The weather at Husky Stadium on Saturday may have been strictly ugly, and even though a lot of the play on the field was too, it was a positive outcome for the Huskies and the fact that they walked into the warmth of the locker room 4-0 overall and 1-0 in the Pac-12 is all that really matters.
The defense - The defense came in with a very simple plan - slow down Ka'Deem Carey enough to force B.J. Denker to have to pass and then pick him off when he does pass - and they pretty much executed on it. Danny Shelton and the gang up front clogged up everything, the linebackers stuffed Carey sideline to sideline and the secondary made plays on the ball whenever Denker had to put it up.
Bishop Sankey - Sankey shouldered the biggest load he has ever had to carry in his career, did his usual thing of getting the most out of run and never fumbled the ball in miserable conditions. It may have been a grind and a half, but Sankey made it a successful one and out-produced Carey in the affair.
Playing in the rain - Despite being from the Northwest, the stormy forecast actually looked to play more into the ground-oriented attack of the Wildcats than the Huskies who rely a lot on spreading the ball around through the air and moving quickly. Even though the weather seemed to slow their offense a little bit, the Huskies avoided sloppy play and only turned the ball over once on an interception.
Not a ton to point out here this week, but there are still some nitpicks.
Runners left aboard - In each one of the Huskies' games against FBS opponents this year, the Huskies have won relatively comfortably, but you felt like they left a lot of points on the table - especially in the first half. This is fine against the level of competition that they have played thus far, but might be what separates them from becoming a team like Oregon that makes the most out of their opportunities and eviscerates teams when they can.
Body shots - The Huskies knew that Carey was going to be difficult to bring down, especially in the rain, yet a few Huskies still tried to lower the boom on him with their shoulders as opposed to wrapping him up and it was predictably futile. This hasn't really bitten the Huskies hard yet, but it will if they don't learn to stop going for big hits, having a runner shake them off and get downfield - turning a five-yard gain into a touchdown.
Denker's big run - Other than this play, and the fourth down pass to Carey, the Husky defense played almost perfect, but Denker's big run was scary not just because it kept Arizona in the game, but because it seemed like a vision of the future in two weeks. The Husky defense has improved drastically in their defense of run fakes, but bit HARD on the play that got Arizona back into the game and if they do that against Oregon, they have zero chance of staying in the game.
Run blocking - The Huskies gained 244 yards on the ground, but it was a grind and a grind against what was supposed to be maybe the worst defensive front in the Pac-12. The Wildcat front is small and unproven, but the Husky front seemed to look like they did in the Apple Cup last year, where they really struggled to open holes and Sankey had to break a tackle of two to get any yards.
Arizona - Arizona came into the game 3-0 after an 8-5 season and blew out Washington, but they looked pretty horrible Saturday. I would come away from this game thinking the Wildcats will struggle to win many games in the Pac-12 with how bad Denker looked as a passer, but how much did the weather and environment factor into that? I feel like we have done this after each Husky FBS win thus far, but how impressive will this win look down the road? I don't know.
The gauntlet - We have reached what seems to now be the yearly gauntlet where we will truly find out if the Huskies have stepped up to the next level as they play Stanford, Oregon and Arizona State in consecutive weeks. Are the Huskies ready to finally truly play with the big boys? And how many wins in this stretch will be necessary to prove that they are?