Washington vs. Stanford Game Grades

The Washington Huskies returned home last night against the Stanford Cardinal on a cold and windy night at Husky Stadium.

It was a hard-fought 27-23 win which required the full grit of the Huskies, as the game was decided on the final throw of the game.

The Huskies defense was stellar as they were able to force three turnovers during the game, and all of them were interceptions.

Offensively, the return of senior star Myles Gaskin proved to be spark that head coach Chris Petersen was looking for to reignite the team.

It was good for the Huskies to gain some momentum with a much-needed win, before they head into the bye week for some sought-after rest and rejuvenation.

We will now take a look at how each position group for the Huskies fared last night and also how the coaching staff graded out…..

QUARTERBACKS

The story coming into the game was how would Jake Browning respond after being benched during the Cal Bears game.  He finished the game 16 of 27 for 194 yards and 1 TD.  Sure Browning missed some throws during the game but he also made some clutch throws as well.  He was able to extend drives and manage the game extremely well.  Browning displayed his veteran leadership down the stretch and didn’t turn the ball over.  B

RUNNING BACKS

Last night was a game that welcomed back Myles Gaskin and he was magnificent.  The senior star finished with 148 yards rushing on 28 attempts.  The game plan called for Gaskin to shoulder much of the load with his experience of gaining tough yards in big games.  The next closest running back had 5 rushing attempts on the night.  The running game was able to sustain long drives most of the night and move the chains.  A

WIDE RECEIVERS/TIGHT ENDS

It was a good night for the Husky receivers as they continued to make some clutch catches when Browning needed someone to make a play.  Aaron Fuller continues to be the guy with 5 catches for 62 yards.  Ty Jones had a highlight reel catch in the 2nd half and Andre Baccellia provided a nice boost in the screen game as well.  The tight ends had great production from Drew Sample and welcomed the return of Hunter Bryant as well.  A-

OFFENSIVE LINE

Overall, it was a productive performance for this group as they were able to help spring Gaskin loose for 148 yards.  There were some holding penalties that caused some drives to stall and stunted momentum, but other than that Browning was able to operate efficiently the entire night.  One big reason for stability last night was the return of left tackle Jared Hilbers who didn’t play the prior week against the Cal Bears.  B

DEFENSIVE LINE 

One telling stat last night was the Husky defense held Stanford to 77 yards rushing the entire game.  It all starts up front when stuffing the run and this position group was able to get some push and plug the middle.  Greg Gaines was his usual self last night and even showed some athleticism with his diving interception.  A nice pleasant surprise was that of Josiah Bronson who played productively and was pressuring the pocket all night.  A-

LINEBACKERS

The play from the linebackers group last night was solid most of the night and Ben Burr-Kirven notched 12 tackles on the night.  Brandon Wellington had a great game and was active all night long while making some nice tackles of his own.  There was more pressure generated from off the edge than we have normally seen lately which was a good sign, and Joe Tryon continues to progress each week that he sees the field and is gaining experience.  B

DEFENSIVE BACKS

Overall it was a good night for the DB’s with creating turnovers and getting the ball back to the offense.  Cornerback Byron Murphy and Safety Taylor Rapp came up with momentum changing interceptions and the offense welcomed the extra possessions.  One knock on this group was the pass coverage at the nickel position.  Stanford kept exploiting the mismatch all night with their tall receivers and the Huskies couldn’t adjust to it.  B+

SPECIAL TEAMS

This group has often been the subject of discussion throughout the season but last night they excelled in true fashion.  Despite the shanked punt, this group had a pretty clean sheet.  Placekicker Peyton Henry had a great night with making both FG’s from 22 and 38 yards.  He also was able to get more distance on his kickoffs.  The kickoff coverage was vastly improved this week but the coaches are looking for more of an impact in the return game as well.  A-

COACHING

In one of the toughest coaching weeks of Chris Petersen’s tenure at Washington, he was able to get the team refocused and ready to play.  The team played inspired football the entire first half and that sense of urgency is what everyone has been waiting to see all season.  Offensive coordinator Bush Hamdan called a good game in the first half but things seemed to revert back to inconsistency in the 2nd half.  Defensive Coordinator Jimmy Lake had a great game plan and the defense was able to thwart Stanford’s running game and put the game in the hands of QB K.J. Costello.  What seems to be alluding this coaching staff is the ability to put a full 60-minute performance on the board.  The game should have never that close at the end and the coaches have to find a way to keep the team’s “foot on the gas pedal” the entire game.  B

ENTIRE TEAM

After a disappointing loss, the Huskies were able to do just enough to get the job done and keep their hopes alive  in their quest of winning a Pac-12 Championship this season.  What is encouraging was the effort and energy the team came out with right from the start.  Make no mistake, this team has been clamoring for the bye week with all the injuries and tough losses as of late, and they could have easily came out ho-hum and looked ahead to a week of relaxation but they didn’t.  There were no style points awarded last night but a win against a division rival is a win!  It’s still not perfect by any means and the coaches will need to find a way to put it all together during the bye week.  Something seems to still be missing from this team with all the talent they have assembled on the roster.  B

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