The Huskies Ruined The Ducks’ Playoff Chances!

I think I’m the Bad Luck Guy. There’s generally a common denominator with regards to the outcomes of important Husky football games. My friends and I like to gather together for the big ones. Huge opponents from another power five conference, bowl games, and the annual Oregon game. I can’t say that every time I miss one of these gatherings, the Huskies win, because that’s not true. But, what I can say is that the Huskies have ONLY won when I’ve had some serious FOMO, because I was doing other things. I’m sure my friends were gathered around the TV, screaming their heads off. Meanwhile, I was following along on the ESPN Gamecast while sitting in my seats at the Jane’s Addiction/Smashing Pumpkins concert at Climate Pledge Arena.

So, I don’t know what happened, exactly. I know this game didn’t look anything like my vision!

The only way the Huskies were ever going to prevail was to win in a shootout. I’d say a score of 37-34 qualifies, even if it didn’t look that way through the first half. The Huskies somehow nursed a 13-10 advantage at the break, which seems flukey as all get-out. We settled for two field goals that prevented us from really blowing things wide open. But, we also forced a timely turnover and lucked into a missed Oregon field goal.

The third quarter was nonstop touchdowns, five in all between the two teams. At this point, defense was non-existent, and it looked like that would be the case for the rest of the game. Which is what made Penix’s goalline interception so dire. It was 1st & Goal from the 1, you just can’t have a pick there. Oregon took the ball at that spot and almost put the game away. 20 plays, 91 yards, and over 10 minutes of 4th quarter game clock transpired. But, thankfully, we were able to hold them to a field goal, limiting our deficit to 7 points (34-27).

We got the ball back with just under 4 minutes left, with fans thinking about a potential Husky touchdown and Go For Two situation. It didn’t come to that, as on our third play of the drive – 3rd & 7 – Penix dialed up a 62 yard touchdown to Taj Davis to tie it back up.

Somehow, holding Oregon to a field goal on that 20-play drive woke up the defense, as we held the Ducks to a 4 & Out (going for it on their own 34 yard line on 4th & 1, and losing a yard on the play). It was unfortunate we weren’t able to ice the game right there, but we did net the go-ahead field goal from Peyton Henry with 51 seconds left.

I don’t know WHAT the fuck happened on the final drive of the game. All I saw was we had them on a 4th & 14 play, which they converted for 19 yards. Then, they threw another pass to get to midfield with 6 seconds left. Then, there was some “illegal touch-pass” that happened on a play that would have put them in field goal range, causing the play to be waived off and leaving them with an untimed down. Presumably, there was a hail mary that fell incomplete to seal it.

What a whale of a game! What an incredible ending!

There’s been a lot of chatter about what needs to happen for the Huskies to make the Pac-12 championship game. What’s unfortunate is that in years past, all we’d need is for the Ducks to lose one more. Then, we’d have the tie-breaker edge and go on to play the winner of the Pac-12 South. But, with this Top Two Teams/No Divisions nonsense, there’s officially A LOT that needs to go right for the Huskies to make it.

I keep thinking back to how many years where the Pac-12 North would’ve had the top two records, but it feels like this was implemented to help the Pac-12 South teams take control, and I don’t understand why I think this way.

Anyway, I think our shot ended when we blew it down in the desert against ASU. It was true then, and it pretty much remains true today.

In all likelihood, this won’t even prevent the Ducks from making the Pac-12 Championship Game. But, we eliminated them as a contender for the national title, and that’s something at least. Furthermore, we beat the fucking Ducks! What more do you need?!

That was our Super Bowl, and we came through victorious. I wish I could’ve been there to see it.

Michael Penix – aside from that one turnover – was magnificent. 408 yards and 2 TDs. We also managed – as a team – to rush for 114 yards (5.2 average) and a couple more TDs. But, I’ll say this, give me Peyton Henry as the hero of the game. He famously missed a kick in Oregon a few years ago, so this was a nice redemption story. But, more importantly, he’s been fucking nails this year. 15 of 17 (including 4/5 from 40+) and perfect on PATs. I don’t have much faith in college kickers – from ANY distance – so it’s nice to have someone we can rely on in big moments. It took him a while to get there, but Peyton Henry is a very good college kicker. I don’t know what that means for his pro prospects, but good for him either way.

Now, we play the hapless Buffaloes of Colorado before going on the road in the Apple Cup. Two more wins should get us to 10-2 on the regular season, which is pretty fucking amazing for Kalen DeBoer’s first year here. What an under-the-radar hire that might pay legitimate dividends down the line! This isn’t just a guy on a hot streak with someone else’s players. This is a guy who brought in a top tier quarterback, and totally revamped this offense into one of the best in the game!

Now, we just need to tighten the screws on this defense and we’ll be set.

The Huskies Remain Undefeated Thanks To A Lethal Offense

There’s always at least a modicum of reason for concern when it comes to a college football matchup. So, when I say I was a little worried about this Stanford game, just know that I’m going to be at least a little worried about all the games the rest of the way. College football is wonky as hell! Strange shit can happen at any time.

But, it tends to happen more often in those 7:30pm starts. Pac-12 After Dark or whatever. It’s a thing. Usually, it’s more of a thing in October and November, but there’s no reason why it couldn’t be a thing in the last weekend in September.

Turns out, my concern was unnecessary. We jumped out to a 17-7 halftime lead, bolstered that to a 30-7 lead heading into the final quarter, before easing off the gas a little bit with our 40-22 final score.

Michael “Big Penix Energy” Penix was on his game once again (22/37 for 309 and 2 TDs), but we really got the running game going in this one. Wayne Taulapapa … is a name I just typed out for the first time in my life. Anyway, Taulapapa carried it 13 times for 120 yards and a TD. I know we pride ourselves on our running backs around these parts, but it feels like we haven’t had anyone with any sort of juice since Myles Gaskin. It’s been pretty fallow at this position for a few years now, which I think fully explains our dramatic downturn (and our dramatic revival this year).

Every week, it seems like a new receiver steps up and has a HUGE game. This week, the merry-go-round went with Rome Odunze (8 for 161 and a TD).

What’s crazy is that this game could’ve been so much more of a blowout. We settled for four field goals, and managed to hit them all. I haven’t talked in glowing terms about a Husky kicker in I don’t know how long (maybe ever?), but Peyton Henry (Jinx Alert!) has been perfect on the season. Granted, only one of them has been beyond 40 yards, but you take what you can get from field goal kickers in college. This is his fifth year here and I don’t know how many more he has left in him (what with COVID eligibility and everything), but if he can keep it up, it would be huge.

It’s a shame it’s taken me this long to get to the defense, because they were on point (especially through three quarters). They had 8 sacks, and were absolutely swarming Stanford’s quarterback! It ultimately translated into a couple of fumbles lost as well as a pick. That’s a significant improvement for that side of the ball, that we’ve been longing to see.

This week, we have a Friday night matchup down in UCLA. Our first road game of the season. Not to be the boy who cried wolf or anything, but I’m concerned!

Is that concern justified? We’ll see. The Bruins are also 4-0. But, they played three cupcakes and then Colorado last week (so, four cupcakes then). And they were very nearly upset by one of them, barely eking by South Alabama.

But, clearly, they have a lot of talent. And, even though it’ll still be September when this game is played, it’s another 7:30pm start. Ours is the first game of a murderer’s row for them, as they go on to face the Utes at home and the Ducks on the road. This might be their best chance for a victory.

It also, not for nothing, might be the game they lose the hardest.

I’ll tell you this much: I wouldn’t want to go up against the Huskies right now. This offense looks fucking dynamite! I’ve talked about how lucky we are that we avoided Utah and USC this year, but maybe they’re lucky they avoided us!

The thing is, I don’t know what a Husky loss is going to look like. Is it an abnormal struggle on offense to score points? Does Penix put the ball in harm’s way one too many times? Do we have random bad fumble luck? Are we settling for too many field goals when we should be punching them in for touchdowns?

Or, is our defense a true Achilles’ heel, and we’ve papered over a lot of their deficiencies by getting out to these huge leads every week? What happens when we can’t score early and often? I think that’s it. I think that’ll be our big bug-a-boo. At that point, it’ll be a matter of the offense being down by a single score late and needing to do some things in a hostile environment. Is this that week?

We’re favored by 3. I think that line has considerably moved in Washington’s direction over the last day (didn’t it start at UCLA being favored by 1?). I dunno. There’s a reason why Vegas saw this game as one where UCLA should be ahead of us. The only reason it’s moving so much is because the public is overwhelmingly betting on the Huskies. That REALLY scares me. How much can you trust the public, really? I trust Vegas. I mean, I don’t trust them, but I think they’re generally smarter about these things.

I would stay away from the Huskies. As a Husky fan? Just sit back and enjoy the ride. You don’t want to be caught up in a tense game and also have money at stake. That’s not a great way to head into the weekend.