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The Good, The Bad, and the Unknown: Hawaii Edition

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COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 14 Hawaii at Washington

The Good

Myles Bryant and his two picks. The Huskies got their first two takeaways of the season from Bryant’s two interceptions. He also added a sack for good measure. True freshman Cameron Williams added the third interception/takeaway of the season when he came down with a ball that was tipped by linebacker Kyler Manu.

TIP DRILL!

Jacob Eason went 18/25 (72%) for 262 yards and 3 touchdowns through the air. He was notably late on a few throws, but his overall performance out shined the negatives. His 47-yard pass on the third play of the game to Hunter Bryant for the Huskies’ first score was awesome. His 37-yard STRIKE to Aaron Fuller that put the Huskies up 28-0 was jaw dropping. Seriously, that was about as NFL as you can look. See for yourself:

The running game. Salvon Ahmed, Sean McGrew, and Richard Newton each had eight carries and combined for 175 yards and four touchdowns. Three of those touchdowns (and nearly a fourth) belonged to Newton, who has become the Huskies most effective red zone weapon so far this season. He has four total touchdowns on just 29 carries. Meanwhile, Ahmed averaged 10.4 yards per carry and McGrew averaged nearly 8 yards per carry. Yes, it all came against Hawaii’s defense, but you should still expect good players to deliver and especially against lower quality opponents.

Puka Nacua. The true freshman hauled in his first collegiate reception AND touchdown on this 28-yard pass from Eason:

Hunter Bryant is delivering on the hype. After it appeared that junior TE Hunter Bryant was going to start the season (mostly) healthy, there was a lot of hope and expectation that he could become Washington’s #1 receiver and a general offensive weapon. So far, he’s delivering on the hype. Against Hawaii he hauled in 5 receptions for 115 yards and a touchdown. So far this season he leads the team in receptions (15) and receiving yards (236).

The Bad

In a dominating win like this one, it can be difficult to find glaring issues. Sure, maybe some young players made a few mistakes late in the game, but they’re still learning and those mistakes can generally be forgiven. After a poor tackling performance against Cal last week, the Huskies looked much better against Hawaii and had significantly fewer egregious missed tackles. Some fans have pointed to a lack of a pass rush in this game from Washington’s defensive line, but for how often they pass, Hawaii had only given up three total sacks on the season (four after this game). Cole McDonald, Hawaii’s QB, got the ball out quickly but he was still flushed from the pocket several times, despite Washington only having three down linemen for nearly the whole game. All that being said, there are at least two items for the “Bad” list that need to be addressed.

The third quarter. After scoring on their final drive of the first half, Hawaii managed to piece together two long offensive drives that both ended in touchdowns to start the second half. The Huskies have struggled defensively in two-minute drills this season, which reared its ugly head again at the end of the first half. Then, Hawaii did a great job of finding the soft spots in Washington’s zone and managed to reel in two more touchdowns. Three consecutive offensive possessions led to three touchdowns. Sure, Hawaii’s offense is pretty good and the defense only gave up 20 points. Also, after that offensive surge by Hawaii, the Huskies’ defense tightened back up and shut them out for the rest of the game. Regardless, if we’re holding this defense to the same standard that’s been set by Washington’s defenses the last few seasons, this second half bleeding needs to stop.

Andre Baccellia. After a rough outing for the wide receivers last week, Baccellia had another bad drop in this game on the Huskies first possession of the second half. That’s his second in two weeks. Maybe you can call this one an overreaction and being overly sensitive to a couple of drops. But with multiple talented young receivers waiting in the wings, fans appear to be getting increasingly impatient with the veteran wideouts. However, fans and coaches don’t always see eye to eye, so collectively, we should try to trust that the coaches are putting the best players out on the field.

The Unknown

Will Richard Newton ever throw a pass out of the wild cat? In case you haven’t noticed, Jacob Eason has been lining up as a wide receiver on most of the wildcat plays. Newton also played QB (occasionally) in high school. While we’ve seen Newton keep the ball on nearly every wildcat play so far this season, with the personnel that the Huskies put out there, there are some enticing options if Newton ever decides to get rid of the ball (or if the coaches ever call for it)... Namely 6’6” Eason. Think of the potential!

Can we expect to see more of Puka Nacua soon? Given that next week the Huskies play BYU in Nacua’s home state of Utah, there’s a pretty good chance we’ll see him on the field in Provo.

How is Laiatu Latu doing? After leaving the Cal game with an apparent ankle injury, true freshman OLB Laiatu Latu was suited up but did not play against Hawaii. Take him being suited up as good news, so hopefully we’ll see him back on the field soon.

Go Dawgs!