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The good, the bad and the unknown: Cal

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The good, the bad and unknown of Washington’s 38-7 win over Cal.

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

The Good

The Defense - The defense pitched a shutout against an offense that while flawed, put up more than 20 points against USC, Oregon, Mississippi and North Carolina. It wasn’t just the point suffocation the defense put up, but also the yardage dominance as the Huskies barely let the Bears even get first downs or move the ball upfield.

There really isn’t a way to truly say how near perfect the defense was. It was pretty much the story of the entire game. Yes, Cal’s offense was banged up and is average at best, but they averaged 26 per-game against the power five opponents they faced going in, with one of those teams being USC.

Pass rush - The much-wanted pass rush wasn’t just there, it was lights out and without even really blitzing. Vea, Gaines, Johnson, Bowman and Potoa’e were deadly as they collapsed the pocket on Ross Bowers and finished him off. The great thing about the way the Huskies got pressure is that by doing it from all angles, they prevented Bowers from ever getting out and making plays. This could be especially effective if the Huskies can do this against the kind of more mobile QBs who have given them trouble in the recent past.

Hunter Bryant - What a breakout performance! Bryant stepped up as the Huskies number option to Dante Pettis, if not the number one option. He basically bailed Jake Browning out of an interception on the first touchdown of the game and got the Husky offense going. He could be the Pac-12’s best pass-catching tight end now with UCLA’s Caleb Wilson out for the season.

Offense getting it done - The offense wasn’t pretty, they lacked burst plays, but they were methodical and efficient when it mattered most and put up plenty of points. Not a highlight reel game, but enough to get the job done.

The Bad

Cheap shot - I don’t feel like this has been called enough, but the shot the Cal defender took on Browning when he was well into the end zone should have gotten an ejection. That could have been the season for Browning had the shot been delivered in the wrong way.

Kicking game - This is getting ugly. The Huskies can’t be completely unconfident in their ability to kick a standard field goal in close games. Need to fix this soon.

No shutout - Not really a true bad, but it was unfortunate to lose the shutout on a weird fumble and scoop and score.

Slow start - It wasn’t as bad as Rutgers, Colorado or Oregon State, but the slow starts seem to keep being a thing. It could bite the Huskies if they dig a hole against a better team or even have a lesser opponent like Arizona State come out hot and put them down early.

Late starts - I don’t care what ESPN says, these late starts, especially for lame games, suck. It’s tough to ask fans to wait all day and night for a game that is likely going to be over by halftime and then stay tuned till past 11 for garbage time. It sucks for both teams’ fans.

The Unknown

Slow starts? Are the slow starts something to be concerned about? Are we going to see them as the years go on?

How much does this mean and what have really seen? The Huskies are 3-0 in Pac-12 play and the teams they have beaten so far are a combined 0-9 in Pac-12 play. Things have certainly been nice and comfortable, but can we really read anything from this? I would throw the non-conference slate in there as well.

Kicking game? Will Van Soderberg become the field goal kicker. Can Tristan Vizcaino find a way to get right? Will a walk on step up? Something needs to happen.

Desert trap? Arizona has been a horrible place for the Huskies to play in recent history. They haven’t won at Arizona State since 2000 and have won in the state just a few times in the past 17 years. Even last year, the Huskies had to go to overtime at a bad Arizona team. Do the Sun Devils have a desert trap waiting for the Huskies Saturday night?