So, About That Husky Game …

Look, the Huskies are 4-0 and that’s pretty much all that matters.  If we’re looking at the extreme bright side of things, then I can say that the Huskies are three more wins away from being bowl-eligible.  That’s the Cal game, the Colorado game, and the Oregon State game.  Bing, bang, boom, 7-6.

Of course, I don’t think very many of us would be too thrilled with 7-6.  Not with the surefire NFL players we’ve got on both sides of the ball right now.

But, if we keep getting these inconsistent performances like we’ve gotten for the most part in the first four games, we may have to temper our expectations and start looking on the bright side more than we’d like.

What can you say about this game last Saturday?  Georgia State is not a team that should be able to fly all the way out here and not just hang with us for a half, but clearly out-play us for a half!  They were up 14-0 after two quarters!  We struggled to run the ball.  Then, we mysteriously stopped running the ball.  And you can forget about any sort of passing game.  If we’re not throwing one of those annoying WR screen passes that don’t work unless John Ross is catching them, then we’re running these long-developing patterns that don’t work because our offensive line can’t keep guys off our quarterback!  Or, our quarterback gets a case of the happy feet, but either way, the passing attack is flawed.

How about simpler stuff?  Some slants, some crossing patterns, some 10-yard comebackers.  This isn’t rocket science.  Cyler Miles obviously isn’t comfortable back there.  This was only, what, his fourth career start at this level?  How about some quick drops and some quick passing?  How about some quick passing that isn’t a long lateral down the line of scrimmage?  That shit’s eventually going to get pick-sixed in a big moment, so I’d like to move away from that if at all possible.

Anyway, as I was saying, it was 14-0 at halftime, and the fans were restless.  I, for one, don’t blame the fans for booing.  I’m not saying you should boo every single time the team does something bad, but when your team is down 14-0 at halftime against a team they should CLEARLY dominate, then I think it’s God damn appropriate for you to boo.  Maybe don’t boo if you’re down 14-0 to a team like Oregon or something.  But, Georgia State?  Come on, man!

So, what happened in the second half?  Oh, not much.  The Huskies just ripped off 45 unanswered points to win the game 45-14 (and very nearly cover the 34.5 point spread in the process).

I’ll tell you what happened:  Dante Pettis happened!  The Freshman phenom and punt returner extraordinaire!  Four returns for 98 yards; I REALLY thought we were going to break that long drought and bring back a punt to the house.  Eventually – and very soon, I might add – he WILL bring one all the way back, and it’s going to be glorious.

We got some short fields, and finally we were able to impose our will in the run game.  The Huskies ended up rushing for 182 yards, which isn’t a crazy amount, but remember with Pettis we had a lot of short fields in play.  No one really took the reins and ran away with it, but it was a nice little team effort after a gnarly first half.  Shoutout to Jeff Lindquist who got in the game a few times and ran some QB keepers.  He ended up with 3 carries for 35 yards and a couple touchdowns on the ground.  That’s a nice little weapon to have, considering Cyler Miles doesn’t appear to be anxious to expose his body to unnecessary hits in the running game.  Over the course of the season, we could be looking at a nice two-headed hydra at quarterback that may prove to give opposing defenses fits.

Overall, I thought the defense acquitted itself well.  That’s two games in a row after that Eastern Washington debacle, and three good performances out of four overall.  With Stanford coming up this weekend, we’re going to need every ounce this defense can give us.

It’s understandable that you’d doubt this team going into this Saturday’s game against the 16th-ranked team in the nation.  The Huskies have yet to really play a complete game.  The offense outside of John Ross has been pretty underwhelming, and with him fighting an injury, this could be a scary proposition.  Stanford has a REALLY good defense, and it wouldn’t be totally shocking if they came in here and shut us out.

Do I think that’s going to happen?  No, but like I said, I wouldn’t be shocked.

However, I really think people are underestimating this Husky defense after that Eastern game.  They’re not going to be perfect each and every drive, but they have enough talent at all levels – secondary, linebacker, and especially along the line – to keep us in any ballgame.  And, let’s not forget, Stanford isn’t exactly lighting up the scoreboard themselves.  Their offense isn’t so great!  Yeah, they ran up the score against Army and UC Davis, but their defense really had a lot to do about that, considering they were able to shut out both teams.  Against USC, at home, Stanford was held to 10 points.  Now, they’re supposed to come into Husky stadium and ram the ball down our throats?  I don’t think so.

I think our defense is more than capable of keeping this game close.  I think eventually our offense will generate just enough big plays to make it interesting.  If we have John Ross back and healthy, I think we’ll even pull out a win somehow!  You heard it here first:  21-20, Huskies upset big bad Stanford.

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