In the end, the Huskies delivered a dominating 52-20 performance and were able to keep the Hawaii “run and shoot” offense in check.
At one point in the second quarter, the Huskies were ahead 38-0 before surrendering 20 unanswered points, which cost them momentum.
Offensively, the Huskies were certainly in sync with scoring 3 TD’s in the first quarter and didn’t let their foot off the gas pedal.
Defensively, there was the third quarter lull that saw the Hawaii offense score, but the Huskies didn’t let it impact the outcome.
With a much needed win this week, the Huskies came out and took care of business against a team that came in on a roll.
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…..
This week, all eyes were on junior quarterback Jacob Eason and whether he would rebound after last week’s game against California. Eason certainly did that and was a huge reason the Huskies set the tone early. He was decisive and quick on his reads and didn’t settle for the easy throw, but went after the “homerun” ball. Eason missed some, with under throws and not setting his feet, but finished 18 of 25 for 262 yards, 3 TD’s and no picks. Job well done. A
What comes to mind here is the balance with the entire “stable” and how the coaches are using them. Junior Salvon Ahmed continues to get the bulk of the carries and was able to spring loose on some big runs that softened the Hawaii defense. Redshirt freshman Richard Newton looks to be the answer inside the redzone with 3 TD’s on the night. Junior Sean McGrew had a career night, with 8 carries for 63 yards and a TD. Still need more bruising runs on 3rd downs. A-
After a huge week of scrutiny for the wide receivers, they bounced back with a solid performance. Junior tight end Hunter Bryant was a mismatch nightmare all night for Hawaii, as he was wide open over the middle of the field. The biggest difference this week was the receivers made big plays when Eason threw the ball downfield. Drops were kept to a minimal amount. The Husky coaches need to find a way to get true freshman Puka Nacua on the field for extensive reps. B+
The offensive line was able to get tremendous push all game long, which sprung some big runs for the running backs. There were plenty of open lanes and holes for the backs to get into the second level of the Hawaii defense. The line also looked solid in pass protection as well, with Eason throwing for 3 TD’s and having plenty of time to set his feet and deliver strikes to his receivers. Penalties negated some plays, but overall a strong performance for this group. A-
Overall it was a decent night for this group with a lot of fresh bodies being thrown into the mix. On the interior, the Huskies struggled all night long to get push and harass Hawaii quarterback Cole McDonald. Somehow this season, the Huskies defensive line needs to find ways to get a consistent pass rush, which helps take pressure off the young secondary. The tandem of Tuli Letuligasenoa and Sam Taimani looks very promising, as these guys are solid at the point of attack. B-
Not the greatest night for the linebackers group, as the highest total tackles was by senior inside linebacker Kyler Manu with 5. Cleaning up more plays and missed tackles were an issue, and the inside linebackers on a whole left some plays out there. The outside linebackers group did get off the edge at certain points of the game and were able to flush McDonald. The Huskies need that “fast twitch” dude off the edge that wreaks havoc! Time for more Laiatu Latu? C-
It was a pretty solid night for the Husky secondary as stalwart safety Myles Bryant was maniacal all game long. He set the tone on the back end with his two interceptions, and was all over the field. Coming up with three interceptions on the night after not having a single one for the season, proved critical. Junior defensive back Keith Taylor led the team with 9 tackles. It still seems as if the young DB’s need to learn how to play less with their hands and use more leverage. B+
In what continues to be a huge strength for this team, the Huskies were pretty sound overall on the night. Sophomore placekicker Peyton Henry nailed a 23-yard FG and is now 6/6 on the season. True freshman Tim Horn continues to showcase his strong leg on kickoffs and senior punter Joel Whitford had good distance on his punts. The coverage unit gave up a big run, and the kickoff return game needs more production and spark throughout the game. B+
Give the coaching staff some credit..on a week with facing adversity after last week’s loss, they had the team fully prepared and ready to go. With a young team on the field, it would be easy to be concerned about the fragility of the team, but that was not the case. The Huskies came out of the gate “on fire” and that is the sign of a team that is fully focused and ready to redeem themselves from last week. Defensively, defensive coordinator Jimmy Lake will have to continue to “coach up” his young defense and teach them how to keep applying the pressure throughout the entire game. Giving up 20 unanswered points on defense is not going to fly against upcoming opponents with better talent. Offensively, offensive coordinator Bush Hamdan was scrutinized all week for his playcalling and he responded with calling a great game. The plays were balanced between the run and pass, and the calls were in rhythm this week. Head coach Chris Petersen has the ability to not get too high or too low. He is a seasoned veteran and kept things in perspective all week in the locker room. That confidence rubs off on his players and it showed yesterday. Overall..great job by the staff. B+
On a whole, the entire team did a great job of answering the bell and coming out like a team eager to “right the ship”. It would have been easy to have some lingering effects from the defeat against California, but there was no sign of that against Hawaii. Fact remains..there is a lot to play for this season with a chance to go 11-1, win a Pac-12 title and return to the Rose Bowl. Each week is a constant grind for the players and the coaches and this past week was adverse. One thing that often goes unnoticed is the amount of youth on the team. While the Husky coaches have recruited well the past couple of years, the lack of “prime time” experience shows at times. There will be growing pains that come along with the youth movement and staying the course will prove paramount for the coaches. The overall psyche of the team was high, and the “fire” that seemed to be missing the week before was apparent yesterday. Nice bounce back win for the Dawgs, which sets up their first road game of the season at BYU. That in itself, will be another new experience for the young players on the roster and another area of focus for the staff. Expect the Huskies to be laser focused! A-