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Arizona Rewatch Diary- 1st Half

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Re-live the Huskies beating the ever-lovin’ you know what out of Arizona in the 1st half

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 21 Arizona at Washington Photo by Jeff Halstead/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Welcome to the 2nd edition of our re-watch diary series where we’re going back through each of the Huskies’ 4 games from last season throughout the month of July. I’ll kick things off on Monday recording my unfiltered (mostly) thoughts as I watch each of the games again for the first time in 8+ months. Then we’ll follow-up later in the week with an offensive and defensive deep dive since each of the 4 games were extremely different. Since this ended up almost 5,000 words I cut it once again into a 1st and 2nd half write-up.

Let’s get to it.

  • Given how Arizona ended the season getting obliterated by ASU it may be hard to remember that they looked like a sleeper when UW played them. Arizona went up by 3 with less than 2 minutes left against USC and then dropped an interception that was caught by USC to barely slip past them.
  • This was also the first game after Jimmy Lake wore his infamous Run The Damn Ball hat.

OFFENSIVE DRIVE #1- 15:00 1ST QUARTER

  • So of course UW comes out running a play action naked bootleg on 1st down. Morris easily evades a diving sack attempt and dumps it off to Cade Otton who picks up 6.
  • Then for the 1st time all season the Huskies go empty on 2nd down but there’s no one open with Arizona dropping 8 in coverage and Morris scrambles for a couple.
  • After Sean McGrew only picks up 1.5 on 3rd and 2 the Huskies run the fake punt and pick it up on a direct snap to LB Jackson Sirmon with the 2nd team OL blocking on special teams.
  • On a deep shot to Ty Jones, Dylan Morris overthrows him by 5 yards but that’s because Jones was egregiously held for a full 2 seconds but the refs don’t throw the flag. I will call it karma for the generous whistle UW got against Oregon State. All square.
  • And this is why Puka Nacua’s transfer hurts. Granted it was terrible defense by Arizona. The Wildcats go zone but no one follows Nacua across the field on a shallow cross while they quadruple cover Terrell Bynum. That allows Nacua’s speed to win out and he beats the Arizona defense to the sideline for a 65-yard TD. 7-0 Washington. It begins.

DEFENSIVE DRIVE #1- 11:27 1ST QUARTER

  • After the first play Gunnell was 1/1 for 5 yards on a quick dump off to the running back. It was just about all downhill from there. Looking forward to re-watching it.
  • A nice pressure by Ryan Bowman flushes Gunnell from the pocket on 3rd down and he tries to throw it rather than diving forward for a guaranteed conversion. The ball skips to the open receiver curling back in front of Keith Taylor and forces an Arizona punt.

OFFENSIVE DRIVE #2- 10:18 1ST QUARTER

  • After Otton gets a quick first down the broadcast pointed out that after 5 minutes he already has more catches than he did in all of week 1. Seems unrealistic at this point that he’ll ever have 1 or fewer catches this upcoming season if he plays the entire game.
  • Another deep shot attempt, this time to McMillan, and this time it’s overthrown by 5 yards even without a hold from the defender. Although ironically Arizona did get called for holding on the play, it was just on the guy guarding Cade Otton.
  • Another first down to Otton on 2nd and 13 for 20 yards.
  • And play action, deep throw to Otton for 30 yards over the middle. This is officially the moment where we realized that Cade could legitimately be the focus of a good passing offense.
  • McGrew’s first 3 carries all went nowhere but after the hurry up he picks up 9 on 1st down.
  • Washington had 1st and goal at the 1 but Morris couldn’t get there on a sneak. Then Morris misses the handoff to Westover on the fullback dive and is taken down for a loss as he was lucky to not fumble it. Finally on 3rd down Morris tries to scramble but runs into the back of Curne and loses all his momentum to come up short. Squandered opportunity that didn’t affect the final outcome but same story. Huskies kick a field goal to make it 10-0 UW.

DEFENSIVE DRIVE #2- 4:52 1ST QUARTER

  • Fantastic coverage on the kickoff from Kyler Gordon who blows his blocker backwards, disengages, and tackles the return man short of the 20 on a kick that only made it to the 10.
  • Props to the sound guy for correctly inserting “yay” and “boo” after Arizona was called for a penalty then UW called for a penalty on the same play. Keith Taylor was originally flagged for targeting but he clearly turned his head so that the back of his shoulder hit the runner’s head. The booth got it right for once as they overturned the call on the field.
  • The Huskies actually blitz on 3rd down rather than dropping 8 into coverage and Ulofoshio fights through a hold to strip sack Gunnell. Folks, he might be good at football. Bronson recovers it so Husky ball already have it 1st and goal.

OFFENSIVE DRIVE #3- 3:31 1ST QUARTER

  • A nice shifty run by McGrew on 1st down to get it to the 1 and then he punches it in on the next play. The rout is on. Huskies up 17-0.

DEFENSIVE DRIVE #3- 2:48 1ST QUARTER

  • “I tell you though, the key to this team in my mind is Pete Kwiatkowski” -Mark Helfrich during a lead-in about Jimmy Lake taking over from Petersen. Let’s hope that’s not correct.
  • The first big play on the game for Arizona’s offense is a run that bounces outside for 20 yards. At first I thought Sav’ell Smalls lost contain but he was actually the OLB on the other side of the line of scrimmage and it was ZTF and Jackson Sirmon who both tried to cut inside and got washed out with no one behind them.
  • 2 plays later Smalls meets the Arizona RB in the hole and instantly brings him down for no gain. This may have been the best 3 play stretch of his freshman year.
  • But on 3rd and long it’s ZTF time. With no one remotely open Gunnell holds onto it too long and ZTF soundly beats the left tackle to wrap the QB up for a sack.

OFFENSIVE DRIVE #4- 0:28 1ST QUARTER

  • End of 1st quarter and the broadcast puts up the graphic UW is averaging 8.2 yards per play versus 2.1 for Arizona. Woof.
  • On 2nd and long it looked like Morris expected a play action shot but Pleasant dropped into pass protection without trying to fake the handoff. After overshooting his first 2 long bomb attempts it was obvious Morris took something off this one and provide some touch. Unfortunately the pass to McMillan was about 1 yard too far and was just over his outstretched hands. Jalen had his guy beat by 2 steps so if it hits him in stride it’s another 65 yard touchdown. It’s possible McMillan could have dived and caught it but instead tried to stretch and keep his feet.
  • Morris made up for it though with a perfect throw and catch to Bynum on the opposite sideline for an easy 1st down on 3rd and 9.
  • Another few 3rd down conversions when Pleasant converts on a run on 3rd and 2 and then Morris finds Ty Jones while moving to his left outside the pocket on 3rd and 12 against zone coverage.
  • It took 4 runs for Richard Newton to gain 14 yards and eventually punch it in as UW went jumbo on every single run. Touchdown Huskies 24-0.

DEFENSIVE DRIVE #4- 8:49 2ND QUARTER

  • Have to give Gunnell credit on his first big play of the game as Elijah Molden came free off the edge and Gunnell pump faked to cause him to leave his feet. Then he fired it over his head to a tight window on the sideline between Cam Williams and Kyler Gordon for a gain of 16.
  • But it’s all for naught as Gunnell’s pass on 3rd and 6 sails high and the Wildcats start out 0/4 on 3rd down.
  • 2nd straight game with a running into the kicker penalty, this time Ty Jones which makes it 4th and 1 and Arizona decides to go for it...but the UW DL shifts and it causes a false start...but they call it “disconcerting signals” on UW to give them an automatic first down.
  • 3rd time this drive either Molden or McDuffie came up on a pass behind the LOS with a great hard tackle for no gain.
  • Arizona’s play action deep shot falls incomplete when Asa Turner hits the receiver with a legal tackle while he’s in midair and jars the ball loose. Good play by Turner to recover.
  • This time on 3rd and long ZTF tipped it at the line and Ulofoshio can’t quite get the interception which short hops into his arms. No issues on the punt this time other than McDuffie fair catching it inside the 10.

OFFENSIVE DRIVE #5- 6:04 2ND QUARTER

  • The first good play of the game for Pleasant who gets a big hold but spins at the end of the run to pick up an extra couple yards and a first down. A break for UW as a high snap from Wattenberg causes Morris to jump and go full extension but he comes down with it and makes a clean handoff.
  • And back we go with another deep ball that’s at least 5 yards past Jordan Chin.
  • This time Pleasant’s spin move is to get around the backs of his offensive linemen more quickly as he runs past the side of the giant pile to gain 8.
  • On 3rd and 2 they run a rollout with Cam Davis leaking out as the primary option to pick up the 1st down. Rewatching the first 1.5 games so far I think Davis is the best receiving back in the eyes of the coaches.
  • Bang bang play as Odunze seemingly makes the catch for the 1st down but gets tackled immediately and the ball pops out. Refs never stopped play to review but definitely could’ve seen it getting reversed and giving Arizona the ball around midfield. A break for UW.
  • Another throw to Davis on the sideline and he makes a nice catch but slips and is marked just short of the line. It isn’t overturned on review. QB sneak by Morris on 4th down picks up the couple of inches.
  • This is now a pro-Cam Davis propaganda account. He heads straight up the middle and bounces off 2 defenders then drags another 3 about 8 yards to pick up 17 yards. It looked like an old-fashioned Marshawn Lynch run. More of that this year please.
  • Mark Redman gets his first career target but he was well-covered and the throw was beyond his reach on the sideline to prevent any chance at an interception.
  • Finally Dylan Morris hits Jalen McMillan in stride down the sidelines but Christian Roland-Wallace for Arizona made a great play to swat McMillan’s arms just as the ball got there. The contact was about 0.1 seconds too early but the refs aren’t going to call it when it was that close. It looked like a drop from the first angle but can’t blame McMillan after seeing the replay.
  • This time Nacua flat out drops the slant pass that would’ve gone for a 1st down. Hit him right in the hands and squirted through them.
  • Another perfect punt downed at the 1 by Kyler Gordon. Second consecutive week. (Technically ended up spotted at the 2 but still).

DEFENSIVE DRIVE #5- 0:55 2ND QUARTER

  • The Huskies take their last 2 timeouts when Arizona goes Run, Run, Run from their own 2. But the Wildcats are able to run out the clock still before they are forced to punt so that’s halftime. Yardage advantage? Washington 267, Arizona- 45. I’ll take it.

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Head over to our 2nd half diary to check out my thoughts as Arizona made their frantic 4th quarter garbage time comeback attempt.