I’m going to save my insanity about the College Football Playoffs until after they announce the updated rankings. In the meantime, let’s just enjoy this, huh? The Huskies are BACK, baby!
What an incredible feeling. I know it’s not over yet, and we’ve got one more major hurdle before we win the conference title, but for all intents and purposes we’re at least co-champions in the regular season, which is a far cry from where we were just 8 years ago.
That 2008 season, where the Huskies went 0-9 in conference (including losing the worst Apple Cup I’ve ever seen in my life) and 0-12 overall, was a big part of the reason for this blog even existing. Then, we brought Sark in, he got us going on the right track, and we built upon that tenfold with Coach Pete. It’s been quite the journey, but now here we are, hopefully around for an extended run of greatness.
Of course, if we lose to Colorado on Friday, we’ll probably get saddled with an inferior opponent in the Alamo Bowl, leaving nothing but regret in our wake, so let’s try real hard to win this conference championship!
The Cuogs, last Friday, posed no challenge. We jumped out to a 28-3 lead after one quarter, and from that point, it was just one long game of keep-away en route to a 45-17 victory. Browning got back on track, completing 21/29 for 292 yards and 3 TDs (vs. 0 picks). Lavon Coleman was the rushing star, even though he only ran for 82 yards on 10 carries, he was able to plunge a couple across the goalline. Gaskin had 50 yards and a TD of his own. Dante Pettis caught 3 balls for 86 yards and 2 TDs, and John Ross chipped in 8 catches for 80 yards, a TD, and 37 yards rushing on 2 carries. Don’t forget Chico McClatcher’s 6 catches for 80 yards. And, big ups to Pettis for completing another pass for 50 yards on a trick play (the fact that we went to that well a second time, and it didn’t work, sure drew the ire of the announcers for some reason; as if there can be TOO MANY trick plays in a football game!).
On the flipside, we held Luke Falk to 269 yards and 1 TD against 3 INTs. As a team, they ran for 65 yards. Budda Baker had another outstanding game (including 2 tackles for loss and a pick); D.J. Beavers had a monster game in his own right with a pick of his own, as well as a fumble recovery. We weren’t able to get a ton of pressure – only 2 sacks on the day – but we were sound in every other aspect of the game. When you’re up 25 after one quarter, it’s not like you need to send blitzes every other down.
As noted above, we play Colorado this Friday in Santa Clara for the Pac-12 Championship. The Buffaloes also went 8-1 in conference, with their only loss coming to USC during their resurgence, so consider both of us pretty lucky we don’t have to face the Trojans again this year. Colorado’s other loss came in their non-conference schedule, when they went to Michigan and got pounded. The Buffaloes run and pass the ball pretty well, but they might actually be better on defense than they are on offense.
This will be a game of the two best secondaries in the conference, and among the two best secondaries in all of college football. Overall, though, I don’t think we’re talking about a defense that’s anywhere near as good as what USC is packing, so it would be a bit of a surprise if we weren’t able to move the ball on them. The question here is: will the big play be available to us? I’d like to go back and see how many of our scoring drives featured a play of at least 35 yards, because I have a feeling the percentage is pretty high compared to the national average. Fortunately, Browning is one of the more accurate passers, so if we have to play the dink & dunk game, we can do that. He did just pull himself out of a 2-week funk though, so let’s hope he comes out on fire like he did against Wazzu.
Of course, I don’t have to tell you what’s on the line if we win this game. Rose Bowl at the VERY worst. You might not be able to tell just from reading this post, but I’m trying to pump myself up and not be disappointed if the Huskies are iced out of the College Football Playoffs. The Rose Bowl is a helluva consolation prize! And, if I can swing it, I plan on going there to see it all in person.
But, that doesn’t mean we can’t hope for more. Let’s go Dawgs. One more win and then let the chips fall where they may.