The Good, the Bad & the Unknown: UCLA

Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Another frustrating road loss for the Huskies leaves a lot of unanswered questions.


Damore'ea Stringfellow - The freshman had one of the biggest breakout games for a Husky freshman in recent history and he really stepped up to overfill the empty shoes of Kasen Williams. Stringfellow made plays all night finishing with 8 catches for 147 yards and a touchdowns, and oh yeah, those stats don't include another long touchdown catch that he should have had that was called back for a phantom penalty.

Deep passes - Speaking of deep passes... the Huskies showed that they can connect on deep passes as Stringfellow and Marvin Hall beat the Bruins deep a number of times and Price was able to hit them. If the Huskies can keep connecting on bombs it should pay major dividends in the run game against softer front sevens.

Comeback - For all of the pain of once again losing on the road and making an opponent look better than they really are, the Huskies were able to take a game that was getting out of hand in the second quarter and turned it into a game. It looked like it was going to be the same old road kill when the Huskies fell behind 27-7, but their ability to score 17 unanswered after that saved them from yet another utter embarrassment on the road.

Danny Shelton & Shaq Thompson - I'm reluctant to say anything positive about the defense after a game where they really lost it for the Huskies, but these two guys stood alone by having great performances. Shelton led the team with an incredible 10 tackles, including one for loss in a big third-and-short stand and Thompson was all over the place on blitzes and had two tackles-for-loss.

The Bad

Early fumbles and failure to recover - Pretty obvious here. They were both pretty random and just kind of the bounces that you get in football sometimes, but Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Bishop Sankey's fumbles put the Huskies in the 14-0 hole that they never got out of. Throw in the Thompson's inability to collect a Myles Jack fumble in the second quarter that resulted in a huge gain for the Bruins as opposed to a game-changing turnover.

Run game (offense & defense) - The Huskies did a good job of limiting Brett Hundley's ability to make plays with his feet, but made up for it by letting any and every UCLA ball carrier who touched the ball carve them up and by failing to open up much of anything for Sankey. On defense, the Huskies didn't give up big runs, but consistently missed tackles and let the Bruins get the yards they needed whenever they needed it seemingly every time giving up 222 in all to the Bruins who were missing their best running back in Jordon James. On offense, Sankey had to shake defenders to even get a yard every time he had the ball.

Myles Jack - Especially frustrating in the Husky run defense was their inability to stop Jack when they knew that the freshman linebacker was going to get the ball almost every time he was in the game on offense. Jack didn't have to do much as he mainly only got the ball in goal line situations, but the Huskies failed to stop him every time.

Penalties - Once again, brutal 11 for 113 yards. Steve Sarkisian has to be regretting mentioning that he was in the Chip Kelly mindset that they don't matter earlier in the season. However...

Refs - I usually swing towards ignoring including discussing calls in articles, but upon watching the game in a replay it would be pretty hard not to. Usually in games, you can say that for every bad call that goes your way, you get one back, but man, it was almost comical how everything in the call department that could swing Washington or UCLA's way swung blue and gold.

Some highlights:

  • Seferian-Jenkins fumble on opening drive where it seemed like he only caught the ball for a quarter-of-a-second.
  • Potential UCLA fumble recovered by the Huskies on immediate play after Sankey's fumble not even reviewed.
  • Crucial UCLA catch on running back pass where the receiver lost the ball not reviewed.
  • Inexplicable Dexter Charles hands to the face penalty erases touchdown.

The Unknown

Keith Price - It's really unfortunate that Price went down with a shoulder injury, because he was having one of the best games of his career against a good team and now it's unclear when Price will come back. Cyler Miles looked solid in relief, but the deep passing game really disappeared after Price left and the Huskies will really need him in their remaining, very winnable games. When will they get him back?

Team mindset - The atmosphere around Washington football seems to be pretty cloudy as for the third-straight year, it looks like the Huskies just aren't ready to take the next step yet again and are likely going to finish with somewhere between 6-8 wins with Sarkisian's job now coming into question. With all of the talk about stagnation and Sarkisian's job security, you have to start to wonder how the team is feeling and how they are going to respond in the final two games.

Road woes - The Huskies once again showed that they can't beat decent teams on the road, but they will immediately get one more shot to do it in Corvallis Saturday. The Beavers are actually far and away the least-challenging of any of the Huskies' road opponents this season, but right now, confidence in their ability to beat anyone on the road is so low, I think all Husky fans are skeptical if they can beat a solid team like the Beavers on the road.

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