Heading into this contest, the Huskies came off the benefit of a bye week to rest up and get fully healthy as a team. Washington entered this game as 1.5-point favorites, even though the UCLA Bruins were 4-2 on the season, coming off a 34-16 road win against Arizona and were undefeated on the road. In the end, the Huskies couldn’t make the key plays down the stretch to pull out the win and get back to .500, as they fell 24-21 in a game that was winnable for them in the fourth quarter.
On offense, the Huskies were able to manufacture a nice drive down to the UCLA 2-yard line and a 1st and goal, towards the end of the first quarter. They were only able to come away with a 25-yard field goal by placekicker Peyton Henry, which was a disappointing finish on that drive. With the Huskies leading 3-0, they didn’t score again until the end of the half, when quarterback Dylan Morris hit wide receiver Rome Odunze on a 26-yard touchdown pass to cut the halftime score to 17-10 and the game within reach. After halftime, there wasn’t much production on the scoreboard for the Huskies, as their lone score came on a 1-yard touchdown run by Morris. On the night, Morris had two interceptions, with one of them coming on an underthrown ball that looked like a touchdown to wide receiver Jalen McMillan, that would have tied the score 24-24 late in the game. Morris now leads the Pac-12 in interceptions at 8 total. For the night, the Huskies were only able to amass 267 yards of total offense, with 83 of those yards coming off the ground.
Defensively, it was a game where Washington knew all week that they needed to stop the run to have any chance at pulling out the victory. UCLA came into the contest as a highly successful running team, and the Huskies were not able to corral them for much of the night. The defense had their spurts where they played well enough to get the ball back to the offense and keep the team in the game. What has happened lately is the inability for the defense to make the big stop at the end of games. The defense gave up 420 yards of total offense, with 237 of those coming from the Bruins rushing attack. The inability to stop the run has been a huge issue for the Huskies all season long and it played a major role in this defeat as well. The defense wasn’t able to force any turnovers, which is crucial to helping the offense start with good field position. Inside linebacker Edefuan Ulofoshio finished with a game-high 10 tackles.
This was a much-needed victory for the Washington Huskies football program, to show that they were making progress. Coming off a bye week and being well-rested and healthy, this was the Huskies’ best chance to pull off a good win and they didn’t seize the opportunity. There are some big questions for the Huskies to address this week. What is the offensive identity of this team? Are they a passing team? Should the coaching staff consider a change at the quarterback position? Are there scheme changes to make stopping the run their first priority? Is the playcalling on offense as sound as it could be? Even though the Huskies are heading down to the desert to face a winless team this week, the desert hasn’t been an easy place for them to just pull out a victory. You also throw in the short week, with the game being on a Friday night and the challenges continue to mount this week. One way or another, Jimmy Lake and company have to get this fixed and in a hurry or this season could run right past them!
Next up for the Huskies (2-4, 1-2) is the Arizona Wildcats, at Arizona Stadium, next Friday night, October 22nd, with a kickoff time of 7:30 PM PT. The game will be televised on ESPN2.
JIMMY LAKE POSTGAME PRESS CONFERENCE VIDEO
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