Grading the Game: Colorado Edition

Keith Price carved up Colorado for the 3rd year in a row - Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

Washington rolled up over 600 yards of offense for the 4th time this season and the defense chipped in with 2 TD's as the Huskies overwhelmed the struggling Buffs of Colorado. So how did the Huskies grade out in this blowout? Read on...

It was a dominant performance by Washington against Colorado, as they rolled up 464 yards of offense in the 1st half alone and took a 31-7 lead into the locker room.  Keith Price accumulated 312 yards on 22 of 29 passing, and the Huskies didn't pass the ball once in the 2nd half.  The defense joined in the fun in the 3rd quarter, generating 3 turnovers and returning two of them for TD's.  By the time the game was over, Washington had their biggest win over an FBS opponent since the 1991 National Championship season, and their 4th 600+ yard output on offense on the season, something they'd done only 6 times total prior to the year.  Let's take a look at how each position group did:

QB: Keith Price must keep voodoo dolls of Colorado in his room, because he's absolutely owned them in each of the 3 times he's faced them.  Given time to throw, he carved up the Buffalo secondary and rediscovered the awesomeness that it Austin Seferian-Jenkins, putting up jump balls that only he could catch.  Price also showed off some wheels, not just evading pressure but taking a couple runs in for TD's, including an 18 yard run punctuated by running through Colorado safety Parker Orms.  He wasn't perfect - there were a couple deep passes he'd like to have back where he didn't give his receiver a chance - but he was accurate, efficient and confident.  It wasn't his best, but it was very close.  Cyler Miles didn't get to pass, but he showed off his wheels with a couple nice runs, and gave a glimpse into how the QB running will be a real threat in the read-option next year.  Grade:  A

RB: It's getting to the point where I can just copy and paste from previous games to describe Bishop Sankey, because really, what's left to be said?  He's an outstanding RB, worthy of All-American consideration.  His ability to find creases and maximize the available yardage by making defenders miss is a joy to watch.  But what was really fun last night was seeing the terrific potential of Dwayne Washington on display.  He's got the size, and you saw his speed, and as he continues to get more reps you can see him getting better at reading his blocking.  From an ability standpoint, he's clearly the #2 back on the roster, especially after a very pedestrian game by Jesse Callier.  The blowout allowed Deontae Cooper to get some more carries, and you can see the rust starting to shake off.  If he can stay healthy through this off-season (*knocking on every available wood surface within reach*), he might yet prove to be a valuable back in the rotation.  Grade:  A

WR/TE: Austin Seferian-Jenkins showed again last night why he is such a weapon in the passing game - his combination of hands, size and body control is tough to stop.  The TD catch reminded me a lot of last year once KP learned to trust that he could throw it high to ASJ and he'd find a way to make the catch.  Even with just 3 catches, you could sense that he's fully back within this offense.  Jaydon Mickens had another strong game, and he and John Ross both showed why the quick swing passes and bubble screens should remain an integral part of the playbook, as they have the speed and moves to consistently pick up good yardage and at times break them for long gainers.  Kevin Smith was solid, but had a couple of passes he'd like back where he couldn't quite come up with the ball.  Josh Perkins showed how he can be a weapon as a slot/H-Back type receiving threat vs. LB's with his TD grab.  Marvin Hall acquitted himself nicely after some big drops vs. Cal, and Demore'ea Stringfellow and DiAndre Campbell did good work blocking on the edge.  Grade:  A-

OL: You have to give credit to your OL when your offense racks up 600+ yards on 7.8 yards/play - they must be doing something right.  While they did surrender a couple of sacks, they were mostly able to give KP the time he needed, and while the run game wasn't as dominant as we've seen in other games, they were effective.  More false start penalties for Colin Tanigawa and some aggression penalties against Dexter Charles show there's still work to be done, but it was also nice to see the 2nd string OL paving holes for Washington and Miles.  Grade:  B

DL: Danny Shelton had himself a pretty good game, showing his power on a bull rush that resulted him him sharing credit with Cory Littleton for a sack, recording another TFL and racking up 6 tackles total.  Littleton was his usual active self, and Josh Shirley showed his big-play ability with the forced fumble that Marcus Peters returned for a score.  While the DL only picked up 1 sack against Sefo Liufau, they were able to get pressure on him and flushed him several times for short gains.  They were gashed a few times vs. the run and will need to clean that up next Friday vs. UCLA, but overall they looked pretty good.  Grade:  B+

LB: It wasn't a standout game for any one guy in this group, but they were solid.  The biggest thing they need to continue working on is wrapping up in tackling - they had trouble with Colorado's big bruiser Christian Powell, and they'll need to do better when facing Brett Hundley and (probably) Myles Jack.  But they were mostly sound with gap control and there weren't too many plays that got past them into the secondary.  With Shaq Thompson knocked out for a few quarters with a stinger, Scott Lawyer got a lot of playing time and was active, tying for the team lead with 6 tackles.  Grade:  B

Secondary: With Colorado WR Paul Richardson battling an ankle injury that ended up sidelining him much of the game, there wasn't a lot of chance to see him battling Marcus Peters.  There was one notable breakdown where Peters handed him off to Kevin King, and the freshman safety simply couldn't keep up with Richardson as Colorado got their only points of the night.  Other than that, the secondary looked strong with Peters deflecting the pass that Tre Watson corralled and took back 84 yards in an impressive run and Sean Parker coming up with another pick.  Travell Dixon forced a fumble in garbage time and Greg Ducre was solid.  Grade:  A-

Special Teams: With no need for field goals or punting, the special teams was all about kickoff coverage and returns in this one, and once again they were outplayed.  While they didn't allow any big plays, the Huskies were not helping themselves with field position.  Our punt returners need to get better at tracking and fielding punts instead of consistently letting them bounce and roll and pinning the Huskies deep, and our kickoff return unit can't seem to get good returns without a penalty called.  Grade:  C-

Coaching: There's not really much to complain about here - the Huskies picked up big chunks of yardage again, and unlike past games they converted those yards into points and had 31 by halftime.  They got ASJ involved, continued to exploit their advantages on the edge with big receivers blocking for the quick guys, got Sankey the rock but didn't overuse him and clearly had their guys ready to go.  The defense went into the bye week with an emphasis on generating turnovers, and they got 3 of them (and returned two for TD's).  Some have criticized Sark for going for it on 4th down early in the 2nd quarter rather than trying the FG to put them up 20-7, but I liked the aggressive nature of the decision (though the call itself wasn't the best) and it played into the way they were coaching the team going into this game.

Bottom line, they outgained Colorado 628-299 and outscored them 59-7.  Colorado is a bad team, but the Huskies did what very good teams do to bad teams, and they looked better in doing it than UCLA did a week prior.  Grade:  A

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