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The good, the bad & the unknown: Stanford

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The good, the bad and the unknown of Washington’s 44-6 demolition of Stanford.

NCAA Football: Stanford at Washington Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

The Good

All I Saw Was Purple Redux - I couldn’t think of a better way to describe this game. A marquee match-up against an in-conference power in an electric Husky Stadium where the Huskies come out and just utterly manhandle their opponent, particularly up front and on defense. That was a magical Friday night for the ages.

The Arrival - This was the biggest tipping point game the Huskies have had in ages. If they would have lost by 14 or even in another close one to Stanford, it might have felt like business as usual, but the Huskies did the exact opposite and showed they are a legit Pac-12 championship favorite and Playoff contender.

Crowd - I watched from TV, but I could still tell that was the most turned up the stadium had been since probably the 2001 Michigan game. The fans delivered.

Physicality - From the opening kickoff to Christian McCaffrey, the Huskies showed they were going to out-physical the West’s most-physical team and weren’t going to pull any punches. I loved the confidence to kick to McCaffrey every time and even the early personal foul penalties were all effort plays were Husky defenders delivered physical blows.

Defensive line - The defense as a whole was lights out, but holy shit, that defensive front was fierce. Gaines, Qualls, Vea, were as good as any trio of 300 plus defensive lineman I have maybe ever seen and Wooching and Mathis played the games of their lives on the ends.

Psalm Wooching & Joe Mathis - These guys deserve huge praise. They didn’t have their best games at Arizona, and I was legitimately worried about how the defensive end positions would hold up as the season went on, but they dominated Stanford’s tackles. They combined for five sacks, were strong in run defense and regularly put pressure even if they didn’t get the sack.

Azeem Victor - Victor was the leader and center of the defense and didn’t seem to take anything but a superb angle all night and delivered blows when he had the chance.

Offensive line - This was the best performance by a Husky offensive line against a major opponent since the early-2000s. The offensive line took control early against a Stanford front which is one of the best in the conference and never let up. From start to finish, they controlled the game.

Jake Browning - It was a near-flawless game for Browning. He controlled the offense from the get go and his first touchdown pass was a thing of beauty.

Running backs - Myles Gaskin and Lavon Coleman are looking like one of the best running back combos Washington has ever seen. Gaskin looked as slippery as he has this season and got his first 100 yard game of the season and two scores. Coleman averaged 6.7 yards per-carry and put an exclamation point on the game with his touchdown run.

Coverage - Sidney Jones and Kevin King were blankets. One reason Ryan Burns and Keller Chryst got sacked so much was because receivers were rarely open downfield.

Health - Are we seriously five weeks into the season without one serious in-season injury on the board? You couldn’t ask for much better health.

The Bad

Nope!

The Unknown

Playoffs? With a Top 5 ranking and one of the biggest and best wins in college football in their back pocket now, the Huskies are a true Playoff contender. Can they maintain this the rest of the way though? The Pac-12 conference season is a slog, and the Huskies will probably have to win out to get to the Playoffs.

Oregon? The Ducks look like one of the worst teams in the Pac-12 right now, but they are still talented and have their backs against the wall, the same way they did last year in Husky Stadium when they came out swinging (though without Vernon Adams, Tyler Johnstone, and DeForest Buckner). I could see the Ducks struggling the way logic would suggest, but I could also see them come out on fire, with Mark Helfrich coaching for his job again. I’m not sure.

Can the Huskies avoid a hangover? The week after your best game is very commonly when you lay an egg. Can the Huskies avoid the stereotypical post-big win hangover and keep it together down in Eugene?

Can Washington end The Streak? Everything would suggest the Huskies should end the Oregon streak this year, and there isn’t even the Vernon Adam’s return in the back pocket, the Ducks had last year. However, the game is on the road, the Huskies are coming off a peak performance, and the Ducks could be playing to keep their season and coach alive. So you never know...