The Good, The Bad and The HuskyAfter every Husky football game this season, I will break down the good, the bad and the Husky. The first two are pretty easy to understand, but the last one is a brilliant play on words where I will describe something that is just so “Husky”. This definition can evolve over time as it would be a good thing in the early 90s, but maybe an unfortunate turn of events lately. If you are a Husky fan, you will know it is just “Husky”.
It was one thing when Bishop Sankey ran for over 100 yards against Portland State. Then Sankey did it again the next week versus the formerly #1 run defense in the nation in Stanford. And yet again, the Bishop ran for over 100 against Oregon. The sophomore made people miss on occasion, ran through others and generally looked like a potential all-conference back (if the Ducks weren’t in the conference with Barner and Thomas). He’s now fifth in the Pac-12 in rushing and putting up about 86 yards per contest, including the 16 yard performance against LSU. Sankey is averaging over 115 yards in his last three games and has scored a touchdown in all three, showing real toughness at the goal line.
The Return Game
Aside from freshman Marvin Hall’s critical fumble which changed momentum early, fellow freshman Jaydon Mickens looked explosive in the kick return game. Obviously he and Hall had plenty of opportunities. The two youngsters combined to average 24 yards per kick return with Mickens leading the way with a 25.4 average. When not playing Oregon (or maybe USC), this type of return game will prove to be crucial in shortening the field for scoring drives.
The Offensive Line
Compared to how bad this group looked against Stanford, the Washington offensive line held up pretty well against Oregon. The Ducks recorded one sack and four hits on Keith Price, who didn’t struggle because of pressure. Aside from senior Drew Schaefer, the Dawgs line featured two sophomores, one redshirt frosh and a true freshman. They stood up to the test in Autzen Stadium and also led the way for the running game to put up 4.5 yards per carry.
Basically the junior quarterback called himself “awful” and “out of sorts” this week after the Oregon performance. With a 19-31 performance for only 145 yards, most would agree. But it gets worse. Down 14-0, Price made the game’s biggest mistake with an awful throw on an out that got intercepted by Patterson and returned for a touchdown. This immediately ended any hope for a Husky win. Then trailing 28-7, Price fumbled after scrambling for a first down at the Oregon 34 yard line. The only hopes of the Dawgs keeping the game close were to protect the ball. Price ensured the game wouldn’t be close. But it gets worse…
Keith Price is currently last – yes last – in the Pac-12 in QB rating, yards/attempt, and touchdowns. Dead last. Behind Jordan Webb of Colorado, Jon Hays of Utah and Josh Nunes of Stanford. Awful.
It was like a return to the gory days (note I said gory) of 2011 in this one. The Dawgs just couldn’t do much to even slow down Oregon as the Ducks rolled up 497 total yards with 299 of those on the ground. Additionally, Oregon was 7-13 on third downs and 1-1 on fourth downs. The Ducks were also 5 for 5 in the red zone. Nothing happened defensively to disrupt the pace, rhythm or playmaking ability of Oregon in this game. After a fantastic performance against Stanford, this one was a bit disappointing.
From 1974-1993, the Washington Huskies beat the Oregon Ducks 17 out of 20 times. Soon after, Oregon won five of the next nine thus making the rivalry quite competitive and full of memorable moments including the Kenny Wheaton interception and the Slick Rick Northwest Championship. Yet in the past nine contests, the Ducks have won all nine games and the Huskies haven’t come within 17 points (that was last year). In fact, the 31 point margin in 2012 is just about right for this “rivalry”. Oregon beats Washington by an average of 27 points per contest in the win streak. Basically, as die hard as some Husky fans are, no one should admit this game is a rivalry until the Huskies put up a fight. Nine years is a long, long time.
The pace at which the Oregon Ducks play is simply astounding. As much as it is annoying to watch when your team is playing them, the Nick Sabans of the world should really stop whining because there isn’t anything illegal or unsafe about it. Yes, defensive players have to play more snaps. Yes, they potentially could be more worn down that way. And yes, defenses should try to stop Oregon from getting first downs then.
The longest possession that Oregon had in this game was 4:06 and they featured touchdown drives of 0:39, 1:03, 0:00 (interception return), 3:12, and 0:50. Those were in a row. In the first half. Ridiculous, but unfortunately very Husky. In 2011, Oregon had touchdown drives of 0:45, 1:20, 2:25 and 2:19. So it is actually getting worse for Washington. Fantastic.