My family threw its second-annual no-limit Texas Hold ‘Em tournament on Saturday night. Max 6 players, $100 buy-in, with any number of $20 buy-in games after that. These games usually feature a number of players losing early and waiting a long time before some sort of split pot ends the game and everyone can come back into a new one.
The Big Game started at 4pm and while I wasn’t the first one out, I was indeed the second person eliminated, and found myself killing a lot of time. Once my brother was knocked out, the three losers ended up going downstairs to play some pool. The remaining three players apparently could’ve kept going all night, and in the end it was a 3-way split that was pretty evenly divided, all things considered.
When I started playing poker again, it wasn’t even 6pm, just to give you an idea of how these poker games go. They’re pretty quick. The longest game of the night didn’t even get us to the start of the Husky game.
As I was pretty engrossed in keeping the poker games moving – I wouldn’t be eliminated from the table the rest of the night, as I want to say we played at least 4-5 more $20 games after The Big Game – so I was a little distracted when the Huskies finally took the field. But, I came away REALLY impressed with how the Huskies handled their business down in Utah!
The Husky defense was the star of the show. Obviously, when you win 21-7 on the road in the Pac-12, the defense is doing something right. I haven’t seen a team blow up that many guys in a LONG time. Seriously, that’s pretty close to how it would look if you pitted an NFL defense against a college offense; the University of Washington has a ton of NFL guys on its squad, and the Utes are playing with amateurs on offense.
Like I said, I didn’t have a great handle on this game otherwise. I know this: Myles Gaskin brought his lunch pail and his hard hat and went to WORK! 143 yards on 30 carries (!) for the Senior who was, for all intents and purposes, ALL of the running game. Salvon Ahmed had only 3 carries for 5 yards, which is super weird, but that’s how the game shook out.
Right out of the gate, the defense forced a 3 & out, and the Huskies took the ball 65 yards for a Gaskin TD to take an early 7-0 lead on Utah’s blackout night. The Utes worked a painfully long drive to tie it up at the end of the first quarter, but the Huskies came right back with a long drive of their own to start the second quarter to go up by the score of 14-7. The defenses took over from there.
The Huskies didn’t score again until the third quarter, off of a Utah fumble. We went 44 yards for a 21-7 lead, and that was that.
Late in the game, Jake Browning – who had a so-so night overall – threw a mind-boggling interception that left the Utes with the ball at the Husky 11 yard line. But, the defense stood up and held them on downs. The Utes would get the ball inside the Husky 30 yard line on their next possession, but again the defense held them out of the endzone. Just an unbelievable performance by a top-notch unit.
This game was just so huge, and I couldn’t be happier that the Huskies not only won, but took care of business. It gives me SO much more confidence in this team going forward. The defense is humming, the running game broke out after two mediocre performances, now it’s just time to see Browning get uncorked and hopefully the Dawgs can get on a nice little roll here.
The rankings are what they are; they’re not to be worried about at this time. We’re in the Top 10 or close to it, we’ll be fine.
Now we come home to a couple of high-profile games against surprisingly solid teams. ASU already has an upset win over a ranked Michigan State at home (though, they dropped a road game to San Diego State this past weekend), so they look much more formidable than I thought coming into the season.
This sets up nicely, is what I’m trying to say. The Huskies PROBABLY have to win out to make the playoffs (certainly beating both Stanford and Oregon is a must), but I can finally see it shaking out that way. It’ll take some luck along the way, but the Huskies are overdue for some good luck.
With this win in Utah, my outlook on the Huskies has totally changed. Now, Utah, get back on the horse and prove to the world that you’re one of the top Pac-12 teams that I think you are!