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Huskies need overtime to put away Arizona: Instant Reactions

Our takeaways from Washington’s nail-biting win over the Wildcats.

Washington v Arizona Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Chris Petersen’s Washington Huskies hadn’t been tested. Out of its first three opponents, one-and-a-half of them were FCS schools. The Dawgs came into the game heavily favored, and things didn’t start how the plan was written, but the final score ended with the Dawgs having the higher number. The final score of 35-28 in overtime was enough for the ninth-ranked Huskies to take an undefeated record into its matchup with No. 7 Stanford on Friday.

Washington’s vaunted secondary didn’t flex its muscles well early, with Arizona QB Brandon Dawkins completing his first 11 pass attempts for 70 yards. Though the secondary can’t shoulder all, much, or maybe even any blame. The UW front wasn’t able to get any pressure on Dawkins, with his mobility causing additional difficulties.

The issues of the Husky line and linebackers wasn’t limited to just the passing game. True freshman JJ Taylor carried the ball 16 times in the first half for 88 yards and a score. Dawkins also flashed his wheels, with his main highlight being 79-yard scamper down the right sideline that saw him run away from the entire Washington defense.

Fortunately for the Dawgs, John Ross excels at being fast. He had two first-half scores, one on the ground on a reverse and another on a skinny post. Ross is a highlight reel every time he touches the ball, but on his reverse, his quarterback outshone him by breaking a Calvin Allen’s 280-pound soul to spring his receiver to the sideline.

The first half wasn’t without #Pac12AfterDark shenanigans, however. Arizona’s kick and punt returns each gave Washington gifts by muffing bouncing kicks and “giving a waving signal” that gave Arizona terrible field position, gave the Dawgs a free possession after a punt and called back a long return, respectively. Yet UW was unable to truly capitalize on any of these with a three-and-out and short field or with a score.

After Arizona’s two touchdowns on three drives (with the third drive finishing in a fourth-and-goal failure) the Husky defense turned into a stone wall. Taylor was unable to find running lanes before his ankle injury and the coverage stepped it up even another notch. Dawkins is a running quarterback, so his liabilities putting the ball in the air were on full display.

Washington’s offense was able to put up yards in bunches in the second half, but the points weren’t there for the Huskies, who were only able to scrape a single score out of multiple trips deep into Arizona territory until Lavon Coleman put the capper on his best game as a Husky. With the game tied at 21 after Arizona was able to tie it on the legs of Dawkins, Coleman bounced an inside run to the left sideline and left the field in his dust.

55 yards later and he was celebrating a touchdown, with the extra point giving the Huskies a 28-21 advantage. Theatrics couldn’t finish there, however. Dawkins made the play of the night by breaking a sack from Vita Vea and escaping to the left sideline, his heels flirting with the chalk. He was able to loft a ball above Budda Baker and into Shun Brown’s outstretched, leaping hands.

It led to the second passing touchdown of the game for Dawkins and ultimately forced overtime. After losing the toss, Washington’s offense started on the field. Thanks to Lavon Coleman, the Dawgs almost sent its defense back out with a single play - he took the ball down to the 1-yard line on first down. Two plays later, the Wildcats offense was needing seven points to keep the game going. Washington’s defense held, with a last-chance gasp being swatted away by Sidney Jones.

Super late night Dots!

  • Lavon Coleman looks like a completely different player. The junior from Lompoc rushed for more yards tonight (181) than all of last season (176). He has more burst than ever before and also has the top-end speed to take it to the house, as was evidenced on his 55-yard score. He looks lighter and shiftier. It still appears that there could be some mental mistakes he needs to work out but the physical talent is there, once again. We might see more of a split between him and Gaskin going forward.
  • The Husky defense is much better-suited to defending a pro-style offense like Stanford than a lateral, speed-based offense like Arizona’s. Elijah Qualls, Vea and Greg Gaines will be able to be stout on the inside. Jojo Mathis had an improved game on the edge, we will see what he can do against a line like the Cardinal’s.
  • Wow, it’s late. Here is me complaining about the late starts as a young adult who wants to do social things on Saturday nights.
  • That’s your Dots! Add more if you like. Go Dawgs.