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The Good, The Bad, and The Unknown: Oregon State

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Breaking down the positive and negatives from the Oregon State game.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 14 Oregon State at Washington Photo by Jeff Halstead/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Good

We actually got to watch a real Husky football game.

The offensive line looked very good. The line didn’t give up any sacks and only surrendered two TFLs. As a unit, they were maulers in the run game. They helped paved the way for Washington’s win by opening up big holes for their running backs (shout out to Sean McGrew) to the tune of 267 total rushing yards and an average of over 5 yards per carry. That said, there were also two drives that stalled in the redzone when they failed to create workable running lanes, despite Oregon State’s undersized defensive line. Overall, the starting line of (from right to left) Victor Curne, Henry Bainivalu, Luke Wattenberg, Ulumoo Ale, and Jaxson Kirkland proved to be very strong, athletic (see below), and effective.

ZTF. With Tryon gone and Latu out (to be discussed more later) Zion Tupuola-Fetui’s number was called and boy did he answer. The redshirt sophomore had two sacks, two forced fumbles, and looked fairly dominant. ZTF had previously been singled out by coaches as someone who had significantly improved his body and play over the offseason, so it was cool to see his performance in this game reflect that.

Edefuan Ulofoshio. Eddy did more of what Eddy does: disrupt offenses and make plays. The former walk-on turned starting ILB had 10 tackles, 4 pass breakups, and 1 fumble recovery. He was my dark horse candidate to win Washington’s Defensive MVP this season, but I’m sure there are many of you out there who agree that it doesn’t seem like that much of a long shot. I love watching this kid diagnose plays, then make plays.

The secondary had a great game. This will surprise no one, but Washington’s secondary had an excellent overall showing. Oregon State’s Tristan Gebbia was held to just 85 passing yards going 11/24 and also threw a pick (Asa Turner). We knew Molden was going to be good at nickelback and Trent McDuffie looks like he could have another excellent year at CB (he also had a 45 yard punt return).

The Bad

The run defense. Due to losses to the NFL and some apparent injuries, Washington’s defensive front was a bit depleted on Saturday and it showed. Tuli Letuligasenoa and Laiatu Latu were both out and the run defense suffered. Sam Taimani played well, but Josiah Bronson had a fairly quiet game, while ILB Jackson Sirmon graded out as the 33rd (out of 39) best linebacker in the Pac-12 last weekend. Washington surrendered 167 total rushing yards, two rushing touchdowns, and allowed an average of 4.9 yards per carry. We can comfortably give some credit to Oregon State’s talented RB Jermar Jefferson, but regardless you still don’t like to see numbers like that. Especially for a Washington defense.

Drops. They’re back! Outside of a strong performance from Terrell Bynum, the receiving core looked marginal at best. The talent is certainly there, but it did not seem to show up against Oregon State. Puka Nacua had a drop and a fumble (that he recovered). Ty Jones dropped a pass in the endzone. True freshman Rome Odunze almost hauled in a touchdown, but it was broken up by a Beaver DB. Bynum also contributed one drop. Call it shaking off the rust or blame it on the rain and wind last Saturday. Either way, I’m sure many Washington fans were cringing watching those drops and having flashbacks to last season.

Special Teams. A true freshman long snapper being nervous on his first collegiate snap is understandable, but poor Jaden Green’s botched snap led directly to an OSU touchdown in the first quarter. He nearly launched a second snap over the head of punter Race Porter later in the game, but Porter made an athletic catch and Green calmed down for the rest of the night. Kickoff and punt coverage was also pretty disappointing. To add on, Peyton Henry also missed a chip shot field goal. If it wasn’t for McDuffie’s great return, this would have been a pretty abysmal night for the Bob Gregory coached special teams.

I’m sorry to put this in, but here’s the botched punt. Avert your gaze if you must:

The Unknown

Where were Tuli and Latu? Significant notable absences from the game for Washington included DT Tuli Letuligasenoa and OLB Laiatu Latu. Both appear to have sustained some degree of undisclosed injury. Rumor has it that one or both may be out for the remainder of the (short) season, but the coaching staff has not confirmed these rumors. These two were the next best players behind DT Levi Onwuzurike and OLB Joe Tryon who both left early for the NFL, so missing both in a single game was a big blow to Washington’s defense. There is available talent behind both Letuligasenoa and Latu, but much of it is young and unproven.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 19 Oregon at Washington Photo by Christopher Mast/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Was Dylan Morris originally the backup? Transfer QB Kevin Thomson appears to have an undisclosed injury. More rumors are flying that Thomson may have won the starting job in training camp, but due to an injury at some point prior to the Oregon State game, Morris got the nod as the (apparent) primary backup QB. Or, Morris was the starter all along. Jimmy Lake will probably never tell us. If Thompson heals up and starts at some point this season, assuming it’s not because Morris has played poorly, that may answer the question.

Go Dawgs!