I love Seahawks BYE weeks, if for no other reason than my beloved Dawgs get to enjoy the Monday spot on my blog.
It was a nice, if sloppy, bounce-back win for the Huskies, as they took care of business against a clearly-inferior opponent. There were still enough cracks in our own team – on both sides of the ball – to be concerned going forward. But, this is obviously a win we needed to have, and it keeps hope alive for at least one more week.
My day started out in Seattle bright and early. There wasn’t any tailgating this week, so I met up at a buddy’s apartment for some pre-game IPA’s before we hit up the light rail to the stadium. I’m just gonna say this about that: whoever designed the University of Washington station did SUCH a pisspoor job of designing it. They need, easily, like 4 more escalator bays; even if they’re not always open and running every day of the week, at least for gamedays. They didn’t account for the crowds that would 1) show up for Husky football games and 2) use the light rail to get there. But, it’s a fucking mess. They can’t let too many people use the too-few escalators at once, otherwise they’ll break down. So, there are HUGE lines going both up (pre-game) and down (post-game). And, for whatever reason, they won’t open up the stairwells for fit people with functioning legs to walk up, because they don’t have enough security? What the shit is that? Do they think the stairwells are just going to be a kill-crazy free-for-all? Are Seattleites running a Purge just in the UW lightrail station stairwells? And, particularly for post-game, would it kill them to put additional cars on these trains to get us out of there in a timely fashion? As it is, they’re doing the best they can, but they weren’t exactly supplied with all the resources they needed to make this a seamless transition. You’re hoping that the people will use these modes of transportation to get to places … well, it needs to be a better experience if you want us to CONTINUE using these trains!
Anyway, after that first world problem was somehow conquered, my friends and I were in need of alcohol to soothe our jangled nerves. Luckily, Husky Stadium now sells alcohol, albeit in certain specific locations. The Zone is dead to me now, as you apparently need to buy a pass just to get into the area where you buy more food and alcohol. Any way they can nickel and dime the fans, I suppose. So, we went to this little beer garden inside the stadium; I guess it’s called Off Leash? Some kind of play on the whole dawg theme? Like, dogs take off their leashes and get plastered?
Long story short, we missed most of the first quarter (I wouldn’t say we were missing it, Bob). The Huskies got the ball first, punted, and Colorado promptly went down and scored, making it 7-0 and making it look easy. The Huskies finally got their shit together, and had a 14-13 lead heading into halftime.
The defense totally took over the game in the second half, as Colorado didn’t score the rest of the game. But, the offense struggled to really put them away until late in the contest, finally prevailing 27-13. Nevertheless, we failed to cover the 17-point spread, and the offense didn’t look particularly great.
Jake Browning didn’t have a whole lot going in this one. Part of the problem was drops, but also he was wildly off-target on a few as well. In spite of Gaskin being given the day off (I assume to rest his injured shoulder), the running game did their job. We ran for 201 yards on a whopping 40 carries, with three different backs sharing the load.
Defensively, we tackled much better today than we have in weeks. We still didn’t get much in the way of pressure, and are in desperate need for edge rushers to step up in 2018 (it needs to be a point of emphasis for next year as well). The usual suspects stood out: BBK led the team in tackles with 15, Greg Gaines was a force in the middle, our secondary made a number of sick plays as we held them to 144 yards passing on 17/28 with a TD and a pick. But, I wanted to point out number 95, who I noticed flashed on a number of plays in the middle, Levi Onwuzurike, a Sophomore out of Texas. He had 4 tackles (2 for loss) and our lone sack of the game, in what looked like pretty limited duty. Gaines is a Senior this year and will be going to the League, so it’s nice to see our interior is in good hands. I look forward to Levi having a bigger workload next year and REALLY making his presence felt. When he becomes The Man, don’t forget who pointed it out first! (it probably was someone who’s much smarter than me and knows a lot more about the Huskies, but I’m also a person!).
Our Saturday got better and better. Post-game, we went back to my buddy’s apartment to eat some pizza and drink some beer and watch the Cougs take on the Ducks. And yes, drunken Coug fan with the awesome sign, the Ducks DO Quack Under Pressure!
Thanks to the Huskies blowing it last week, Washington State got to host ESPN Gameday for the first time ever. And, it looked like the party to end all parties.
The Cougs jumped out to a 27-0 lead at halftime, which only set up the Ultimate Couging Scenario. Oregon proceeded to mount a comeback in the second half we all knew was coming. They managed to get it to 27-20 with just under 7 minutes to go in the game; plenty of time to finish the Cougening. Wazzu started at their own 25 and got down to Oregon’s 34 when it was 4th & 6. On the previous drive, the Cougs got down to Oregon’s 42 with a 4th & 3 and opted to punt, so I was sure they were going to do something similarly stupid. At this point (of the 4th & 6), there was just under 5 minutes to go in the game, and thankfully they went for it. Why punt on 4th & 3 but go for it later on 4th & 6? Well, according to the announcers, it’s easier for an Air Raid offense to get 8 yards than it is to get 3, so maybe we WEREN’T listening to the dumbest men on the planet call this game? I would’ve said it was shoddy game management on the part of Mike Leach, but what do I know?
Anyway, thankfully, the Cougs converted that drive into a touchdown and won 34-20. So, now the Huskies are back atop the Pac-12 North with a 4-1 record. WSU and Stanford are right behind us at 3-1 (with Oregon at 2-2 – SUCK IT DUCKS!). We host Stanford in a couple weeks and we go to Pullman for the Apple Cup at the end of the season. In short, we control our own destiny.
A road game against Cal is on the horizon this Saturday. The Golden Bears are not there yet, so this is a game we should handily win. Cal’s only claim to fame is an early victory over BYU, back when we thought BYU was actually worth a damn. Cal is coming off a drubbing of OSU, so they should be well-rested and confident.
The Cougs overtook the Huskies in the AP rankings, which was a possibility that had occurred to me on Saturday, but wasn’t one I took very seriously. We’re still ahead of them in the Coaches Poll, but it obviously doesn’t matter, since no team from the Pac-12 will be representing the conference in the playoffs. Anytime college football wants to expand the playoffs to 8 teams (with each major conference getting a guaranteed slot) will be okay with me.
Until then, eyes on the prize: Rose Bowl or Bust.