All of the focus for Washington is going to be on the upcoming match up with the premier juggernaut of college football, Alabama. As well it should be. The national media seemed to forget about Washington’s win against Colorado the day after it happened, instead opting to put its focus on the three Husky victories to open the season.
Somehow, the story wasn’t about the fact that Washington just dominated the No. 8 team in the country. Fortunately for you, beloved reader, us UW Dawg Pound haven’t forgotten. You will get your full slate of post-game shenanigans from us.
Offensive Game Ball: Jake Eldrenkamp
In the second Game Awards of the season, I posited that if an offensive lineman was going to win the coveted UW Dawg Pound Game Ball then it was going to be Trey Adams, doing a masterful job of shutting down an elite pass rusher. I am going back on that because Eldrenkamp had arguably the best game of any Husky lineman all season.
Eldrenkamp and Adams weren’t just road graders against the Buffs, the pair brutally mugged anyone foolish enough to step into their alley. Per Pro Football Focus, the Huskies ran for 156 yards on runs to the left of the center. Key to every single yard run to the left of the center is the left guard, and Eldrenkamp was the perfect example of that.
Unofficial reenactment of Jake Eldrenkamp’s blocking:
When the blocking takes out defenders like that
Defensive Game Ball: Taylor Rapp
Rapp wasn’t satisfied with Pac-12 Defensive Freshman of the Year. The Championship MVP’s two interceptions in the title game showed just how opportunistic he could be, and how dynamic he will be over the next several seasons.
No, Rapp wasn’t perfect. He allowed several completions and his first interception was a pass that should have been completed. That doesn’t matter. What matters is that he scored a touchdown. What matters is that he is a true freshman. What matters is that he took the ball from Colorado twice. Chris Petersen has talked about how the Huskies have gotten better every single week; nobody personifies the improvement more than Taylor Rapp.
Most Important Play: Any play where Myles Gaskin or Lavon Coleman touched the ball
Maybe this is a cop out of a selection, but that’s okay. Both running backs rushed for over 100 yards. Gaskin had 29 carries and Coleman was handed the ball 18 times himself. When one of them possessed the ball (including Gaskin’s reception) the Dawgs averaged 5.9 yards gained. It was really needed on a day when Jake Browning struggled mightily.
Credit has to be given to Jonathan Smith for showing such dedication to the run game. With a probable Heisman finalist at quarterback, it’s difficult to stick with the offensive plan that hasn’t resulted in 9.29 (after his game) yards per attempt. The staff was able to identify a weakness and exploit it over and over again.
The most impressive play to me was overturned so it isn’t going to be an actual award, but I want to point out just how good Budda Baker is. He picked off a Stephen Montez pass but just landed out of bounds (and tweaked his ankle in the process, but returned).
Budda Baker shows elite agility and recognition of the play and situation https://t.co/uVeQ6uGBG0— Ben Kenobi (@KnibbeBen) December 5, 2016
Just like the caption says, Baker shows the many talents that make him such a good player. He is able to change directions quickly, as he has to at the very beginning of the Vine to keep up with Ross in motion. Then, as soon has he recognizes the route, he jumps it. He doesn’t look at Montez, only the receiver. By the time he breaks, the ball is on its way and Baker almost overruns the pass. That is really the reason that he didn’t land in bounds.
That’s what I got. Focus for me is moving on to New Year's Day.