Last week, the Huskies put together one of the best comebacks in program history and were looking to play a complete game against Stanford.
Washington finally got a decent kickoff time of 1:00 pm for their fourth consecutive home game of the season, in the comforts of Husky Stadium.
On the opening drive, the Huskies defense took the field, looking for a chance to make a statement and impose their will on the Cardinal.
Quite the opposite happened for the Huskies when Stanford went on a methodical 11 play, 65-yard scoring drive that resulted in a touchdown.
Coach Lake said, “that opening drive was almost a foreshadowing of things to come.”
It was classic smash-mouth football for the Cardinal, who converting a couple of crucial third-down conversions to extend the scoring drive.
“I don’t feel that. The guys are juiced up and ready to go,” Lake said about the lack of energy with the slow starts.
Stanford led 7-0 with 9:53 left in the 1st quarter, with the Huskies offense looking to answer back with a score of their own.
On the next drive, the Huskies would gain a first down, before being forced to punt after their drive stalled at the Stanford 46-yard line. Two back-to-back penalties caused a 3rd and 15, which they couldn’t convert.
When Stanford’s offense got the ball back again, head coach David Shaw continued their physical attack by marching down the field for another touchdown. The scoring drive was on 9 plays for 80-yards and Stanford had all the momentum.
At the 2:05 mark, the Cardinal were leading the Huskies 14-0 and the game felt eerily similar to last season’s game down on “The Farm”.
On the ensuing drive, the Husky offense would answer the bell with a 13 play, 71-yard scoring drive that ended with a 23-yard field goal by PK Peyton Henry.
It was great for the Huskies to finally get on the board, but it felt like the Huskies left some points out there by not cashing in on a touchdown.
Defensively, the Huskies had struggled early to get off the field and to stop Stanford’s power rushing attack, which was very successful.
Once again, Stanford methodically moved the football down the field on the Huskies which resulted in another touchdown score.
At the 6:54 mark, The Huskies were down 21-3, in a stunning result for the first half. Stanford had three straight drives which resulted in three straight touchdowns.
You rarely see the Huskies defense surrender that many touchdowns in a half and now it was time for the offense to put some more points on the board.
OLB Edefuan Ulofoshio said, “we have to trust the scheme and just run it!”
Offensively, any momentum the Huskies tried to gain on the next drive would stall when WR Jalen McMillan dropped a pass that would have resulted in a 20-yard gain.
The Huskies were forced to punt with 3:09 left in the half. The final three minutes of the half would be gut-check time for the Huskies defense.
One positive on the next drive was that the Huskies defense was able to hold Stanford to a field goal and didn’t give up a touchdown.
The Cardinal scored on four consecutive drives, while the Husky offense was held without a single touchdown score in the first half.
Stat wise, Stanford was outgaining the Huskies 270 to 126 total yards. It was a typical physical style of football for the Cardinal.
At halftime, the Huskies were in trouble as Stanford dominated the entire half and another 21-deficit halftime speech by head coach Jimmy Lake was in order!
In the second half and more specifically the third quarter, the Huskies offense would take the field and if they wanted to have any chance at a comeback, they needed to come out and score a touchdown on the first drive.
For a second consecutive week, the Husky offense executed a quick 7 play, 75-yard drive, which resulted in a 6-yard TD run by RB Sean McGrew.
At the 12:20 mark of the 3rd quarter, Stanford was leading 24-10 and now it was their first time to face a Husky team with momentum.
Would the Cardinal offense make it 5 straight scoring possessions on the Huskies and take back control of the game and the second half?
Stanford didn’t flinch after the Huskies scored their touchdown. Once again, they marched all the way down the field for a 7 play, 69-yard TD drive.
Just when the Huskies got something going, Stanford quickly extinguished it with another score on the vaunted Husky defense.
The current lead was 31-10 for Stanford against the #1 defense in the conference in the Huskies at the 9:01 mark of the 3rd quarter.
On the next drive, the Huskies would finally control the clock with a 6:28 minute drive that resulted in a 1-yard QB sneak by Morris.
The extra point attempt by Henry was blocked and the Huskies were trailing Stanford 31-16 with 2:33 left in the 3rd quarter.
It was now time for the Husky defense to get its first stop of the day if they were going to have any chance at a comeback once again.
They would finally get their first stop of the game when DB Kyler Gordon deflected the pass and the Huskies offense was in business.
With some momentum, the Huskies offense drove the ball 92-yards on 9 plays, capped by a 2-yard TD run by Sean McGrew.
At the 11:02 mark, the Huskies were trailing 31-23 with plenty of time left on the clock. Could the Husky defense make it two consecutive stops?
Offensively, the Huskies would waste the drive as a touchdown was called back on two crucial penalties that stalled the drive and forced a field goal.
Coach Lake said, “It was a great call by Coach Donovan. We had what we wanted.”
The Huskies trailed 31-26 with 7:54 left in the game after PK Peyton Henry converted the 45-yard FG to close the game to a one-possession contest.
Defensively, the Huskies needed to dig in and complete one more stop for the offense and give Morris another chance to march the team down the field.
Stanford was able to move the ball down the field by converting critical third-downs and getting positive momentum from those conversions.
The reality is that Washington’s offense never got the ball back as they were able to run out the ball on offense and seal the victory.
“It feels like a missed opportunity to be honest with you,” Ulofoshio said.
Overall it was a lackluster performance by the Huskies, especially on defense where they struggled all night to get stops and contain the run.
“They controlled the game with their run offense. Stanford has done that for years,” Lake said.
Despite the comeback effort in the second half, the Huskies started out very slow for a second consecutive game and this time the deficit was too much to overcome.
With their 31-26 defeat at the hands of Stanford, Washington will have to find a way to regroup this coming week after facing their first loss of the season.
“Our guys are going to prepare to win a football game,” Lake said about their matchup with Oregon next week.
The Huskies were undermanned during the game tonight with several players out due to injury and possibly the Covid-19 protocol.
Washington junior WR Ty Jones said, “it’s tough when we got guys out with Corona and we got guys hurt.”
Next up for the Huskies (3-1) is the Oregon Ducks, at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, next Saturday, December 12th, with a kickoff time to be determined.
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