Yet again... the second half - It seems like it can no longer be a coincidence that the Huskies once against came out flat (especially on offense again) only to get things going again in the second half to make a game of things. If nothing else, this regime appears to be great at halftime adjustments.
Elijah Qualls - Qualls was a one-man wrecking crew up front for the Huskies and looked like Danny Shelton while really holding the defensive front together when they needed it. He was also huge in creating pressure up the middle to get at Jared Goff.
Finding a way - This regime also seems to be skilled at finding a way to keep themselves in the game even when their offense can make anything happen. Once again, the Huskies were in prime position to win a game they shouldn't have.
A little trickery - They didn't execute it, but I liked it when the Huskies caught Cal off guard with a short kick that I still don't know how they recovered and went deep after a goal line stand that turned into a disaster when Browning didn't execute the pass, Marvin Hall didn't break up the interception and the Cal defender made a great play. They may have not worked, but I liked these moves and they easily could have gone the Huskies' way on most days.
Pressure - I was glad to see that the Huskies were able to get regular pressure against a Pac-12 front and regularly sack, hit and keep Jared Goff on the move.
Jared Goff - It didn't show up on the stat sheet as well as it could have (partially due to dropped passes), but Jared Goff had a lights out game and looks like a number one draft pick to me. There were countless times where the Bears needed an elite throw to keep the chains moving and he just kept making them and making them, breaking the back of the Husky defense. I hope this is his final season in the Pac-12.
Fumbles, dear lord - it is amazing the Huskies were able to take the game down to the wire with three lightly-forced fumbles. You cannot win games against decent teams when you give up the ball on average tackles, especially when you are driving for the winning score.
Jake Browning - Browning still looks like the long-term answer to me and had a drive where he was on, but he looked like a freshman Saturday. He held onto the ball for too long, missed some easy passes, made some bad decisions and threw two really bad interceptions.
Receivers (or lack thereof) - Part of why Browning struggled was that the Huskies have worst receiver group in the Pac-12. The limited unit simply wasn't open a lot on Saturday, dropped some passes, fumbled and simply doesn't pose a threat to defenses (they really miss John Ross).
Offensive game plan - I really don't know how a running back averages nearly 11 yards per-carry and only gets 10 carries when you are going against a really suspect defense, your freshman quarterback is struggling and your defense needs a rest.
Hanging the defense out to dry - I don't know how much longer I can watch Husky defenses give tough performances only to get hung out to dry over and over and over again. Holding Cal to 30 points with the amount of turnovers thrust upon them should have been enough for the Husky defense to lead the way to a win.
Tackling - With that said, the Husky defense was far from perfect with their biggest struggle being an inability to simply tackle again. The Husky defense frequently let what should have been limited gains from an average at best big back for Cal turn into big gains and regularly let Goff escape sacks by not breaking down and wrapping up.
Third down defense - The Huskies just couldn't seem to quite get to Goff on third down or break up enough passes. It was one of those games where it seemed like the only way they were getting off the field on third and long was if Goff missed the pass on his own accord or the receiver dropped it.
No Budda - Part of that was probably missing Budda Baker, whose ability to cover the entire secondary with his speed was sorely missed Saturday. That was the kind of game that Baker was built for.
Goff escapes - Letting a guy with the limited mobility of Goff regularly escape sacks was painful to watch and having a defensive lineman not be able to stuff him from getting a game-ending first down made the final buzzer just that much more painful.
Goff fumble - Maybe I missed something, but I don't understand how Goff's fumble late in the fourth was not overturned. I could live with this one if they hadn't overturned that backbreaking Bryce Treggs catch way downfield on third and long that looked like it was 51/49 catch/out-of-bounds at best in super slow motion, but not definitive enough to overturn. I could live with one or the other, but not both.
In a side note though, I will give the usually awful Land Clark (the fact I know his name means he sucks) credit for overturning the block below the waist that would have taken back Sidney Jones' fumble return TD. I feel like Pac-12 refs usually don't make the right move there.
Schedule - The Huskies get a bye, yipee!!!! Oh wait... It's followed up by at USC, Oregon and at Stanford. WHY DOES THE PAC-12 DO THIS TO THE HUSKIES EVERY YEAR!?!?!? Getting a single win in October is going to be tough sledding and Petersen will have to find a way to get his team to pull off a big upset and/or stay strong despite opening 0-4.
Bowl game? It is hard to imagine the Huskies getting to a bowl game this year in a scenario that has them losing to Boise State and Cal, but I suppose it is still possible with the Arizona schools and Oregon looking much more vulnerable than they did in preseason, but I wouldn't bet on it.
Where is the offense? The offense had about two nice drives, but other than that got snuffed to 17 points and 256 yards at home by a Cal defense that got beyond shredded by a putrid Texas offense the week before. This offense doesn't look any better than it did last season. Can it improve?
Jake Browning? I have confidence in Browning becoming the best Husky QB since Cody Pickett, but he isn't the kind of player that can do it without receivers and without an offensive line and I am a little worried about him becoming shell shocked if the offense around him can't come together a little bit and if the team only wins 3-4 games this year.
Jonathan Smith? Smith is simply not popular and has yet to instill any confidence in the fan base. Will Petersen have to face a tough decision this year if he can't start finding some magic?
Budda Baker? Ankle sprains are the worst, but hopefully a week off can get Baker back on the field soon. The Huskies are really going to need him against the air attacks of USC and Oregon.
USC? The Trojans looked electric playing against Arizona State and there is no reason to think they won't be favored by at least 20 when the Huskies come to town. Also, as we should all know, Sark generally struggled to get his teams to play up to teams that are better than them, but almost always blows out opponents when he should. Do the Huskies have a chance against their old coach?