Husky coach Steve Sarkisian called Saturday's win over USC "Deja Vu" all over again. For the second consecutive season, the Huskies knocked off the nationally ranked Trojans with a last second field goal.
This win was quite possibly even more satisfying, as it broke a three-year UW losing streak on the road and was a major boost coming off a terrible loss to Nebraska.
Entering the game, memories of an 0-12 season still fresh in their mind, many Husky fans had lost confidence in the team. Far from a finished product, two dominating wins at the end of last season masked the problems Washington will continue to have as they rebuild.
Jake Locker, coming off his worst performance in purple and gold, came through with his finest career performance against the Trojans. Credit Sark with revamping the play calling during the bye week, gearing toward what Jake does best: working out of a mobile pocket. The Trojans had no answer for the Washington offense.
Defensively, this wasn't a satisfying game, though Washington kept the Trojans out of the end zone in the fourth quarter when it mattered most. With the exception of Alameda Ta'amu, the defensive line was dominated the entire game. The players we have right now up front simply are not up to the task physically when playing against a quality offensive line like USC. The Trojans may be struggling as a team, but their OL is still as good as any in the country.
Tackling remains a huge problem for the defense. The kids aren't wrapping up when they attempt to make a tackle, resulting, in Husky defenders bouncing like pinballs all evening. Some fans are questioning Coach Holt's defensive schemes, but I believe it is more about players neglecting fundamentals than schemes. One either executes or not, no matter what the scheme is.
Despite their challenges Saturday, the Huskies stand at 2-2 overall and 1-0 in the conference entering a home game against ASU this week. No game left of the schedule is a gimme, but the mistake-prone Sun Devils are a team Washington ought to beat.
All the goals this team set going into this season are still attainable. The confidence that comes from beating a team like USC on the road could be the tonic that propels this team forward and to a bowl game this season.
There is a lot of football left to be played and the 2010 Huskies are just starting to find themselves.
Pac 10 Power Ratings
1. Oregon...The Ducks fell behind 21-3 early but their overall team speed got them back in the game and led them to victory over the Tree's. The Duck "D" shut down Stanford in the second half. 28 straight unanswerd points by the Quackers in the second half. Up Next: At WSU
2. Arizona...The Wildcats took the week off and moved up a spot in our standings due to the Stanford loss. Are they better than Stanford? I don't think so but that will be decided at a later date. Up Next: OSU
3. Stanford...Tough loss for Jim Harbaugh and his crew who were shut out in the second half by the Ducks. The Cards are a good team but they don't have the speed and depth to keep up with Oregon. Up Next: USC
4. Oregon State...Some redemption at home after two road losses against top ten teams. Jaquizz Rodgers led the Beavers on the ground who benefited from better QB play from Ryan Katz. The Beavers performance wasn't perfect but it was a big win. Up Next: At Arizona
5. Washington...The Huskies and Jake Locker were given up for dead two weeks ago. A win on the road in Los Angeles keeps UW in the bowl picture. The Huskies can't afford to have a hangover next weekend. Up Next ASU
6. USC...This could be the loss that is the catalyst that makes this team unravel over the course of the season. No national championship and no bowl game. Why was Matt Barkley so placid on the sidelines? Up Next: At Stanford
7. California...The Bears had a week off after a disappointing last second loss on the road to Arizona. Up Next: UCLA
8. Arizona State...The Sun Devils are improved but turnovers and penalties are keeping them out of the win column. Up Next: At Washington
9. UCLA...Why do I drop a 3-2 team to the basement after a third consecutive win? The Bruins are pretty one dimensional on offense and the Cougars exposed their secondary. The Bruins will struggle to get three more wins which would qualify them for a bowl game. Up Next : At Cal
10. Washington State...WSU fans finally got to see a competitive conference game involving the Cougars. They also got to see another reason why Paul Wulff should be replaced at the end of the year. Up Next: Oregon