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The Good, The Bad, and The Unknown: Colorado Edition

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Washington v Colorado Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

The Good

The defense. There’s not a lot of “Good” to focus on in this game, so let’s take a moment to appreciate that the defense played a... solid game. Sure, there were a lot of missed tackles and they never seemed to be able to get off the field when they had opportunities to do so. Also, the Huskies really could have used at least one of the two interceptions that CB Trent McDuffie should have caught... but holding a Pac-12 opponent to 20 points in their own stadium is not a bad game. Of note, redshirt freshman and walk-on phenom Edefuan Ulofoshio led the team in tackles with 11 and added one QB hurry for good measure. Maybe it’s generous to put the defense in the “Good” section, but we can only work with what they give us, right?

Aaron Fuller’s punt return. After the defense forced a huge three-and-out in the fourth quarter to give the Huskies the ball back, Fuller returned a punt 52 yards to the Colorado 37 yard line. We don’t need to focus on how the offense squandered that amazing field position right now. Just enjoy watching Fuller’s return (and sorry for the low quality):

This is a bit of a soft finish in this section, but Hunter Bryant had a good game. The Junior tight end ended the night with five catches on nine targets for 82 yards. He made some tough catches in clutch moments and it was good to see him have another strong outing.

The Bad

The offense across the board had another bad game. Now, saying the offense had a bad game is true, but obviously there are multiple elements of the offense that all performed poorly. This very general “Bad” topic gets the poor offensive team effort out of the way, so we can move on to calling out all of the individuals units who metaphorically and literally dropped the ball.

The running game. Washington's running backs ran the ball 25 times for a total of 61 yards. Specifically, Salvon Ahmed ran 13 times for 29 yards and Richard Newton ran 12 times for 32 yards. BUT, given that this is college football, once you remove the 29 yards lost on Jacob Eason’s five sacks and add in his two positive gains on the ground, you reach a grand total of... wait for it... 32 yards. If you’re keeping track, that’s 32 yards on 32 carries.

The offensive line provided Eason with very poor pass protection. Colorado’s defensive line, which has NOT been good this season, managed to sack Eason five times. Also, let me reference the serious lack of rushing yards, or more specifically a 2.44 yards per rush (by a running back) average that the Huskies ended the night with on Saturday. Yes, starting right guard Jaxson Kirkland did go down in the first half, but Washington’s two touchdown drives came in the second half, after Kirkland was hurt.

Jacob Eason certainly did not have a good game. His stat line of 21/34 (62% completion rate) for 206 yards, one touchdown and one interception, is far from anything to get excited about. He also missed a couple of potential touchdown throws and continues to show an inability to successfully scramble or step up in the pocket to avoid the pass rush. However, this is clearly not all on Eason. Once again his receivers were struggling to get open against another bad secondary, while at the same time he wasn’t getting much help from his offensive line.

The Unknown

Where are the younger wide receivers? After Petersen made comments earlier in the week alluding to giving some of the more promising young receivers on the roster a chance to see more time on the field... with the exception of Terrell Bynum, several former 4* receivers remain buried on the bench.

What’s Jaxson Kirkland’s status? The starting right guard had to be helped off the field on Saturday after apparently injury his left knee. The good news? Petersen said that he is “all right” and that the injury wasn’t serious. He didn’t offer up any further specifics, so it remains to be seen if he’ll start in the Apple Cup or if sophomore Henry Bainivalu will get the start after replacing Kirkland against Colorado.

Beat the Cougs and go Dawgs!