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Arizona Rewatch Diary- 2nd Half

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Where the Wildcats made a doomed but valiant 4th quarter garbage time comeback attempt

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

If you missed the re-watch diary for the 1st half then you can go check it out right here.

DEFENSIVE DRIVE #6- 15:00 3RD QUARTER

  • Second verse, same as the first. On the first play of the 2nd half ZTF bullrushes the right tackle and forces him right back into the QB for a sack. No fumble though. ZTF is slipping.
  • On 3rd and long Ryan Bowman decides he can’t let ZTF get all of the credit. This time he’s the one matched up against Arizona’s right tackle and his speed rush means he’s barely touched before obliterating Gunnell. He never saw Bowman coming as his gaze was entirely to the left.
  • Arizona shanks the punt and can’t get it past midfield so no return chance for McDuffie.

OFFENSIVE DRIVE #6- 13:06 3RD QUARTER

  • The Huskies run the jet sweep with Terrell Bynum to start the 2nd half and it picks up 13. Like clockwork.
  • The first true called screen pass under John Donovan had a chance to go for major yards but an Arizona defender barely grabbed McGrew’s shoelaces and he stumbled for a gain of 2. McGrew ran into Ale when he couldn’t release the fake block quick enough but otherwise there was an OL on an Arizona secondary member for the next 15 yards at least.
  • Washington this time fakes the jet sweep to Bynum but it’s actually a reverse for McMillan. I get why they didn’t want Dylan Morris to help block but if he helps Kamari Pleasant with his block rather than just standing still it’s an automatic first down rather than just a gain of 6.
  • Kamari Pleasant has the best run of his Husky career bursting through a hole just before it closes, juking a defender, then using his WR blocks downfield perfectly to cross the end zone line from 21 yards out. That TD makes it 30-0 Washington.
  • For the 2nd time this year, Race Porter starts out in the swinging gate formation. He decides to take the snap and looks like he’s trying to throw it to Otton on the 2-pt conversion but he’s covered so he tucks it to run. From the Husky combine this year we know Porter may be the most agile punter in the country but he gets absolutely leveled at the goal line and is about an inch short. It definitely looked on replay like he thought he had it and pulled up ever so slightly at the end.

DEFENSIVE DRIVE #7- 10:27 3RD QUARTER

  • Kyler Gordon another great special teams play as a gunner getting downfield and stopping the returner at the 17.
  • There’s the run defense from the Oregon State game. Josiah Bronson and Sav’ell Smalls each are easily dispatched to create a massive hole for Gary Brightwell with UW running just a 5-man box. The center has a free release and blocks MJ Tafisi and both Ulofoshio and Cook miss tackles and so they pick up 17 before Asa Turner stops him.
  • On a 3rd and 4 the shotgun snap is low and Gunnell bobbles it. He recovers and dumps it off to Brightwell but Ulofoshio brings him down just short of the line near midfield. Unsurprisingly given the score Arizona tries to go for it. But Fa’atui Tuitele stones his man and Jackson Sirmon knifes through the gap to easily stop Brightwell for no gain.

OFFENSIVE DRIVE #7- 8:13 3RD QUARTER

  • Unsurprisingly given the score, the broadcast booth is increasingly turning to non-game talking points. They have started discussing the balance of power between Oregon and UW and opining for that game in a few weeks. Imagine how different this offseason would’ve felt if the Huskies had just gotten in one more game before the COVID-19 outbreak hit the locker room and beaten Oregon? Sigh.
  • A toss play to Cam Davis on 2nd and 6 results in an easy first down. The Cam Davis hype train rolls on.
  • Some quick thinking by Morris results in an incompletion rather than a sack as it looked like Washington was faking a run to the left and instead wanted a quick out/screen to Bynum. RG Henry Bainivalu pulled to sell the run while Victor Curne and Luke Wattenberg tried to get out and block for him. However, Morris immediately had a hand in his face and even if Bynum had caught the ball there were 2 defenders for Curne to block with Wattenberg and Otton too slow to leak out. I have no clue how the timing on this was supposed to work unless every Arizona defender bit on the run fake and they definitely didn’t.
  • On 3rd and 5 the Huskies put Otton in the slot and look like they’re going empty but motion Richard Newton back into the backfield. That takes too long and the play clock hits 0 but the refs don’t call it delay of game. Against Oregon State they had a play that got off about 0.1 after the clock hit 0 and didn’t get the benefit of the doubt but here they make good use of it. Otton beats his defender and the Arizona safety looked like he expected Otton to curl at the 1st down marker but instead continues downfield. Morris’ throw hits him in stride and there’s no one left between him and the end zone for a 20-yard TD. Washington 37 -Arizona 0.

DEFENSIVE DRIVE #8- 4:54 3RD QUARTER

  • On the first play the shotgun snap is wild and gets by Grant Gunnell. He picks it up and manages to hurl it out of bounds a second before he would’ve been smacked by MJ Tafisi. The throw doesn’t make it to the line of scrimmage though and it’s intentional grounding.
  • His next throw is in the dirt at the feet of an open receiver and Gunnell looks truly miserable for a few seconds before remembering he has to keep it together and pulls himself back.
  • On 3rd and 21 the Huskies only rush 3 but ZTF beats his man, forces Gunnell to scramble to his right, then chases him down and pancakes him. Gunnell gets rid of the ball just in time to avoid getting sacked at the 1-yard line. At this point Gunnell was 10/15 for 40 yards and I wouldn’t have blamed him if he just decided to quit football. Fortunately for him Washington pulled their 1st team defense after this and he put up fantastic garbage time numbers but at this point through 16 defensive drives the Husky passing defense forced opponents to be 21/39 for 125 yards and 3.1 YPA. That eventually trailed off in a big way but man that was an impressive stretch.

OFFENSIVE DRIVE #8- 4:27 3RD QUARTER

  • On 2nd and 7 the Huskies once again go play action pass into a deep shot attempt to Jalen McMillan. He has 2 steps on the entire Arizona defense and Morris throws a perfectly catchable ball that bounces off of Jalen’s finger tips for another incompletion. If McMillan had jumped or dove for the ball rather than just trying to catch it at full extension in stride then it’s likely a 50-yard completion down to the 1. Instead he thinks he can get to it and it goes down as a drop.
  • On the subsequent 3rd down Sean McGrew does a good job in blitz pick-up on a free rush from the inside linebacker and Morris has just enough time to get rid of it before the right end who beat Victor Curne can get home. He hits Ty Jones on a 15-yard crosser for the first down.
  • Washington lines up Curne to the left of left tackle Jaxson Kirkland with Otton the right tackle in an interesting formation but neither receiver is on the line and so it’s illegal and a penalty negates a 1st down conversion for Ty Jones.
  • On 2nd and long the Huskies go empty out of a 3 tight end formation and Otton picks up 9.
  • The next play is the only official sack of the season that the Huskies gave up. Arizona only rushed 3 but Luke Wattenberg got beaten by Roy Lopez and forced Morris to sprint towards the right sideline. Arizona on that side of the field had 4 defenders covering 3 receivers and he could’ve thrown it out of bounds to prevent a loss of 2 but instead ran out of bounds just before the defensive end could shove him.
  • A 47 yard field goal attempt from Peyton Henry had plenty of leg but missed wide to keep the score the same. I think it would’ve still been wide even if the attempt came from 2 yards closer but it definitely would’ve been closer. I think 5 yards closer and it sneaks in past the post.

DEFENSIVE DRIVE #9- 0:58 3RD QUARTER

  • It’s not entirely backups quite yet but there a few reserves in the game for this drive. On the first snap the front includes Cooper McDonald, Faatui Tuitele, and Jacob Bandes.
  • The first Arizona 1st down of the drive features missed tackles by both Keith Taylor and Jackson Sirmon but fortunately for UW the Arizona receiver slipped as he juked or would’ve gained at least another 5 yards.
  • Elijah Molden didn’t do a lot of blitzing at UW but he did on 1st down but Arizona had a quick throw behind him ready and so he couldn’t get home despite coming completely free. On the next play Molden went down and then they cut to commercial break. I remember in the moment being so frustrated at the thought that Molden’s Husky career might come to an end while up 37-0 on the last play of the 3rd quarter. Fortunately it was just a bruise and the scare likely helped encourage Jimmy Lake to start emptying the bench.
  • With Molden out Gunnell takes his first deep shot of the game but it’s overthrown to a receiver in triple coverage between Cook, McDuffie, and Turner and any throw that had a chance would’ve been picked.
  • On 3rd and long Ryan Bowman spun past the Arizona right tackle and got his fingers on Gunnell but missed the sack when Jacob Bandes also got juked and ran into him. On the scramble Gunnell throws it to the feet of his receiver right as he gets thumped by Ulofoshio. Arizona at this point is 0/10 on 3rd down.
  • The Wildcats have no chance but to go for it and they try a deep shot down the sideline to their slot receiver who was in coverage against Asa Turner. The ball is underthrown and Turner doesn’t get his head around in time, knocking into the receiver for a pass interference penalty. There have been a few examples of poor coverage from Turner in these 2 games.
  • A great blitz from Jackson Sirmon but even better blitz pick-up by the Arizona back who dives to knock him from obliterating Gunnell. The throw is knocked down by ZTF in coverage.
  • By far the best play of the night for Gunnell on 3rd and long as Arizona lines up in the same formation as the 4th down play but this time the Dawgs brought in Julius Irvin to play man coverage on the slot guy in a dime look. It’s the same play and Irvin is closer than Turner was but the throw is high and to the sidelines and just over Irvin’s outstretched hand. The receiver catches it just as he slips inside the pylon to put the Wildcats on the board. But because it was that kind of night for Arizona their kicker shanks the extra point and it hits the post and bounces no good. Washington 37, Arizona 6.

OFFENSIVE DRIVE #9- 12:54 4TH QUARTER

  • With the backups in we get to see the future of Washington football as Jacob Sirmon enters the game at quarterback...wait, that’s not right. Oh, the future of Chippewa football. We also get the #2 offensive line with from left to right: Fautanu, Kalepo, Mele, Buelow, and Luciano.
  • Jack Westover gets his first catch of the season and it goes for a first down, just like his first rushing attempt of the season did.
  • On the next play we get the longest run of Richard Newton’s career as he gets loose for a 54-yard touchdown scamper. Arizona’s safety again took a terrible angle and his dive for Newton tripped the Arizona corner who probably would’ve caught him before the end zone. It was a textbook blocking job from the offensive line as Newton ended up being untouched and never really had to make much of a cut outside of slightly jumping over the tackle attempt at his feet from the Arizona safety. Bizarrely, this ended up being the last carry of the season for Newton who ended up in the dawg house for the next 2 games. Washington on top 44 to 6.

DEFENSIVE DRIVE #10- 11:34 4TH QUARTER

  • Now the bench has officially been emptied on defense with 2’s and 3’s everywhere on the field.
  • Cooper McDonald with a great job stopping his rush to keep contain and then jumping up to bat down a quick out. McDonald’s reaction made it unclear if he was super fired up or upset that he didn’t manage to pick it off.
  • The 3rd time in 2 games that the Huskies run into the punter as this time it’s Alphonzo Tuputala who gives Arizona a free 1st down. Arizona’s punter comes off the field holding his wrist and in obvious pain. Washington has to clean this aspect up going into next season. Inexcusable.
  • Kamren Fabiculanan from the slot corner spot makes consecutive saving tackles on nice runs after no one gets a hand on the Arizona RB as he comes through the hole.
  • Some poor tackling on consecutive passes as Arizona receivers catch the ball short of the sticks then get serious yards after the catch from poor angles. Brandon McKinney on the 2nd one had a big hit that seemingly forced a fumble which rolled out of bounds. But the runner was down first and it was targeting so that’s how McKinney’s last defensive snap as a Husky goes as he transferred to Utah a few months ago.
  • Another TD for Arizona picking on Julius Irvin as this time Irvin was in position to get a potential interception but never got his head around in time and the throw buzzed past his fingertips. Washington 44, Arizona 13.

OFFENSIVE DRIVE #10- 9:28 4TH QUARTER

  • The Huskies go jumbo on the first 2 plays and Cam Davis gets tripped by his shoelace on 2nd down which holds him to just 1 yard instead of an easy 1st down.
  • On 3rd and 5 Sirmon decides to scramble against a 3-man rush and is brought down well short of the line and Washington punts.
  • Kyler Gordon and Trent McDuffie meet at the punt returner just as he catches the ball. The refs call targeting on Gordon but the replay shows it’s clearly not. The side of Gordon’s helmet hits the returner’s shoulder and his left arm grazes the returner’s helmet.

DEFENSIVE DRIVE #11- 7:08 4TH QUARTER

  • Immediately though on defense Gordon is beaten badly and gives up a gain of nearly 30 along the right sideline. It looked like Kyler expected to have help over the top potentially and was looking in the flat but Cam Williams is nowhere close enough to challenge the completion. It’s unclear from the TV angle which of them got the call wrong but given that Williams missed a few plays like these in his freshman year, I’m guessing it was him.
  • Dominique Hampton gets a pass breakup on a 2nd and 6 which is something we may see more of this upcoming year.
  • A defensive breakdown though on 3rd down as it looked like Alphonzo Tuputala was playing the wrong zone and left an Arizona receiver wide open at the sticks.
  • Then a missed tackle by Tuputala before Cam Williams lays a big hit. Not a good quarter for Tuputala.
  • Next it’s Heimuli’s turn as he dives for a sack but comes up empty and Gunnell scrambles for a 1st down inside the 5-yard line. Sav’ell Smalls tried a speed rush move to the outside of the right tackle but got pushed harmlessly past the QB to open up that escape lane.
  • Arizona goes hurry up and easily runs it straight up the middle for a touchdown as Noa Ngalu got shoved clean out of the way. Washington 44, Arizona 20.

OFFENSIVE DRIVE #11- 4:54 4TH QUARTER

  • An almost identical drive to the last one. Although UW goes 3 wide rather than 3 TE. Consecutive runs by Cam Davis gain 6 yards. Then on 3rd down Sirmon again scrambles to the right against a 3-man rush, sees no one open, and is brought down a yard or two short of the marker forcing a UW punt.
  • Sirmon walks off the field with a bleeding cut on his upper arm for his last action in a Husky uniform. Sorry it didn’t work out Jacob.

DEFENSIVE DRIVE #12- 2:29 4TH QUARTER

  • On 2nd and 5 Cooper McDonald and Faatui Tuitele both get their hands on Gunnell but he evades them and picks up a 1st down on a scramble.
  • This time on 2nd and 5 it’s both McDonald and Smalls who come close to a sack but can’t quite bring Gunnell down in time and he dumps it off instead. Fabiculanan misses the tackle and it becomes an easy 1st down. Heimuli gets pancaked by an Arizona OL and each give the other a shove as they get up but the refs don’t call anything.
  • Totally forgot about this play. Another bust in the Husky zone as Heimuli doesn’t drop deep enough and an Arizona receiver gets open on the right hash 12 yards down field. He bobbles the ball which causes him to change trajectory going back after it so Makell Esteen’s tackle only gets a few fingers on the ball. That causes the receiver to bobble it a 2nd time but he regains possession right as Fabiculanan makes the TD-saving tackle. It ends up a gain of 28.
  • On the next play Arizona gets a guy wide open in the zone triangulated between Fabiculanan, Esteen, and Williams 20 yards downfield with each 5 yards away and he’s only contacted just as he crosses the goal line. TD Arizona with 33 seconds left. Final score Washington 44, Arizona 27.

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Stay tuned the rest of the week for our offensive and defensive in-depth breakdowns from this game.