In yet another sign of the disappointment that 2014 has become, the Huskies kicked off their Senior Night against the Oregon State Beavers in the dreaded 7:30pm PT time slot on a cool, damp night in Seattle. Both teams came into the night desperate for a win. The Huskies were coming off a classic "Coug It" affair in the deserts of Tuscon and were still looking for that win that would lock up bowl eligibility. The Beavers were coming off a huge upset of Arizona State but still a win away from their own bowl eligibility with the Civil War their only remaining opportunity to earn it.
Needless to say, both teams had something to play for on Saturday night, no matter how few people on the East Coast were actually tuned into the game.
The Huskies got off to a pretty good start in this one. Cyler Miles came out highly efficient, Jaydon Mickens caught a long TD pass, Dwayne Washington ripped off a long TD run and the Huskies D harassed Oregon State for most of the first half as they built up a 17-0 lead. However, QB Sean Mannion claimed the momentum back late in the 2nd quarter when he coverted a 3rd and 25 for a 70 yard gain to WR Victor Bolden. This huge play turned into a quick TD pass from Mannion to WR Jordan Villamin to close the half.
The second half looked like it would be a continuation of Oregon State's momentum. After a quick 3 and out by the Huskies, Oregon State got the ball back and converted yet another long pass play. However, LB Travis Feeney picked off Mannion on the next play which turned into three points for the Huskies.
From that point, UW was able to maintain and build on their lead. Cyler remained efficient, the defense created pressure with just four rushers (or sometimes just three) and Mickens converted yet another big play in the fourth quarter to lock up UW's victory.
In what will be the last game at Husky Stadium for a number of UW seniors, the Huskies turned in their most complete game of the season. In doing so, they reached bowl eligibility and set themselves up to be assured of a bid should they find a way to pull out an Apple Cup victory next weekend in Pullman.
Instant Reaction Dots
- Hau'oli Kikaha opened up the game with a sack on QB Sean Mannion. How appropriate on Senior Night?
- How much money, I wonder, did Sean Mannion cost himself by not coming out for the NFL draft one year ago? At this point, I'd guess that he is not draftable.
- There was a play with 5 mins to go in the first quarter on 3rd and 5 where OSU sent a blitz with their WLB. Cyler stood in there and completed it for a first down to Jaydon Mickens while getting hit hard in the face. On the very next play, Cyler stood in the pocket again on another blitz but overthrew Dante Pettis - but stood in there nonetheless. The next play was the long TD run by Dwayne Washington. My friends, that series exemplifies the growth that we are seeing in this offense and in this QB. Those passes against the blitz created that rush opportunity.
Washington Huskies (@UWAthletics) November 23, 2014
- Anybody notice any issues with snapping tonight? Anybody? Anybody? Bueller?
- Cyler Miles had as good a first half as we've seen in a long time from a Husky QB. He was 13/15 with one of the two incompletes being a Joshua Perkins drop on an easy first down conversion. He continued that rhythm all night and had one of his best games as a Husky. The rhythm felt very similar to that which we saw in Pasadena a year ago. Ball handling continues to be an issue, though.
- Oregon State blitzed a lot tonight - a whole lot. You really saw it affect the running game. I think UW did OK handling it and converting a few plays. However, we never really burned OSU for doing it until Jaydon's fly sweep early in the fourth. We need to go beyond just managing it and get better at really punishing teams for that kind of aggressiveness.
- I've said this before, but every time DE Joe Mathis rotates in, he pops. He had another sack tonight and was disruptive in his limited snaps.
- Hello Darrell Daniels. Where you been?
- For all the guff that we've given Jonathan Smith, we've all overlooked the job that DC Pete Kwiatkowski is doing with this Husky D. Not only has every player that he's inherited improved individually, but he continues to pull the right levers schematically to not only cover his green secondary but to shut down opposing offenses. Fans bemoan the three and four man rushes, but it works. You know it does when you see the opponent run screens and lateral passes play after play. PK needs to get some acknowledgment for his steady hand.
- Imagine the chaos these Dawgs will cause next season when it actually can afford to blitz. As I type this, I can only recall a couple - John Ross's corner blitz in the first half, a LB blitz in the red zone in the fourth and ... uhhhh. There were probably more, but they clearly weren't eye-opening enough to register.
- Speaking of coaching, I spent a lot of time watching Mike Criste tonight. He was outstanding. The greatest unanswered coaching question of the season is why it has taken Chris Strausser half a season to get Criste in the lineup and all the way to Week 13 to get him in at C.
- God Bless Budda Baker. That kid is truly fearless, but his body is not yet up to the tasks that his mind sets it to. Baker had a tough night both in trying to bring bigger ball carriers down and in giving up that long pass play to Victor Bolden in the second quarter.
- The pistol formation, which was a staple under Steve Sarkisian, made its return in this week's game plan. It wasn't every play, but I did like the way Dwayne Washington looked running the ball from directly behind Cyler Miles.
- I loved watching CB Sidney Jones competing with 6'4" 240lb Jordan Villamin. He's not ready yet, but he is sure competing like a shutdown corner. Oh, and Villamin is a future beast. Mark that one down.
- I'm not loving watching Dante Pettis as a punt returner. It's not so much the fielding of kicks inside the 10 (which happened in the second quarter), but it is more that his first step is more often lateral than vertical after the catch.
- Did it not look like Dwayne Washington was about to claim the title of "feature back" ... until his second half fumble. It was Lavon Coleman from that point forward, was it not?
- Kickoffs remain a significant problem. It is hard to fathom that with three scholarship kickers that we cannot find one who can regularly kickoff into the endzone, much less out of it.
- John Ross III had an interesting game, racking up his first career Roughing the Passer penalty. Otherwise, he played lights out at CB. It'll be interesting to see if he sticks on defense once Jermaine Kelly returns and guys like Naijiel Hale and Darren Gardenhire notch another offseason under their belts.
- Finally, how awesome was it to see Andrew Hudson register two fourth quarter sacks as a capper on his Husky Stadium career? That guy is Mr. Inspirational this season and his is the story of the year for 2014. Good things can happen to good people.