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The good, the bad & the unknown: UCLA

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The good, the bad and the unknown of Washington’s 44-23 win over UCLA.

NCAA Football: UCLA at Washington Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

The Good

Vita Vea & Greg Gaines - Vea and Gaines were beyond destructive against the run, but especially against the pass. They battered Josh Rosen early, took the air out of his game and basically kept the Bruins down all game until it was all but over.

Rosen defense - UCLA’s only shot at staying in the game was if Rosen could get the passing game going and keep scoring. The Husky defense held him to 12-21 for less than 100 yards before they knocked him out of the game. Well done.

DBs against a good passing game - The Husky secondary stepped up without both starting corners and more than controlled one of the best passing games in the conference.

Commitment to the run game - I think Husky fans finally got what they wanted in the Huskies just running the ball over and over again against an outmatched defense, methodically moving the ball, scoring and putting the game away. 333 yards and more-importantly five scores was more than enough to get a comfortable win.

Running Backs - Myles Gaskin and Lavon Coleman like completely different players than they did against Arizona State. They showed patience, made defenders miss, broke tackles and made the right calls in when to cut back and when to follow the play. The best game they have had in a long time. Salvon Ahmed was deadly once he got the ball too.

Offensive Line - The guys up front did their job against a struggling defense without their best player. They basically had the Bruins in submission by the third quarter.

A kick return game! I’m not sure why it took this long to have Ahmed return kicks, but it was a good idea. His long return was a major turning point in the game.

A kicking game! It was great to see Tristan Vizcaino knock in two field goals and every extra point.

A normal win over UCLA - You have to savor any win over UCLA as the program has been in the Arizona State category where it always seems the Huskies lose, and in strange fashion, no matter how bad UCLA is and how good the Huskies are.

The Bad

Jake Browning - I know and like that the Huskies were sticking to a running game plan and Jake’s role was simply to manage the game - but he sure doesn’t seem right. I know he was 8-11, but those incompletions and interceptions were ugly. The interception was particularly bad because it seemed he was finally deciding to trust himself and make a quick decision and it was a bad one.

Hunter Bryant injury - It seems this is just one of those years where horrible injuries break out. Losing the second-best pass-catching threat on the team was a shot the Huskies couldn’t take and extremely sad to lose a freshman who was turning into a star.

Fumbles - The Huskies were lucky to get Coleman’s fumble back as it could have really stalled a struggling offense early and Kamari Pleasant’s fumble which went back for a score made the final score look a lot closer than it really was.

UCLA and Jim Mora - It definitely seems like the twilight of the Mora era at UCLA. It’s a bit surprising to see a program that was rolling under a coach not long ago fall off so quickly, but a nice reminder that a program can’t get complacent or allow talented players to just go through the motions.

The Unknown

Browning? The Husky QB simply hasn’t looked right since late in 2016 and looked lost without John Ross opening things up. Is Browning on the full Keith Price path (really good against bad teams when things are easy, but a mess in tough games?), or can he rebound?

Azeem Victor? The good news is the play of Ben Burr-Kirven seems to be what has pushed Victor to the background, but it hurts to not see the senior who has done so much for the program not out there as much. Can the staff keep finding ways to get him in the game to make plays? I like him as an edge rusher.

Playoff contender? The Huskies are still in play for the Playoffs, but I really wonder if they get a shot if they win out with how many undefeated and one-loss teams are stacked up right now. I know chaos always breaks out in November, but would it be enough to get the Huskies in if they win out?

How good/bad is Oregon? The Ducks lost by 17 to the UCLA team Washington dominated just two weeks ago, but showed a lot of life against a (struggling) Utah team, putting up 41 points on Utah’s tough defense. Did the Ducks just turn a corner, or was that just a testament to how far Utah has fallen?

Justin Herbert or Braxton Burmeister? Murmurs of Herbert’s return have been going on for week even though it seems crazy a player could, and a coaching staff would want, him to come back from a broken clavicle that quickly. I am thinking it is just gamesmanship, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Herbert given how desperately I think Oregon/Willie Taggart wants this game. I am really impressed with Herbert and think he could be the best QB in the conference on any given Saturday so, even if injured, his presence could completely change the dynamic of the matchup. Who will we see at QB?