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The Good, The Bad & The Unknown: Cal

The Huskies put together their most impressive performance of the season in Berkeley.

Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

The Good

The defense (as a whole) - This was Washington's defense's best performance against a good offense in a long time and at least since last year's destruction of Oregon State on the road. There were some great individual performances by certain players, but as a whole, the unit played almost perfectly together and did everything you would pretty much want a defense to, specifically terrorizing Jared Goff and setting up their struggling offense perfectly. The front seven got after Goff on almost every passing play and the defensive backs played Cal's red-hot passing game better than anyone else has this season.

Hau'oli Kikaha - The nation's outright leader in sacks and tackles-for-loss was at his best, making life miserable for Jared Goff all day. Kikaha finished with three sacks, 4.5 tackles-for-loss and a forced fumble and countless hurries. He is going to make it really hard for any traditional drop-back passer to succeed against the Huskies if they don't have an elite offensive line.

Shaq Thompson - Thompson was all over the place in his final homecoming game - leading the team with 11 tackles. He made the play of the game that went a long way in demoralizing Cal in grabbing a fumble and taking it back 100 yards for the opening touchdown. I can't find anything on it, but I have to think that Thompson has a great shot at breaking the national record for fumbles returned for touchdowns in a season and overall defensive touchdowns in a season.

Coaching - Following up a game where I thought the Husky staff struck out, I really liked what they did in this game. On offense, I thought the Huskies did an excellent job of mixing up run and pass and being unpredictable while also shutting things down and running clock when they needed to. On defense, I loved the scheme of trusting their front to get pressure on Cal, and never letting it up, while letting their young secondary sit back and keep things in front of them. Also, overall, this seemed like the most poised, yet active I think I have seen the team all season.

Cyler Miles, game manager - This was far and away Miles' best game as a Husky. He did just what he needed to do, making plays when they were there and not forcing things in a game where he didn't need to along with using his feet when he needed to. He has a long ways to go before becoming a difference maker, but if the defense can play the way they did against Cal, he won't need to be this season for the Huskies to beat most teams.

John "This guy needs a good nickname" Ross - Ross once again simply looked like the most electrifying player I have ever seen in a Husky uniform. He has that ultra-rare quality where he looks like he is going at a different speed than everyone else. His one touchdown was a thing of beauty, but he also should have had two more long touchdowns but Miles underthrew him and Coleman Shelton tackled him along with the Pac-12 refs throwing a bad flag.

The Bad

Offensive scoring ability - The offense did exactly what they needed to do to get the win here, but I still kind of hoped that they would have put up a lot more points on the Bears, especially in the second half. The Huskies might not face a softer defense the rest of the season, especially with the extensive injuries Cal had and I am a little concerned that they essentially were only able to score 24 points.

Refs - It didn't matter too much in a dominating game, but Pac-12 crew performed like a Pac-12 crew. It strangely seemed like the Huskies were repeatedly getting shorted on spots while Cal got great spots, there were some awfully pass interference calls and the personal foul against Joshua Perkins really needs to be reviewed and waived, keeping him from being suspended for the first half of the Oregon game.

Rushing ability - The Huskies were able to control the game by moving the chains and taking their time, but they actually struggled to move the ball on the ground against a questionable defense. They need to find a way to average more than 2.9 yards per-carry and find a way to get a back near 100 yards against an FBS opponent.

The Unknown

Will the offensive line ever come full circle? The Huskies were supposed to have one of the most experienced and best offensive lines in the Pac-12 coming into the season, but the unit has been average at best this season. Having Ben Riva in there usually boosts the unit, but his ability to stay healthy this season looks pretty iffy and if he can't be in there, I don't know if the offensive line will ever be more than just a serviceable group.

Is the young secondary ready? The Husky secondary had their best game of the season with the help of the front seven, bottling up one of the nation's best passing attacks, and the young guys in the back are looking a lot better than they did a month ago. Obviously this group of guys have really improved over the course of the season, but are they going to be able to hold their own against a good passing attack if the front seven isn't dominating? We might find out next week.

Can Washington handle a mobile quarterback?

The Huskies contained Jared Goff exceptionally well, but Marcus Mariota is a completely different beast. The Huskies have done well against traditionally quarterbacks like Goff in recent history, but mobile ones like Mariota have given them fits. Can the Husky defense find a way to contain not just a run of the mill mobile quarterback like Kevin Hogan, but the nation's best in Mariota? I have a hard time seeing them beat Oregon if they can't.

How good is Oregon?

Just when it looked like the Ducks were sliding back down to Earth, they get their senior tackle back, shored up their pass protection, rediscovered their run game and got that mojo back where it seems like every bounce goes their way in one week. Based on their win over UCLA, it looks like the Huskies have almost no chance of pulling off the upset in Eugene, but on the other hand, UCLA looked terrible and really played into Oregon's hands with sloppy play. Are the Ducks really back to being an unbeatable (unless you are a Top 10 team) team or did they just have a really good game against UCLA and is UCLA just not a very good team (very possible)?

In my personal opinion, I see a ray of hope. The Ducks are still very good, but not the team they were under Chip Kelly. Case in point from Saturday, the old Ducks never would have let UCLA back into the game in garbage time (they were two converted two-point conversions away from a one-possession game) the way that they did, they would have stretched it out to 62-10 in a hurry and never let up.