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Grading the Game: Colorado Buffaloes

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This ought to be fun.

NCAA Football: Washington at Colorado Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Quarterback: D+

A poor game from Eason. As usual, in his “bad” games, he had zero help from his offensive line, receivers, or run game. But, he showed a lot of the same issues we’ve seen all year, namely, not stepping up into the pocket. Granted many times he had no where to step to, but even when he had a clean pocket, he had multiple overthrows on deep shots. For as much deserved criticism that the Petersen/Hamdan offensive system gets at Washington - they need to make things easier on Eason - he needs to be sharper as well. Colorado’s defense had been picked apart by almost every quarterback in the Pac-12, so a performance like Eason’s was very disappointing. He finished with 6.1 yards per attempt, a TD, and a costly red zone turnover.

Running Back: C-

Really hard to fault the running backs when there was no room to run, but 61 total yards on 25 carries combined for Salvon Ahmed and Richard Newton is not good enough. I’ll get back to this on the coaching section, but 13 carries for Ahmed is too few. They each had a couple decent runs, and Newton punched it in for Washington’s lone rushing score, but just a pitiful day on the ground for the backs.

Wide Receivers: C-

Aaron Fuller, Terrell Bynum, and Andre Baccellia were the only receivers to catch a pass, and Fuller’s 43 yards on 6 catches led the group. He was the most targeted receiver of the game. Also worth noting he had a 52 yard punt return that nearly won UW the game. Terrell Bynum had nearly the same amount of yards on half the catches and continues to play well as a slot receiver, making contested catches. Yet again, another game with not enough production from this group.

Tight End: B-

As as has been the case most games, the tight ends were the best pass catching unit on the field. Eighteen of Eason’s 34 targets went to the TE group, with more targets going to Otton early than we’ve seen recently. There were a few he couldn’t haul in, but would have been decidedly very tough catches. He did a catch a TD, his second of the season. Byrant was probably Washington’s player of the game on offense, if you can even give out that award after a game like that. He had 5 catches for 82 yards and was as usual the best best receiving option. Jack Westover got in on the action too, and had a catch himself.

Offensive Line: D

Not much to say other than they got pushed around all night by Colorado’s defensive front. Jaxon Kirkland went out injured early, replaced by Henry Bainivalu at RG, which might have been a factor. But that doesn’t excuse 5 sacks and 10 TFLs allowed. Washington didn’t have a run longer than 11 yards and no running back averaged more than 2.7 yards per carry. Nothing seemed to work at all for the Huskies, going 3-and-out in four of their first five drives. Much of that is due to getting no push up front.

Defensive Line: C+

Like the rest of the team, not the best game from the DL. But as the whole the defense was much better than the offense. Levi Onwuzurike was fantastic and Tuli Letuligasenoa keeps on growing into the role of the space eating DT. Colorado didn’t run over the Huskies but it feels like yet again a fairly average Pac-12 running back was able to chug along for 4 yards per carry all night. They also had a hard time wrapping up Steven Montez when at times he seemed dead to rights in the pocket.

Linebackers: C

We finally got to see Edefuan Ulofoshio and Jackson Sirmon pair up to man the middle of the UW defense for the majority of snaps. It “worked” in that they finished as the top two tacklers on the team - not something we saw often with the Wellington/Manu combo. Ulofoshio had 11 tackles which lead the team - but again - not enough big plays were there when the Huskies needed them. Joe Tryon was more or less anonymous after two weeks of stellar play on the edge. Ryan Bowman had a TFL and continues to quietly have a nice season.

Secondary: C+

Same story here as with the rest of the defense. Not bad, but clearly not great and they didn’t make any plays to win the game. Molden seemed to have a good game, as did McDuffie, even if that crazy touchdown catch was against him. The ball almost went through his body - I am still not sure how the Colorado receiver came down with it. He also made a timely PI penalty on a would-be TD, which Colorado ulimtately couldn't convert and had to settle for a field goal. Asa Turner started again but was replaced early by Cam Williams, who had 4 tackles. Myles Bryant got back in the action after a fairly quiet game against Oregon State, and finished with 5 tackles. Montez ended the night passing for 8 yards an attempt but never made the critical error many Husky fans were banking on him making. Outside of Lavsika Shenault’s 100 yards on 7 catches, the DBs did an okay job against Colorado’s strong receiver corps.

Coaching: F

Considering the opponent, and coming off a bye week, this has be considered one of Chris Petersen’s worst ever losses at UW - a list that is sadly growing this season. The team lacked energy, the offense was a yet again a train wreck, and they looked like they just want the season to be over with. They had two weeks to prepare and couldn’t muster a single point in the first half. There is too much talent on offense for that to happen. The defense took a step back against Colorado, and there are some concerns to be had about their performance this year, no doubt. But, we have ample evidence that this program under Petersen can play elite defense. Defense isn’t the (big) issue, it’s the offense. The run game in particular seems to have regressed and Ahmed getting only 13 carries is borderline criminal. I understand not running him into a brick all night, but Ahmed should never finish a game with less than 20 touches, ever. He is the most dangerous weapon on offense and needs to be more involved. The coaches have an extremely short week to get this team ready for the Apple Cup on Friday in Husky Stadium.