Washington vs. Colorado Game Grades

The Washington Huskies entered their matchup against the Colorado Buffaloes looking to build off their momentum from Corvallis.

In the end, the Huskies came out flat, and suffered their worst loss of the season, with a stunning 20-14 defeat down in Boulder.

At halftime, Washington was down 13-0 and it was the first time since 2017 that they were shut out in the first half of a game.

Offensively, the Huskies couldn’t consistently move the ball down the field and extend drives when they needed to.

Defensively, the Huskies were on their heels the whole night and couldn’t stop the Buffaloes from moving the chains.

After another shocking performance similar to the Stanford defeat, the Huskies will have to muster up some confidence to win the Apple Cup.

We will now take a look at each position group and coaching staff on the Huskies, and how they fared last night. Here are how things graded out…..

QUARTERBACKS

It was a tough night for junior Jacob Eason, as this was the third straight game that he has regressed.  He had another opportunity to march the team down the field in the fourth quarter and win the game for the Huskies but couldn’t get it done.  Opposing teams know to bring pressure against Eason, as his scrambling ability is not good.  With taking five sacks on the night, some of that was when Eason reversed the field and ran backwards.  Eason has to find a way to lead the offense!  D+

RUNNING BACKS

The running game really never got going and the amount of carries this group got was 25, on the night.  Redshirt freshman Richard Newton had a tough night, as every time he tried to find a crease, he was stopped with no big yardage gained.  Junior Salvon Ahmed was held in check for most of the game and wasn’t able to make an impact on the game.  The offense needed an established running game and it just never happened throughout the entire game.  D

WIDE RECEIVERS/TIGHT ENDS

One thing that was productive was the reemergence of senior Aaron Fuller, as he led the team with 6 receptions.  Sophomore Terrell Bynum made some big catches in the second half to extend drives.  This group has been under scrutiny all season long for their drops and lack of production, but last night they were not responsible for the loss.  Junior Hunter Bryant and sophomore Cade Otton had some nice catches as well, but a bigger impact was needed by this group, especially down the stretch!  C

OFFENSIVE LINE

The veteran offensive line couldn’t dominate the line of scrimmage and had a rough night all together.  With Eason constantly under pressure and surrendering 5 sacks, this group’s inability to pick up blitz packages and keep Eason upright played a major factor in the outcome of the game.  On top of that, this group couldn’t open up any big holes or lanes in the running game for Ahmed and Newton to get going.  This experienced group should perform a lot better than they did last night.  D-

DEFENSIVE LINE

Where was that defensive line performance from down in Corvallis?  This group continually got pushed off the ball and couldn’t push the Buffaloes rushing attack backwards all night long.  With the inability to push the pocket back and stay in their gaps, Colorado was able to have their way by getting into the second level of the Huskies defense all game.  Montez was able to roam free without any real pressure, which was a huge reason the Huskies lost the game.  D-

LINEBACKERS

With what has been the story all season long, this group really underperformed last night.  There was zero pressure off the edge last night and many times, Montez was able to break contain and gash the Huskies for big yards.  Poor tackling and not being able to diagnose plays, played into the Huskies demise on defense.  Simple things like fitting running lanes and staying true to your assignment went missing once again last night.  Tough night for this group as a whole.  D

DEFENSIVE BACKS

The secondary had a rough night with trying to contain wide receiver Laviska Shenault Jr., as he was able to make a big impact during the game.  Being out of position on numerous occasions, bad technique and coverage breakdowns haunted this unit last night.  The Huskies needed a huge momentum shifting turnover to turn the tide of the game and this unit couldn’t provide it.  Colorado gained 223 yards through the air last night, which is way too many and cost the Huskies.  D

SPECIAL TEAMS

In what was the only bright spot of the night for the Huskies, the special teams unit was great.  Wide receiver Aaron Fuller gave the Huskies a huge boost down the stretch with his 52-yard punt return.  Coverage wise, the Huskies were able to limit the Buffaloes from breaking any big plays.  The big success from this group was the punting performance by senior Joel Whitford.  He pinned the Buffaloes down and had good distance and hang time on most of his kicks.  A

COACHING

There really is no way to sugar coat  last night’s performance by the coaching staff, as it was a monumental failure all the way around.  What is head scratching, is this kind of performance shouldn’t happen off of a bye week.  Most teams play their best football of the season coming off bye weeks, as they are better prepared and rested.  The coaching staff had two full weeks, plus an extra day to game plan for Colorado and “laying an egg” should not happen.  The Buffaloes ranked near the bottom in most defensive and offensive categories coming into the game and the Huskies were a 14-point favorite on the road.  Something else that seems amiss is why this is happening under Chris Petersen‘s watch this season?  These types of losses just don’t happen under Petersen and they are not supposed to.  His whole career, he had made his reputation as a coach whose teams play disciplined and sound football.  Truth be told…this year’s version of the Huskies doesn’t resemble a Petersen coached team, and the finger points right at the top to Petersen.  Offensively, Bush Hamdan is not able to get the offense to move down the field on a consistent basis this season and even against bad defenses.  Most forget that he is also the quarterbacks coach and clearly, Jacob Eason has regressed over the last 3 weeks, which points some of the blame to Hamdan as well.  Defensively, Jimmy Lake‘s game plan simply didn’t work, as the Buffaloes were able to extend plays and let Steven Montez break free numerous times.  Yes, the defense is young, but with 11 games of experience that is no longer an excuse.  The Huskies have one of the highest paid coaching staffs in the conference and these types of performances simply can’t happen.  Not really sure where the coaches go from here, but after last night, for the first time during the Petersen era at Montlake, it has Husky Nation wondering if Petersen has lost his “mojo.”  F

ENTIRE TEAM

While we have thoroughly dissected the coaching staff’s performance last night, the players themselves have to find it within themselves to not let a blunder like last night happen.  With a couple of byes during the recent weeks, there is no excuse for the team to be tired physically, mentally or lack focus.  As the game was progressing, it seemed eerily similar to the “dud” the Huskies had down on “the farm” earlier this season, at Stanford.  What is mind boggling is the lifeless energy and flatness the Huskies came out with last night.  You can’t use late night kickoffs as an excuse because the Huskies have won recently at night.  There is something missing this season at the core of the team and the players have to have the self-pride to not play like they did last night.  Attention to detail, focus, execution were all things that were visibly lacking last night, as an entire team, which is very concerning.  The Huskies were still playing for a decent bowl game last night so motivation should still have been present.  Are the players tuning out Petersen’s voice and message at practice?  There is a void here and the Huskies need to focus on a two-game season here.  That is all that matters at this point.  Heading into the Apple Cup against the Cougars should be plenty of motivation enough to have a good week of practice.  Losing the way they did last night should be enough motivation as well, to get back on the horse and play much better.  The Huskies will need to put points up on the scoreboard if they want to beat Washington State, and that has been a constant struggle all season.  The only bright spot of the night was the Huskies had a comeback bid, which meant they didn’t quit.  It just means they lost the game in the first half by digging themselves too big of a hole.  This isn’t the way the team should be sending out the seniors for their final season and it’s up to the ENTIRE team to pull it together and win the Apple Cup and the bowl game ahead.  Adversity has officially hit Montlake and it’s time for Petersen and the players to live up to the “mantras” and tackle it TOGETHER!  D+

 

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