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Stuff and Shenanigans: Two newfies for the win

Mike’s left arm is so back.

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NCAA Football: Washington at Southern California Jessica Alcheh-USA TODAY Sports

Welp. Add that one to the list of evidence that Mike doesn’t blink. And while we’re at it, that a bunch of Very Large Defenders — who had every right to feel resistance was futile — don’t either.

A 27% Sober and 100% Accurate Rundown of Absolutely Everything

We knew the defense was not going to “win” that battle versus USC’s offense. I mean, come on, all but the most clinically nuts homers would look at Washington’s defense (“fine not great”) versus USC’s offense (“has Caleb Williams, who is a human joy stick”) and think the former would win the majority of their battles. But of course, that’s not what we needed them to do — “win it all” — we just needed them to win their battles a little bit more than USC’s own defense could.

And hoo boy, hats off to the lads for timing that perfectly.

I mean, for what it’s worth, Caleb Williams could be credited with single-handedly willing his team to 21 extra points they wouldn’t have gotten had they any other quarterback who wasn’t the Ancient Greek god of escapability. It would be one thing if he hadn’t shown that off — excuse me while I check this for accuracy — ah, yes: every single game of this season and last season and the season before that. But he had, we knew he was gonna do that, and then he did exactly that.

That is, until he hit his limit from three and a half quarters of doing that and his cells simply couldn’t any more.

(Read this next sentence in the “The facts were these” narrator voice from Pushing Daisies.) The credit was twofold: ZTF and Bralen Trice and Tuli and and and, for forcing Caleb Williams to run the length of the fellowship’s trek to Mordor (and back again), and Voi Tunuufi for taking advantage of the ensuing exhaustion and finally getting home when it mattered the most.

I mean sheesh, talk about a bunch of individuals doing their everything despite that everything being seemingly futile. Not blinking must be contagious.

Which brings us to...

Oh is Mike back? Mike’s back? He’s back? Is that right?

Who knows if he’s fully fully healthy, but I mean... you can see the difference between how the ball came out of his hand this Saturday versus against ASU and Stanford, right? It didn’t loft outside the hashes, he could throw straight-line darts, he didn’t hesitate on throws he’d otherwise zip out without a second thought.

In other words, it really is wild how easy it is to have complete trust in this offense with a healthy Mike versus how terrifying the prospect is of an unhealthy Mike.

And two last thoughts:

First off, that Gra— actually, you know what? I’m not gonna say this here yet, because I don’t want to jinx it. At the end of the season’s S&S, remind me of this, and I’ll say what I was gonna say without the fear of jinxage.

And second-of-ly, that Jalen McMillan’s absence — a good thing in the big picture as far as I’m concerned, please let him get healthy — has demonstrated both A) the importance of accumulating as much high level talent as possible and B) the importance of having as much of that high level talent available as possible for your team to genuinely play at a championship level.

This is moderately self-explanatory, but seriously: Ever since Jalen has been out or “technically playing but— ope he’s out again,” this offense has been just ever so less insane. I mean, legit though, when the Dawgs were trotting out Rome and Ja’Lynn and Jalen — it really felt like there was nothing an opponent could do. That was simply unstoppable on offense, and then no other opposing offense was good enough to keep up. With those three and Mike, it really felt like we may never lose again.

Now, with just one fewer all-everything receiver, despite this offense (with healthy Mike) still being incredible... they don’t feel 1,000%, absolutely inevitably, no matter what you do... unstoppable. Still more unstoppable than they are stoppable, but just... 5% less. And that 5% is sometimes all an opponent needs.

And yet...

Imagine if Jalen McMillan went down and he wasn’t just — “just,” an insane way to describe that talent — one of three absurd weapons. Pretend this is 2019, and we’ve just gone from Jalen McMillan as a WR1 through whom the offense inevitably flows to Aaron Fuller; no disrespect to Aaron Fuller, but we can agree that Rome, Jalen, and Ja’Lynn are the Charizard to Fuller’s Charmander: One is perfectly fine, but the other is f*ckin Charizard, bro.

While no longer having healthy JMac has undoubtedly given opposing defenses a pinky toe in the door to hold off a previously unbeatable passing attack, at least the Downton Abbey-sized cast of elite talent mitigates what would, in lesser circumstances, be an otherwise catastrophic loss.

Aaaaand that’s why accumulating as much talent, as deep as possible, at every position matters.

Lines of the Week

Watching Caleb Williams when you’re not a USC fan:

Watching Caleb Williams* when you are a USC fan:

*Behind USC’s offensive line

Everyone to Mike and Co as they’re driving down the field to take a two touchdown lead to start the second:

Me at the subsequent interception:

Everyone to the D line and Co on third and 13 knowing Washington hadn’t been able to corral The Greek God of Escapability for like, three hours at no fault of their own:

Hearing this, Voi Tunuufi to Caleb Williams:

Everyone to Dillon Johnson on the one yard line with two minutes left:

Dillon Johnson to USC on the one yard line with two minutes left:

I realize doing reaction gifs, much less a whole series of them, is so 2016 but sometimes I crack myself up. This was one of those times.

Separate note, I’m sure nobody reading this falls under the following category, but on the offchance I’m wrong: If you or anyone you know is in New Orleans, you can see me a few times the 15th through 21st. (Specifically the Wednesday 9 PM, Thursday 8:30 PM, and Saturday at 9 PM.) (Plus a couple other dates n’ times, but listing more would be annoying. If you really wanna know, hit me up.)

Do good things, don’t do bad things, and bow down to Washington.