The Huskies have hung on to win on the Farm. For a while, it seemed inevitable that the Dawgs’ mistakes on offense and defense would doom them against a previously 2-5 Cardinal team, but a late touchdown after a dropped pass on a fourth down attempt by Stanford ensured that would not happen.
The game started out with a Stanford punt. After a free play interception by Michael Penix, which was negated by an offsides call against Stanford, the run game shined, as Dillon Johnson, Sam Adams, and finally Jack Westover teamed up to power the ball into the end zone. On the ensuing kickoff, Carson Bruener showed some amazing hit power, pummeling the returner. Stanford’s subsequent drive stalled out, as did Washington’s, and for a while, it looked like whatever bothered Michael Penix against ASU was still lingering. Stanford responded with a QB power run up the middle by Ashton Daniels for a touchdown, capping off a drive that was aided in part by 3 bad defensive penalties by the Huskies. The Huskies responded with a classic Deboer era drive, featuring open chunk plays, short routes, and even Devin Culp rumbling for a 29 yard gain on a tight end screen. The cherry on top was Rome Odunze catching a back shoulder throw for 7 yards, making the score 14-7.
The next Stanford punt found the Huskies starting at their own 8 yard line. Michael Penix and Ja’Lynn Polk proceed to score on the very first play of the drive, with Polk hauling in an absolute gem of a pass from Penix and taking it 92 yards for the score, making the score 21-7 Huskies.
The next Cardinal drive was led by Ashton Daniels connecting with freshman Tiger Bachmier for 49 total yards, setting up an eventual 23 yard field goal for Joshua Karty. Another Husky punt led to Stanford kicking another field goal to make the halftime score 21-13. The first Husky drive of the second half was a disaster, rife with discipline issues, as a holding penalty, a sack of Michael Penix for a loss of 12, and a delay of game eventually made it 3rd and 37. Ja’Lynn Polk mitigated that somewhat with a catch of 20 yards, but this has been an issue for the Huskies all season. This was reinforced on the next Stanford drive which saw a crucial pass interference call on Jabbar Muhammad set up an eventual 39 yard connection from Ashton Daniels to Elic Ayomanor for a Stanford touchdown. Muhammad would make a crucial play, breaking up the pass on the two point conversion attempt to hold the score at 21-19.
The subsequent Husky drive again featured the Huskies finding their rhythm, with passes of 13 and 23 yards setting up another back shoulder throw for a touchdown, this time to Ja’Lynn Polk for his second touchdown to bring the score to 28-19.
Stanford’s next drive featured a 53 yard heave from Daniels to Ayomanor on the second play of the drive, as Daniels got in rhythm, finding tight end Sam Roush and Jayson Raines for 8 and 7 yards, respectively before punching it in himself from 2 yards out.
The score now 28-26, the offense needed a good drive to get going and get their swagger back. They did just that, getting receivers open and a few good runs as Devin Culp found the end zone on a pretty throw from Penix from 24 yards out, making the score 35-26.
After another Stanford punt, the Dawgs got the ball back, looking to put the Cardinal away, and for a while it looked like they were on their way to doing just that. However, Rome Odunze fumbled the ball, and Stanford recovered. They turned that fumble into a 5 minute, 21 second drive ending in a 2 yard power run by Justin Lamson for a touchdown, making it 35-33.
After an onside kick recovered by Rome Odunze, the Huskies got back to work, and got into Stanford territory with the aid of a defensive pass interference. But Michael Penix forced a throw into the end zone that was intercepted, giving Stanford a chance to kick a field goal and take the lead.
It was not to be, as the Dawg defense forced a fourth down, where Stanford dialed up a wide receiver pass by Tiger Bachmeier which Jayson Raines barely dropped, giving Washington the ball back. Dillon Johnson iced the game with a 13 yard rushing score, and the duo of Bralen Trice and Alphonzo Tuputala snuffed any hopes of a comeback with a final sack as the Dawgs held on, 42-33.
Now, some things need cleaning up. Penalty issues and pass protection are first up, because those were the most visible issues with the offense and defense. I’ll let Coach go over it in the Film Study, but this type of performance by the O-Line won’t be up to snuff against a team like Utah by any means! But the offense showed signs of a bounce back game, and Michael Penix shrugged off a slow early start to deliver another gem of a game. If he can continue to get time in the pocket, he’ll continue to pick apart defenses. But that starts up front, and the discipline issues that they faced tonight can’t happen against teams like USC or WSU, who will gladly take free penalty yards to score points if we give them that opportunity. Next week, the really hard part of the schedule begins as the Dawgs travel to the LA Coliseum to take on Caleb Williams and the USC Trojans. Let’s hope the Dawgs bring it in that game and bring home another win!