Suffice it to say, things have been pretty dour around the ol’ blog when it comes to the Husky football team. I think for good reason, but then again, I’m generally a pretty pessimistic guy. I like to keep my expectations as low as possible so when my team ultimately fails, it’s not so much of a nightmare (see: Super Bowl XL).
But, I know when I’m licked and I’ll admit when I’m wrong: this team is way better than I thought.
That doesn’t mean the Huskies are elite. But, with this win alone, it probably means they’re better than last year’s team. Baby steps. Last year’s team didn’t have a signature win. This year’s team just beat a Top Ten football team. And they did it the only way they possibly could: defense.
Shocking, right? The Huskies, playing stout defense. It boggles the mind! The team that gave up 67 points to Baylor. THAT team. Yeah.
But, that’s how it goes. Stanford has a really good defense. You’re not going to beat them in a shootout because they’re not going to LET you be in a shootout. Either you beat them in a close, low-scoring game, or you get blown out. There’s no other end of that pendulum.
Truly, I’m stunned. That Husky defensive performance is something we haven’t seen since the Holiday Bowl win over Nebraska. It might’ve even been better. We made them punt 9 times! 7 of those were three & outs! And we forced a fumble and caught an interception to clinch it. Impressive, impressive stuff all the way around.
We held their quarterback to under 50% completions. We held their running back to 75 yards! As a team, they only managed 65 yards on 28 carries for a sub-3 average. And we kept their offense out of the endzone (their TD was on defense). Any time you can say you kept the other team’s offense out of the endzone, generally you’re talking about a W.
On the flipside, did we just witness the emergence of Bishop Sankey? Honestly, I think I’m more shocked about his 144 yards on the ground (a whopping 7.2 per-carry average) and the fact that he busted a 61 yard TD run than I am about the defense holding them like they did. Nothing about Sankey’s season last year or his first three games this year prepared me for his showing last night. I’ve talked a lot of shit about the Huskies this season and Sankey was a big part of that. Looks like I’m eating more of my words here; he very well may be the real deal. It’s nice to see.
Keith Price wasn’t setting the world on fire last night (and indeed he really hasn’t shown much in these first four games), but his connection with Kasen Williams was nothing short of masterful. 10 receptions, 129 yards and a TD. No one else on the team caught more than 2 balls; no one else on the team had more than 11 yards receiving. Who needs a second or third receiver when you’ve got Kasen Williams doing all the heavy lifting? I don’t remember seeing a game that awesome from a receiver since probably the days of Reggie Williams.
It feels good. It feels good to have confidence. It feels good to be able to believe in your team again. Before this win, I was ready for an underachieving season. After this win, just about anything is possible. OK, winning at Oregon next week probably isn’t possible. But beating USC at home? Sure. Beating Arizona on the road? Why not? Running the table from Oregon State onward and ending the season with only 2 losses (and 1 in conference)? I won’t rule it out! Not any more.