Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Huskies embarrassed by #3 LSU Tigers 41-3!

By Kshell

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 opening kickoff the Huskies received a break as the Tigers fumbled on their own 20 which was forced by Taz Stevenson and recovered by Thomas Tutogi. On the first play the Price hit Kasen Williams on a wide receiver screen for a gain of four yards to the Tigers 16 yard line. That is where the positives for the Huskies would end. On the following play Price would hit a wide open Bishop Sankey over the middle but Sankey dropped the pass. Facing a third and six from the 16 Price would hit freshman Jaydon Mickens in the corner for what appeared to be a touchdown. Instead Mickens had bobbled the pass and was correctly ruled an incomplete pass. The Huskies would have to settle for a Travis Coons 34 yard field goal attempt which he made as the Huskies would lead 3-0 which should have been 7-0.

After the Huskies led 3-0 the battle of field position took place. The Huskies three and outed the Tigers but Tigers punter Brad Wing had a 62 yard punt pinning the Huskies on their own four yard line. The Huskies would go three and out as Korey Durkee had a 32 yard to the Huskies 38 yard line. Quarterback Zach Mettenberger would complete a pass to a wide open James Wright on a slant for 17 yards to the 21 yard line. Then on the following play which reminded Husky fans of the Alamo Bowl loss Alfred Blue would rush for a 21 yard touchdown run that looked rather easy as the Tigers led 7-3.

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.

Starting from the the Huskies 47 yard line Kenny Hilliard would rush for four yards while 10 more yards were tacked on for defensive holdling. Michael Ford would rush for eight yards to the 25 yard line then would rush for eight more yards to the 17 yard line. Spencer Ware ran for seven yards to the Huskies 10 yard line. On second and three Ware would rush for eight yards to the two yard line. On first and goal from the two the Tigers put in another running back as J.C.Copeland plunged forward for a gain of one yard. On second and goal from the one yard line Copeland finished the drive off with a touchdown to give the Tigers a 14-3 lead.

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).

After another three and out by the Huskies offense the Tigers took over on their own 27 yard line. Facing a second and eight from the 29 yard line Mettenberger passed to Wright for a gain of 23 yards to the Huskies 45 yard line. Blue would rush for eight yards to the Huskies 37 yard line, then again for four yards to the 33 yard line. Hilliard would rush for four yards to the 29 yard line setting up a second and six. Mettenberger would hit Wright again for 22 yards setting up a first and goal from the 7 yard line. On back to back rushes to Hilliard which netted only three yards the Tigers were facing a third and goal from the four yard line. Mettenberger would complete a pass to Wright for three yards as Sean Parker tackled him at the one yard line. Facing a fourth and goal Les Miles decided to kick the 18 yard field goal to go up 17-3.

The Huskies offense facing a third and 15 from their own 12 showed somewhat of a pulse when Price hit Austin Seferian-Jenkins for a gain of 18 yards to the 33 yard line. That is all the Huskies offense would do as they would punt once again. The Tigers would take over from their own 30 yard line. Blue would start the drive with a four yard run to the 34 yard line. Mettenberger would hit Jarvis Landry for a gain of 20 yards to the Huskies 46 yard line. On second and eight from the 44 yard line Mettenberger would hit Blue for a 14 yard completion to the 30 yard line. Blue would rush for nine yards to the 21 yard, again for six yards to the 15 yard line. That is when the Huskies defense actually got tough as the Tigers once again had to settle for a 32 yard field goal to lead 20-3. On that drive Mettenberger was two for four passing for 34 yards on the drive.

With 5:03 left in the half if the Huskies were to make this a game they had to score on this drive. The drive started off with a sack as Price was facing a second and 21 from his own two yard line. Price would complete a 20 yard pass to Kevin Smith to their own 22 yard line. On third and one Price would hit Seferian-Jenkins in the flat for a gain of 10 yards to their own 32 yard line. Price would complete his third straight pass to Kasen Williams for a gain of seven yards to their own 39 yard line.  The Huskies drive would soon stall out at the Tigers 46 yard line. The Tigers would kneel out the clock going into halftime leading 20-3 over the weakened Huskies who appeared lost all half.

The Huskies were thoroughly dominated throughout the half. The Tigers outgained the Huskies 232-80 in the first half with 13 first downs to five. Keith Price struggled passing 10-23( 43.4%) passing for only 81 yards(3.5 YPA). His main targets were Seferian-Jenkins who had four receptions for 31 yards. Kevin Smith had two for 25 yards while Williams only had two for 11 yards. Bishop Sankey was held to negative two yards rushing on four carries. The Huskies had nine carries for negative 11 yards rushing at halftime.

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.

The second half started off with the Huskies going three and out as the Tigers took over on their own 39 yard line. Blue started the series off with a 17 yard run to the Huskies 44 yard line. Mettenberger would rush for five yards to the Huskies 39 yard line. Blue would rush for nine yards to the 30 yard line. Mettenberger would hit Odell Beckham for a 24 yard gain to the six yard line. Blue would rush for three yards up the middle to the three yard line. Then Hilliard would cap the drive with a three yard touchdown run up the middle to give the Tigers a commanding 27-3 lead. The Huskies on the following drive would march down to the Tigers 30 yard line before Price would throw an interception on fourth down killing the only productive drive of the night for the Huskies.

Starting from their own 27 yard line the Tigers continued to pound the run as Ware would rush for nine yards. On second and 1 Ware would throw an incomplete pass on a halfback pass. Ware would rush for two yards to extend the chains to their own 38 yard line. On second and eight Ware would rush for six yards to their own 46 yard line. On third and two Ware would rush up the middle for seven yards to the Huskies 47 yard line. Blue would then take over rushing for 15 yards to the Huskies 32 yard line. Facing a third and 10 from the 32 Mettenberger would find a wide open Kadron Boone for a 32 yard touchdown to give the Tigers a 34-3 lead. Senior Justin Glenn allowed his man to burn him deep on the score as the defense once again reminded Husky fans of the Nick Holt years.

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 Tigers would go on a 13 play, 65 yard touchdown drive that ate up almost seven minutes as they once again pounded the ball down the Huskies throats. Hilliard would rush for four yards on the first two carries setting up a third and six. Mettenberger would complete another pass to Wright for 10 yards to their own 49 yard line. After a short gain, Ford would rush for 11 yards to the Huskies 37 yard line. For would rush for seven yards on his next two carries setting up a third and three from the 30 yard line. Hilliard would take back over rushing for six yards to the Huskies 24 yard line. Following play would rush for nine more yards to the Huskies 15 yard line. Hilliard would rush for seven more yards to the Huskies eight yard line. Fullback Connor Neighbors would rush up the middle for five yards to the Huskies three yard line. Hilliard would rush for two more yards setting up a third and goal from the one yard line. Hilliard would then cap the drive with a one yard touchdown plunge giving the Tigers a 41-3 lead.

The Huskies would lose 41-3 which marked their worst offensive performance since losing 41-0 to Stanford in October of 2010. The Huskies offense had only 183 yards total offense and had 26 yards rushing only 24 carries(1.1 YPC). Keith Price finished the day 17-36(47.2%) passing for 157 yards(4.4 YPA) with one interception. He was sacked four times losing 28 yards as he only ran once for a measly four yards. His main targets were Austin Seferian-Jenkins who had six receptions for 51 yards on the day. Kevin Smith caught four passes for 48 yards while Kasen Williams had only three receptions for 19 yards. Bishop Sankey had three receptions for 30 yards while Jaydon  Mickens had one reception for nine yards with a costly bobble.

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.

Very efficient game for the Tigers who racked up 437 yards of total offense including 242 rushing. Their quarterback Zach Mettenberger outplayed Price as he was 12-18(66.6%) passing for 195 yards(10.8 YPA) with a touchdown and no interceptions. His main target was James Wright who had five receptions for 75 yards.

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.


- Remember when the Huskies were deep at running back? Remember when Husky fans mocked Coug fans for stealing Bishop Sankey? Yea about that.....

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.

- If Kasen Williams is to be that number one receiver he needs to make more explosive plays this year. In this game he had only three receptions for 19 yards(6.3 YPC) which isn't going to get the job done. He almost made a big play but had no sideline awareness as he didn't drag his feet for an incomplete pass on a fade pattern.

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.

- Austin Seferian-Jenkins had a productive game with six receptions for 51 yards(8.5 YPC) with a long of 18 yards. Seferian-Jenkins was the only guy who seemed to not be rattled as he hanging onto the ball and managed to make catches in traffic unlike the rest of his teammates.

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.

- Well so much for Justin Wilcox being the messiah of defensive coaches after the Tigers just pounded the ball on the Huskies defense. The Huskies defense recorded no sacks and forced no turnovers(lone turnover was on special teams). The Tigers converted 7-12(58.3%) on third downs as they ran the ball 52 times for 242 yards(4.7 YPC) with four touchdowns.

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.

- Perhaps the most famous LSU Tiger alumni was there in future NBA hall of famer Shaquille O'Neal. O'Neal greeted the Huskies at their hotel on Thursday night and he came out to a standing ovation between the first and second quarter. While playing for the Tigers Shaq was a two-time all-american, two-time SEC player of the year and won national player of the year in 1991.

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.

- If the Huskies had any chance at all this game it had to be led by junior quarterback Keith Price having a big day. Instead Price had a terrible day. He was 17-36 (47.2 %) passing for only 157 yards (4.4 YPA) with zero touchdowns and one interception.

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.

- Speaking of average? Huskies head coach Steve Sarkisian now falls to 20-20 as head coach. Sarkisian is making a bad habit out of getting blown out by ranked opponents lately. The Huskies have lost six straight games to ranked opponents and nine out of 10. The average margain of defeat in those games is 28.2 points which shows the Huskies aren't even competing.

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.

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