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The Dawgs' turnovers, dropped passes, penalties and blown defensive assignments lead to an ugly game against the Ducks.
The game started off well, with the Husky defense getting two stops against the Duck offense: Shaq Thompson picking off a pass that Desmond Trufant knocked away, and then forcing a punt. From the moment that ball was kicked it was all downhill.
The Huskies played very poorly in all phases of the game, and there's no way to sugarcoat it. The offense struggled at things that it shouldn't have, with Keith Price missing throws, throwing to covered receivers and fumbling when trying to make things happen. Kasen Williams and Austin Seferian-Jenkins had drops on the first two drives of the games that put the offense in unfavorable down and distances. For the majority of the game the defense rushed just three players and when the coverage was good Marcus Mariota broke things down with his legs. Tackles were missed and coverages were blown. Justin Wilcox didn't get plays in quick enough, allowing Oregon to score an undefended touchdown early. Marvin Hall fumbled a punt (and later a kickoff that the Dawgs were able to recover), leaving me to wonder why there seems to be a true freshman returning punts year after year. Penalties.
There were some bright spots. Bishop Sankey had another solid day toting the rock. Desmond Trufant played like an All Pac-12 corner like we know he can be, knocking balls away and making tackles. The offensive line was much improved from their abysmal showing against Stanford. The coverage was frequently good enough that Mariota couldn't find anybody to throw to.
The Huskies are still not good enough defensively to beat the Ducks. That was apparent. The frustrating thing is that we have no idea how good the Husky offense would have been if not for the rash of injuries. The ground game is coming along as the young linemen become more comfortable run blocking, but the pass blocking is still lacking. And because it had been so bad against LSU and Stanford, there seems to be no confidence in it at all any more. The midrange passing game has disappeared almost completely as the Huskies have transformed into a horizontal passing team. Most of the passing damage is done on quick hitters to the wideouts. Those plays work frequently, but when you're only getting small chunks of yards, if you miss on one play you're kind of boned. There's no explosiveness in the offense, and it's frustrating to watch.
This was a bad result, make no mistake, but in looking at the season as a whole, the Huskies are pretty much right where we had expected, even hoped, they'd be. Most thought that winning three of the first six this season (setting aside final scores) would mean the Huskies were doing pretty good. Be frustrated with this game, yes, but remember that this team, record-wise, is doing well, and may even be ahead of where we had hoped they'd be. Just hope that they benefit from coming home out of Washington's Mexico, show that their locking down a pro style was no fluke when they play USC, and can adapt to defending a spread no-huddle better when they face Arizona. Lot of season to be played yet, and I hope nobody is on the ledge because the Huskies lost to the #2 team in the country.