Heading into this contest, the Huskies came off a tough 24-17 defeat at the hands of Chip Kelly and the UCLA Bruins. Washington entered this game as massive 17.5-point road favorites due to the fact that the Arizona Wildcats were winless with on 0-6 overall record. In the end, the Huskies were finally able to make the key plays down the stretch to escape the win and gain back some confidence and respectability. They won 21-16 in a game that was a must-win for head coach Jimmy Lake and the entire Washington program.
On offense, the Huskies were nothing short of anemic in the first half! They were only able to muster up 65 yards of total offense, with a total of 6 drives resulting in 6 punts total. Washington starting quarterback Dylan Morris went out for a drive due to a hit resulting in a bloody nose, which paved the way for true freshman backup quarterback Sam Huard to come in for a drive. By the end of the half, the offense put up one of its worst performances in recent memory for an entire half. Morris looked rattled and was missing receivers all over the field, while the offensive line was having issues blocking the defensive front of Arizona. In the 2nd half, Morris came out like a completely different quarterback, making some deadly accurate throws down the field which really broke the game open. It resulted in a 9-yard TD run by running back Cam Davis and an 8-yard TD reception by wide receiver Rome Odunze. It was a half of redemption for Morris and the Husky offense as they garnered 305 yards of total offense.
Defensively, it was a game that took a dampening turn when defensive back Alex Cook took a knee to the head and suffered a serious injury. He laid on the turf for quite a while and was heavily strapped down to a stretcher and carted off the field to the hospital. The Huskies suffered two major runs from Arizona of 52 and 34 yards, that helped break the game open for the Wildcats. It resulted in 13 points for Arizona before heading into the locker room at halftime. The Huskies were long overdue for creating a turnover and they were able to generate one that turned the tide of the game. Early in the 4th quarter, defensive lineman Tuli Letuligasenoa picked off a short pass from Arizona quarterback Will Plummer. It completely changed the momentum and the complexion of the game, as the Huskies scored 14 unanswered points afterward. The Husky defense held the Wildcats to 286 yards of total offense, but 218 of those came off the ground.
This was a much-needed victory for the Washington Huskies football program! Let’s make no mistake, this was an ugly win, and the first half of football was one of the worse the Huskies have played in quite a while. Heading into the 4th quarter, Husky fans were very nervous trailing 16-7 and the Wildcats driving down the field. If it wasn’t for the huge interception by Letuligasenoa, we would be writing and reading an entirely different narrative right now. The desert has always been a tough place for the Huskies, as weird things seem to happen. The Huskies were in serious danger of allowing Arizona to break their 18-game consecutive losing streak. A win is a win and any way you can get it is important, but this wasn’t a feel-good win at all for the Huskies. They didn’t play well at all and they will need to clean up a lot this week before heading down to The Farm. Stanford’s style of play has always given the Huskies fits and it will be a tough matchup. This win definitely won’t pacify the fanbase at all but at least it’s a “W,” which is a huge boost of momentum for the Dawgs!
It was reported later during the game by ESPN that defensive back Alex Cook was awake, doing quite well, and had movement in all of his extremities. The early reports from the hospital were great news for the Huskies! After the game, Coach Lake confirmed that Cook would be flying back to Seattle with the team.
Next up for the Huskies (3-4, 2-2) is the Stanford Cardinal, at Stanford Stadium, next Saturday night, October 30th, with a kickoff time of 7:30 PM PT. The game will be televised on FS1.
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