One week Husky fans worry about the offense, the next week Husky fans worry about the defense. It goes back and forth. This week, it was the defense that held its own and the offense couldn't keep up. Cyler Miles had his worst game in his admittedly short Husky career. 3.9 yards per attempt bad.
Stanford is the best defense the Huskies have played this season, without a doubt. The total ineptitude of the offense was just unacceptable. The offense as a whole averaged 2.6 yards per play. I don't know where that stands historically, but it has to be one of the worst in a long, long time.
For more of a play-by-play recap, go here.
- An interesting wrinkle for the Husky defense was moving Shaq from linebacker to strong safety at times during the game. Kevin King was listed as the starter, but it was Budda Baker and Shaq doing a lot of the work at the back end of the secondary, though Thompson still spent a lot of time in the box and around the line of scrimmage. This was likely an attempt by the coaching staff to get more size in the game to deal with the power running game of Stanford.
With Thompson moving back to safety, Cory Littleton, Travis Feeney and Keishawn Bierreia, rotated in outside linebacker. Shaq still spent time at linebacker as well. Shaq also spent time making a heck of a lot of plays all over the field.
- The secondary also saw a lot of rotating pieces, and Naijel Hale got the start as a true freshman, and showed he earned his spot on the field with a nice pass breakup after baiting Kevin Hogan. Hale started after Marcus Peters started on the sidelines after saving a Ty Montgomery touchdown on the opening kickoff. His absence was likely injury-related, but minor enough that he returned a series later.
- Dropped interceptions hurt the Huskies early on. Shaq still ended up with the fumble trifecta of forcing a fumble, recovering it and taking it to the house, along with forcing another he was one of several Huskies alongside Peters and John Timu to drop potential interceptions, including a potential pick-six for Timu. Kevin Hogan isn't regarded as the most accurate of passers, and early on the Dawgs failed to capitalize on it until Peters stole a back-shoulder fade.
- Stanford always has one of the best offensive lines in the country, and it did a very good job of "neutralizing" Danny Shelton, who looked more like 2013 Shelton (still one of the best nose tackles in the country) in taking up lots of blocks and still pushing linemen around. That's how good Shelton has been this season, he has been "neutralized" when he plays more like a very good nose tackle instead of the best in the country.
Haou'oli Kikaha was somewhat quiet rushing the passer, not getting consistent pressure. Kikaha did have a strip-sack on Hogan that forced a subsequently missed field goal, but whenever he would beat the tackle off the edge, Hogan would have room to step up into the pocket and typically scramble up the field for five to 10 yards.
- The offense got nothing going at all. John Ross needs more touches on offense. He is small, a little dinged up and prone to getting more dinged up, but when you are declining field position at the 35-yard line to let Ross return a kick, you know you have a special talent. Go out of your way to get him touches on offense, he is very dynamic with the football, that we know.
I was actually okay with the decision to let Ross return the kick, the only problem with that was that Ross knew as soon as he caught the football there was nowhere to go. The only other kickoff Ross received with the wind at his back went for a touchdown before it was called back.
Kasen Williams needs to be used on more than just go routes. Erik touched on this earlier this week, and he couldn't be more right.
Who is our 3rd stringer?— Spencer Hawes (@spencerhawes00) September 27, 2014
Yeah, Miles was that bad today. His pocket presence wasn't good, hasn't been good. His arm wasn't all that accurate outside of the "deep" 25-yard TD pass to Jaydon Mickens. His legs weren't even too much of a weapon either. Now, it it did appear that Stanford was forcing the ball to go up the middle on option plays, but his legs are his best asset, and they weren't on display.
Huskies get a bye to attempt to right the ship this week.