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The good, the bad & the unknown: Stanford

With heartbreak, comes learning for the Huskies after a last minute loss to the Cardinal.

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

The Good

Keith Price - Price arguably had his best Pac-12 game as a Husky and if not his "best," at least his gutsiest. I hated week-after-week of putting this post together last season and always having to put Price under bad, so it felt awesome to finally see him not only play the way we know he can play, but do it against one of the best defenses in the country. Everyone has always been waiting for Price to step up and be a catalyst as opposed to a liability in a big game against a good defense and Saturday was that time.

Marcus Peters and Travis Feeney - A number of players had outstanding games on defense, but these two guys were the ones that stood out the most. It seemed like Feeney was around the ball every play: he had a sack-and-a-half, his aggressiveness was perfectly timed and he was right there to make the defensive play of the game with Peters when Kevin Hogan rolled out on third down. Speaking, of Peters, he had one of the best games I can ever remember a Husky cornerback having. He made a difficult interception, never got beat (even on the touchdown he gave up - just an unreal pass and catch), was deadly in run support and made the aforementioned defensive play of the game beautifully.

Mental toughness - We have seen it so many times during the past decade of Husky football. The Huskies are in the game with a top team until one backbreaking play or drive and then suddenly it is a 20-25-point loss. The Huskies took a number of these knockout punches in a couple of brutalizing drives for touchdowns from Stanford, a heartbreaking touchdown right before the half, a late interception in the red zone, etc... but just kept getting back up and going back to business. That's a sign that a team truly has it together.

The Bad

Penalties (and Land Clark's crew) - Well, this was the game where the excessive penalties finally bit the Huskies, and it bit them hard. Even though the dreaded Land Clark's crew clearly had a bunch of questionable calls (almost all of which were against the Huskies), including the reversal that ended up ending the game with the Huskies threatening. I'm not going to pin all of the blame on the officials, but I can't think that there's any way to not think that they did a terrible job. I don't think it was brought up enough either that they missed a couple of punishing late hits on Keith Price while they seemed to be flagging everything else.

Special Teams - I can't think of another game where simple special teams lost the game for the Huskies other than this one. The big returns by Ty Montgomery and pooch kick debacle were obvious, but the Huskies lack of threat in their own return game and short punts were also pretty painful.

Fake injuries - I'll admit that I laughed and thought it was fair in a way when Cal got caught faking injuries to slow down Oregon a few years back and I still don't really think it is that unfair when facing no huddles, but how poorly the Cardinal pulled off their injury charade was offensive. Sarkisian rightfully called it out and it could have ended up costing the Huskies the game as Ben Gardner and Shayne Skov's poor acting likely cost the Husky offense a ton of momentum and the opportunity to take advantage of a reeling Cardinal defense.

The Unknown

Keith Price's thumb - Price injured his thumb on his throwing hand late in the game and appeared to be in serious pain. He remained in the game, but it was clearly really bothering him. Sarkisian seems confident that he is fine, but hopefully it is something that will completely go away and not linger.

Special teams against Oregon - The Huskies were abysmal in their defense Stanford's kick and punt returns and even though it's unclear if De'Anthony Thomas will play Saturday, it doesn't bode well at all with Oregon looming. Ty Montgomery is a solid player, but the Huskies made him look like a Heisman candidate in the return game so it's going to be pretty scary against Thomas or Bralon Addison if they can't patch it up this week.

Austin Seferian-Jenkins - The All-American looked nearly invisible for most of the game again (though he was great in run blocking), as he was rarely targeted and then he had a crushing drop on third down when he was finally needed. Will we ever see the Seferian-Jenkins of old return? Or will he simply be a solid supporting player in the passing game in what is assumed to be his last year as a Husky?

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