the ball on the Huskies 47 yard line.
On that drive the Tigers ran the ball all seven times with four different tailbacks rushing for 37 yards. That was straight forward smash mouth football something the Huskies couldn't handle in the Nick Holt era and weren't handling now. After the first quarter the Tigers led 14-3 while out-gaining the Huskies 112-18 in total yards with seven first downs to just one for the Huskies. Price was 5-13 passing for only 21 yards. The Tigers had ran the ball 11 times for 65 yards(5.9 YPC) while the Huskies had ran the ball just three times for negative four yards(-1.3 YPC).
For the Tigers Zach Mettenberger was 9-14(64.2%) for 128 yards(9.1 YPA). James Wright was his main target with four receptions for 65 yards. Alfred Blue ran for 55 yards on nine carries including a touchdown as the Tigers dominated the Huskies in the first half. In the second half the Tigers wouldn't let up either.
Starting from their own 20 yard line the Huskies were playing for pride at this point. After a five yard penalty by the Tigers, Price would hit Williams for a gain of eight yards to their own 33 yard line. On third and one, Kevin Smith would commit a false start which is inexcusable for a wide receiver. On third and six from the 30 yard line Price would hit Smith for a gain of 22 yards to the Tigers 48 yard line. Price on the following play would dump it off to Sankey for a gain of 10 yards to the Tigers 38 yard line. Sarkisian would call for two straight running plays which of course went nowhere set up third and seven from the 35 yard line. Price would throw back to back incomplete passes as the Huskies once again stalled.
The ground game was pathetic as Sankey was held to 16 yards rushing on eight carries(2.0 YPC). If not for Erich Wilson rushing for 25 yards in garbage time the Huskies would have had negative rushing yards. Dezden Petty had nine yards rushing on seven carries(1.3 YPC). The Huskies offense was 4-16 on third downs while 1-3 on fourth downs. For a fourth year head coach who specializes in offense this was an unacceptable offensive performance by Sarkisian's offense who looked overmatched on Saturday.
On the ground the Tigers abused the Huskies with a plethora of backs. Alfred Blue had 101 yards rushing on 14 carries(7.2 YPC) with a touchdown. Michael Ford ran for 48 yards on 10 carries(4.8 YPC). Kenny Hilliard ran for 46 yards on 13 carries(3.5 YPC) with two touchdowns. Spencer Ware had 38 yards on eight carries(4.8 YPC) as the Tigers ran the ball 52 times. The Tigers pounded the ball and played great defense two things the Huskies used to be great at. Two things the Huskies were terrible at today.
This was an embarrassing game for Sarkisian and the Huskies as they were once again outclassed on national t.v. showing America they aren't ready for these type of games. Many felt the Huskies didn't have a chance but the hope was the Huskies could compete which they didn't after blowing an early gift. The Tigers out played, out hustled, out coached, and had much more talent than the Huskies. The Tigers turned a big game into a non conference tune up game against a cupcake. The Tigers had more trouble with North Texas the week before than they did the Huskies this week which should tell you a lot about this pathetic performance. For those who watched this game they came away with two conclusions which was 1. The Tigers are going to once again be competing for a national championship and 2. The Huskies once again proved they are pretenders.
Sankey in his first career start had only 16 yards rushing on eight carries(2.0 YPC) with three catches for 30 yards but a big drop on the first series of the game. The rushing game has been terrible this year and with Jesse Callier out for the season it's on Sankey. Sankey for the season now has 30 carries for 82 yards(2.7 YPC) with a touchdown and a fumble. While last season he ran for 187 yards on only 28 carries(6.7 YPC). There are no explosive runs from Sankey like he had last year. It's a different world when teams key in on you vs when Polk wears the opponent down and you come in with fresh legs to pop a big run. If Sankey can't turn it around this year it will be a long year for the Huskies as they'll probably miss a bowl game if that happens.
The Huskies are missing James Johnson badly as teams can double team Williams as Sarkisian's golden recruits in Mickens and Taylor have been awful through two games. For the year Williams has nine receptions for 94 yards(10.4 YPC) with his longest reception being 20 yards. Through the first two drives last week Williams had four receptions for 44 yards with a touchdown. Since then in the last seven quarters just five receptions for 50 yards which won't be getting the job done at all.
For the year Seferian-Jenkins already has 15 receptions for 133 yards(8.9 YPC) as Price obviously has a trust in him since he is the leading returning receiver for the Huskies. What I don't get is why Sarkisian doesn't target this big athlete in the red zone. On the opening drive the Huskies after attempting a wide receiver screen to Williams had a play for Sankey then a corner route to Mickens. They did that last week which bothered me as well as Seferian-Jenkins proved last year with six touchdown receptions he can be a great target in the red zone.
The big completions last year to Seferian-Jenkins so far aren't working this year as they mainly came on play action passes. Hard to have a play action when you can't run the football at all. Seferian-Jenkins though is the only bright spot on an offense that currently ranks 117th in the nation in total offense. He was a big land for Sarkisian in recruiting but unfortunately Sarkisian hasn't landed any big recruits who panned out on the offensive line so the offense is struggling.
The defense forced two punts in the first quarter then didn't force a punt again until the final possession of the game. The Tigers scored three touchdowns on their first three drives in the second half. The Huskies defense looked slow, weak, confused, etc basically like every other Huskies defense in the past decade has looked. Firing the defensive coordinator does no good if your head coach doesn't stress defense or recruit defense.
O'Neal would go on to great success in the NBA playing in six NBA Finals, winning four NBA championships, winning three finals MVP's while winning a regular season MVP. He was a 15-time all-star, three-time all-star game MVP and won the rookie of the year award. He was first-team all-NBA eight times and is a great person to have representing your school.
Last year the worst completion percentage Price had in a game was 53.3% against Arizona. Only once was Price held out of the end zone all last year.
This was the first time in his career that he threw an interception without throwing a touchdown pass. This was only the second time in his career that he threw more interceptions in a game than touchdowns.
At halftime Price was 10-23 ( 43.4%) for only 81 yards (3.5 YPA) as the Huskies trailed 20-3.
For the year Price is 42-71 passing(59.2%) for 379 yards(5.3 YPA) with one touchdown and one interception. Since the first two drives of the San Diego State game him and the offense looks awful this year. The Huskies need Price to be great like he was last year to be a good team as they have way too many holes on their roster that he needs to hide with his great play. Otherwise this isn't a bowl team if Price is simply average.
This is Sarkisian's fourth year which means no more blaming Tyrone Willingham for your short comings. He has already used up his one free fire your assistant coach and keep your job card. The offense was a joke as was his safe play calling. His offense which was his "specialty" hasn't scored a touchdown in seven quarters. Last drought Sarkisian had without a touchdown was eight quarters when the Huskies were shutout second half of a 44-14 loss to #15 Arizona Wildcats, shutout the whole game vs #13 Stanford Cardinal 41-0 then held out of the end zone in the first half vs #1 Oregon Ducks as they trailed 18-6 in a 53-16 loss back in 2010.
The fact he has neglected the offensive line has to be a concern. The Huskies are desperately missing Colin Porter who was forced to retire. The recruiting losses of Zach Banner and Joshua Garnett really hurts right now as the offensive line which is the second most important part of your offense besides quarterback is a giant mess. The Huskies can't protect Keith Price, can't run the ball and can't catch the ball. What was supposed to be a strength looks absolutely terrible through two weeks which should fall on Sarkisian.
This loss was an embarrassment when it could have been a big opportunity for this program. Once again, Sarkisian isn't living up to promises he made in the offseason about "taking the next step". To take the next step you need to beat ranked opponents something UCLA and Arizona did under first year head coaches on Saturday. Something Oregon State also did on Saturday as well giving three Pac-12 teams who appeared to be average all had big wins. Meanwhile besides Colorado who everyone knew would be terrible the two worst looking teams in the conference are once again in the state of Washington. The Cougars have a built in excuse with Mike Leach being in his first year. Sarkisian is in his fourth year and nobody would accepted 20-20 record with a 38 point loss in year four the day he was hired so why are some accepting it now? The Huskies play a Big Sky team this week, then have a bye week before a three week stretch against ranked teams. That three week stretch could be the most important three week stretch of the Steve Sarkisian coaching era. If they Huskies continue to play like they have played the last two weeks we are headed towards an awful year. Hopefully the Huskies can turn it around quickly as I plan on making another bowl trip once again.