QUARTERBACK: I thought we left "Deer in the Headlights Jake" behind the final two games of last season but it seems that wasn't the case. Jake didn't do himself any favors by not relaxing in the pocket and playing stiff the majority of the night. The coaching staff didn't do him any favors by continuing to call the draw rather than rolling him out to the right. Look for Jake to come out next Saturday and just kill Syracuse; he is a much better player at home than he is on the road. GRADE: C
RUNNING BACK: i thought Chris Polk did a good job last night. The problem was he only had 16 carries. UW started throwing early and ignored the running game in the first half. Jessie Callier showed some definite spark while running for his first Husky TD. Austin Sylvester was only so-so since as a blocking back; I noticed a few missed blocks by the FB that would have been picked up by Paul Homer last season. GRADE: B
RECEIVERS: Decent numbers by Kearse and Aguilar, but the receiving unit as a whole had far too many drops. Correct the drops and perhaps Jake doesn't look quite as mortal. Cody Bruns had a nice debut as a starter, catching three passes. GRADE: C
OFFENSIVE LINE: The Huskies picked up close to 400 yards in total offense last night, but if you can't pick up first downs in short yardage situations you aren't going to win close football games against quality opponents. Two failed fourth down conversions in the fourth quarter were game killers. GRADE: C
DEFENSIVE LINE: Ta'amu looked good when he wasn't gassed. Overall the interior of the line did a good job stopping the run when you consider how long they were on the field. The defensive ends didn't get it done and the BYU QB's had all the time they needed. Until UW puts together a pass rush they will struggle against quality opponents. GRADE: C
LINEBACKERS: Cort Dennison was all over the field making plays, Mason Foster and Victor Aiyewa both had solid games, but the lack of turnovers is something the defense must improve upon. What Washington truly lacks is a thumper in the mold of Donald Butler in the middle. Grade: B
DEFENSIVE BACKS: Williams and Fellner had solid games, but the corners played as if they were asleep. Richardson's pass interference penalty was a prime example of why he lost his starting job last season. Trufant seems out of sync at times. While the DB's only allowed one big play, it proved to be the game winner. However, chalk that one up to Nick Holt getting burned on a blitz call. Grade: C
SPECIAL TEAMS: Mahan and Folk get A's but give the rest of the unit a big fat F. Polk's ball handling miscues on kickoffs and Ducre's roughing the kicker penalty killed field position and kept BYU in the game when it looked like the Huskies might have the ability to put this one away earlier. Sark's decision not to go for three in the fourth quarter is questionable but we will cover that in the next section. When are we ever see this unit score more points than it gives up? GRADE: D
COACHING: First of all, not taking the points with 12:24 left in the fourth quarter when down by six is a real head scratcher. We have seen Sark do this before and we will see Sark do it again. You have to wonder how many games the gambler will lose by not playing the percentages correctly? On the road, in a hostile environment, with that many minutes remaining...you have to take the points.
Sark's play calling was off all night. He didn't establish the run early even though the opportunity was there in favor of throwing the ball. The first series was great but as soon as UW started making mistakes on special teams you could see the coaches start to panic, which was reflected by the overall play of the team and its QB.
Jake had a tough night, but you can put a lot of that on Sark's shoulders. You would figure that after two years he would figure out that Jake is best when he is rolling out to his right and has the green light to run. The up the middle draw stuff he called all night never allowed Jake to get a step ahead of the BYU defenders.
Probably the most discouraging thing that happened over the course of the evening. My wife Kate actually picked up on this...BYU simply was better coached and wanted the game more than Washington. This game reminded me quite a bit of the UCLA debacle last year, costing UW a bowl game.
It is a young staff that will only get better but you have to wonder how much better it would be if Sark wasn't calling the plays. I understand why he wants the control, but it simply isn't working.
GRADE: D for Sark and Grade C Plus for Holt
Officiating: You know you are going to get a little home cooking on the road, but when you play in Provo the calls can border on cheating. The ball was spotted offensively and defensively in BYU's favor all evening. UW stopped Nelson a full yard behind scrimmage on one crucial play, yet the zebra's gave him a first down. Quinton Richardson's PI penalty was unfortunate, but the ball was also uncatchable, meaning the penalty should not have been called. Kearse's tripping penalty which stopped a drive was an utter joke.
In a close game the officials can make a serious difference and they did last night in Provo. It is easy to blame the ref's but that does happen in this stadium.
Grade A for BYU and F for Washington.