Pac-10 Week 4 Notes and Observations: Washington Huskies
Washington Huskies 2-2 Overall (1-1 Conference)
This Week’s Score: Stanford 34 – Washington 14
Next Week’s Opponent: @Notre Dame
Is this the kind of performance we can expect from Washington on the road this season? Let’s hope not, because the Huskies were beaten soundly on both sides of the ball. U-Dub looked slower, less energized, and less prepared than Jim Harbaugh’s club all night. Stanford’s Chris Owusu wasted little time in delivering an early hay-maker to the Huskies, as he returned yet another opening kickoff for a TD. From there, the Cardinal simply rode #7 all the way to victory.
The Huskies never seemed to stand a chance against RB Toby Gerhart, who ran for a career-high 200 yards (1 TD). Nick Holt’s D knew what was coming the entire game, but simply couldn’t do anything about it. Stanford QB Andrew Luck only attempted 14 passes (7-14 103 yards), but managed to run for 59 yards and a TD against a front seven that was easily pushed around. Altogether, the Dawgs gave up 322 yards on the ground, and that is unacceptable.
Sarkisian’s offense did not fare much better. QB Jake Locker struggled all night, completing 16-31 passes for 191 yards (1 TD, 2 INTs). He threw two passes to Stanford’s Delano Howell, and seemed to be bothered by the more physical Cardinal defense throughout the evening. I thought Locker played hesitant and wasn’t sure where he wanted to go with the football, which has been very uncharacteristic of him under Sark’s tutelage.
The play calling for U-Dub was certainly nothing special (and horrendous at times), but I was more disappointed by the sheer lack of physicality with which the o-line played. Polk and Locker never really got things going on the ground, but mostly because Stanford’s front seven controlled the line of scrimmage.
I was absolutely positive that Washington would avoid a “letdown” this week, but after watching the game, I think I was wrong. UW did not play with nearly enough focus, urgency, or determination, and that falls on the coaching staff.
The sloppy, uninspiring play must stop in a hurry, as the Dawgs head to South Bend this week. The Fighting Irish are good, but UW is capable of springing an upset if the team can respond. Now is the time for Washington to prove itself on the road, and the experience of playing at Notre Dame should help the Huskies for the rest of conference play.