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The Good, The Bad & The Unknown: Stanford

Another tight one with Stanford has the Huskies walking away with a tough early-season loss.

Steve Dykes

The Good

Korey Durkee: That was about as good of a game as a punter can have. Durkee not only kept the ball away from Husky killer Ty Montgomery, but regularly gave the Huskies major points in the field position game in a game where field position was just about everything.

The Defense (two parts):

1. The front seven: Danny Shelton and company were once again rock solid against a Stanford front that intended to maul them. The guys up front took on Stanford's blue chip linemen and prevented them from dominating the game with the run as they like, going hit-for-hit with one of the toughest teams in college football. They excelled despite being on the field for seemingly the entire game and really toughened up in the red zone while also regularly getting pressure on Kevin Hogan.

2. The back four: These guys have taken a lot of abuse this season, but they had their best game of the year. Stanford might be far from the toughest passing attack that they will pass this year, but stepped up when challenged and came away on top pretty much all game. Special kudos to Naijiel Hale and Budda Baker for making big plays and for Marcus Peters making a huge interception.

Turnover game: They may not have gotten the win, but not turning the ball over against Stanford's defense and remaining at just one turnover five games into the season is amazing. The Huskies may not be taking it to teams too much with their offense, but they surely aren't beating themselves.

Shaq Thompson's rip and run score (and the officials!): Major points for Thompson getting his fourth touchdown of the season by making a straight up impressive individual play on the ball. Have also give the football gods a good on this one as well, as I didn't even get excited when the play happened because I was sure it would be reversed, but the officials did the situation right given what happened on the field. I feel like situations like this are 50/50 on whether or not they are good for your team. I immediately thought of this being some kind of cosmic payback for Oregon's opening touchdown last season when the whistle should have been blown but they let the play go.

Stanford's defense: Not excusing the Husky offense for being putrid, but at the same time I kind of have to with how good Stanford's defense is. These guys simply don't miss tackles and don't get fooled and in my personal opinion, it is a beautiful thing to watch. My personal favorite thing their defense does is almost never let quarterbacks escape sacks and make plays with their feet (my personal least favorite play to have happen to my teams) and that's why they have beaten Oregon the past two years.

The Bad

The offense (four parts, god damnt)

1. The line: The line played against an excellent front, but still failed to open any holes in the run game or protect Miles much at all. What was supposed to be a strength going into the season has pretty much been a liability every game at least at times.

2. Running backs: These guys aren't working with much, but man they haven't been able to make anyone miss or bounce a run back out all season. Hopefully that can change against softer defenses.

3. Quarterback: Other than for a brief moment on their one touchdown drive, Miles was completely ineffectual against Stanford. That's not the world's biggest insult as so was Keith Price his first two tries as well as Brett Hundley and Marcus Mariota just about every time that they have met, but there is no real excuse for just how bad Miles was Saturday. Most of all, on the last play of the game "Throw the f****** ball!!!!!!" Give your team a shot to make a play.

4. Coaches: I rarely join the "I know better than the coaches pack," but I was pretty disappointed with Washington's offensive attack Saturday. It seemed as if they were trying to go for too much trickery to try and fool the unfoolable and I would have preferred to just see them slug away with the game tied and try to crack a run or short pass to steal a score and shorten the game.

That missed extra point: I can't believe I forgot about it, but that botched extra point ended up being a big one for the Huskies. I have to think that if they had a 14-13 lead as opposed to a tie late, that they would have avoided some of the gambles that may have cost them the game. This is troublesome as a missed extra also could have really hurt them against Eastern Washington as well.

Gambles (two parts)

1. The fake punt: I get why Chris Petersen did it, but that doesn't make it any better. Needing 10 yards for the first down against a team that rarely makes mistakes, at mid-field with your punter hot as hell in a tie game, I just think that you give your defense a chance to win the game. I honestly thought that the defense had a better shot at scoring on or creating a turnover deep in Stanford territory or forcing a punt and getting a block or big return than the offense did at getting a score anyway.

2. The re-kick: Once again, I got the decision at the time, but it just about couldn't have gone worse and was maybe just a little bit more of over-thinking things.

Needless to say, the Huskies rolled the dice twice when they really didn't need to and came up snake eyes.

Hogan escapes: I already explained that letting a quarterback get out of a sack to make a play is my least favorite play in football and the Huskies gave up quite a few to Hogan. The Huskies regularly got pressure, but far too often Hogan got out and turned what could have been losses into positive plays. They are going to have to shore this up before they face Oregon and UCLA or Mariota and Hundley will kill them.

The Unknown

Does this mean anything? I know five weeks in is still pretty long to feel like you don't know a team, but I truly don't. Was Miles and the offenses' struggles just part of Stanford's greatness on defense, or are they truly in trouble? Does taking Stanford to the wire mean that the Huskies can compete with the Pac-12's elite, or was it just a good match-up at home? I really don't know.

Road trip? After a road trip to an empty stadium in paradise and four straight home games the Huskies are finally going to hit the road for two-straight tough games. As we remember with the previous staffs, almost any road games can be tricky, so it will be very interesting to see how this staff and team respond to playing on the road in the Pac-12 for the first time, especially with the pressure of starting conference play 0-3 a real possibility.

Ready to run? After playing a slugfest of a pitcher's duel against Stanford, the Huskies are going to have to quickly prepare for taking on two of the fastest, most-prolific offenses in the nation back-to-back in Cal and Oregon. The Huskies have played just fine against physical pro-style teams in recent history, but the dynamic, up-tempo style offenses that Cal and Oregon play have almost always given them fits. These two are especially troublesome as both love to air it out and last time someone aired it out against the Huskies (an FCS team no less), they passed for seven touchdowns and endless yards against Washington's questionable secondary.

Will Chris Petersen and his staff be able to change that? And will the Huskies be able to win a shootout if they have to?