That was an interesting and unexpected-expected result. The Washington Huskies knocked off the #8 Stanford Cardinals and they did it beating the Cardinals at their own game. I expected the Cardinals to continue to win ballgames by being more physical than their opponents; and it looked like the Cards were well on their way to fulfilling that expectation by knocking off USC at home. But tonight they got a taste of their own medicine as they went on the road and got knocked off by a young team looking to make a name for its self.
The offense continued to sputter as the Husky O-line continued to perform poorly. But Bishop Sankey (bloody traitor) had his-self a nice game, including a 61 yard touchdown run that pulled the Huskies within three early in the fourth quarter; the big reason that Sankey broke off that run was because he didn’t dance around in the back field, actually he just bowled over the Stanford Defenders and ran downhill and that is how he is going to have to run to succeed behind an injury ridden offensive line.
Despite getting hit several time, and spending a lot of time on the run (six rushing attempts for -14 yards
and remember these numbers include sacks), Keith Price still had a decent game throwing the ball. Price attempted 37 passes and only completed 19 of them for 177 yards (good for 4.8 yards per passing attempt). While Price’s completion percentage looks low, it doesn’t factor in the number of passes he had to throw away because the Stanford defensive line was bearing down on him. In fact the Husky O-line failed so spectacularly that one of the Cardinals Defensive-linemen broke away from his blocker and intercepted a pass, intended for the RB on a wheel rout, for a pick-six. But that was the only touchdown the Cardinal would score as the Husky Defense stepped up big time against one of the best power offenses in college football.
The Husky Defense continued to show an aggressive style of defensiveness that Justin Wilcox has brought over from Tennessee. That defensive aggressiveness paid huge dividends tonight as the Huskies shut down the Stepfan Taylor, holding him to 75 yards on 21 carries (good for an average of 3.6 yards per carry). Not only did the front seven slow down Taylor, they also brought an impressive amount on pressure on Josh Nunes forcing him to make bad throws and kill Stanford’s offensive drives. As a result the Cardinal looked inefficient and out of sorts on the offensive side of the ball. That defensive effort was a complete 180 degree performance from the Nick Holt era.
There were a lot of positives to be taken out of this game for the folk clad in Purple and Gold. The defensive performance against one of the best running backs in the Conference was impressive. Bishop Sankey continues to show growth and looks like he could develop into a decent back behind a still shaky O-line. And those are things that Husky fans should continue to look for improvements in as the year moves along.
That being said there was also areas of concern. The secondary continued to allow receivers to break free down field, they got lucky that Stanford’s WR had a case of the dropsies otherwise the result could have been much different. And the Husky O-line continues to allow Price to get drilled by opposing defenses; who knows how much longer he is going to be able to hold up?
The biggest takeaway however for Husky fans is that it looks like Sarkisian constantly has this squad improving and believing that they can win, despite the dearth of injuries that have ravaged the Huskies. After constantly getting clown-stomped by Top-25 opponents it was important for this Husky squad to get the upset tonight and they did. And that’s a good thing considering three of their next four games
are against opponents currently ranked in the top-25, the fourth game is against an Arizona squad that had been ranked at #22 prior to their 49-0 loss to the (at the time) #3 Ducks. This win is a huge moral boost for this squad and they very well could nab another win out of those three top-25 squads; whereas it looked like they might lose all of these upcoming games last week.
This is one of the few times you will see this from me; congratulations Huskies on a nice win.