Keith Price was supposedly the better quarterback here, right Husky fans? And I heard all week that the Dawgs had the far superior defensive backs, in fact among the best in the conference. The running game was supposed to dominate and ASJ was an unstoppable target that WSU wouldn’t be able to contend with… and on and on. Blah blah blah. But this morning I said (on Husky Haul) that I needed to see it for myself. Specifically I said the secondary had to prove me wrong today, because in crunch time I didn’t think they were all that.
We found out and I really want to go off as a fan, but this is not a trash talking piece, rather a legitimate reveal deal. So what happened here? Sure it was a typical Apple Cup rivalry where just about nothing goes according to plan. Weird scenarios, strange bounces, and nobody talked about the kickers. But honestly before I get into individual performances I said on twitter at the end of the 1st quarter that UW looked shell shocked that it was even still a ball game. Washington State came out and hit them in the mouth and I didn’t feel they responded very well. I’d seen that look before, almost all year long actually from our team (excluding Stanford, UCLA games). And the penalties started to add up for Washington.
And then Wazzu “Coug’d” the 3rd quarter away, not once making it difficult for the Huskies for the entirety of 15 minutes. Dropped passes, including one off of a Cougar facemask that bounced high and right to a white and purple clad defender. Fumbles, 2 of them with zero ball protection by Cougar receivers on routine tackles. 2 of the 3 turnovers setting Washington up inside the Cougar 30. Give the Huskies credit, I mean they converted those 2 for touchdowns and they were feeling darn good about themselves. But they were still being outplayed in the effort department, and they didn’t turn it up after that, they turned it off. And the penalties continued to add up for Washington.
Then finally the 4th quarter began. Price struggled mightily with the Cougar zone looks and couldn’t avoid the pass rush with his feet. Bishop Sankey had run for 100 in 4 straight and was supposed to do what Chris Polk has done to Cougar defenses over the last couple years. Sankey did score twice tonight but only had 84 yards and more often then not it seemed he was the receiver of the hits from defenders instead of the deliverer. This was especially the case in the 4th. Austin Sefarian Jenkins (according to the announcers on FOX) is the best Tight End in the country (since when?) but only caught 5 passes for 38 yards and a TD on the day.
Washington just got outplayed all day, but especially when it counted most. WSU had 97 more yards of offense at 366-269 and Cougar leading receiver Dominique Williams outplayed Husky leading receiver Kasen Williams with 143-84 yards in receptions. Speaking of receivers, the WSU receivers simply made more plays down the stretch, including drawing 5 or 6 pass interference penalties from the Husky secondary late in the game. All of them were rather legit and all more frustrating for Husky defenders and fans than the last, as the Cougar offensive line gave Tuel all day to run around and make plays on the run. UW would finish with 18 penalties on the day for 129 yards.
And then of course, it would come down to the kickers. Andrew Furney was just better than Travis Coons in the clutch. Furney’s 45 yard field goal tied the game, as Mike Leach bypassed a 4th and one opportunity and trusted his kicking game, which hasn’t been at all clutch over the recent past. Washington would finally move it into scoring scoring territory but Coons kicked a terrible ball that drove wide right from 35. Furney then punched through his easy opportunity from 27.
Basically from a Husky standpoint, Washington lost because they weren’t ready to play early and didn’t ever really recover enough mentally to win it. I think it was more of what I said earlier, they got punched in the face and didn’t know how to respond. They weren’t supposed to be in a close game. They were supposed to party their way to a fourth straight Apple Cup win. Well, that didn’t really happen.