Huskies Offense Sputters In 26-16 Defeat To Oregon

Heading into this contest, the Huskies came off a 20-13 narrow road victory down on “The Farm” against the Stanford Cardinal.  Washington entered this game as a 7-point home underdog, due to the fact that the Huskies were playing a rival opponent that was ranked #4 in the nation.  In the end, the Huskies were not able to accomplish anything on offense, which resulted in a 26-16 loss at the hands of Oregon.  It was the fifteenth defeat for the Huskies in their last seventeen games against the Ducks.

On offense, it was a game where the Huskies couldn’t get anything going offensively the entire game, despite a late 2-yard touchdown by running back Sean McGrew to make things interesting.  What was most disappointing was the fact that the offense was gifted some really great field position, especially in the first half, and they couldn’t capitalize on it.  They were consistently getting the ball around their own 45-yard line and couldn’t get anything going.  When they went up 7-0 in the first quarter, it was because Husky inside linebacker Carson Bruener intercepted a pass from Oregon quarterback Anthony Brown and ran it back 46-yards to the Oregon 2-yard line.  This was a classic game of suspect playcalling by Washington offensive coordinator John Donovan, and the offense showed no ability to help the defense out all game long.  Had the offense taken advantage of just a couple of those drives in the first half, the outcome would have been much different.  The Husky offense only garnered 166 yards of total offense the entire game.

Defensively, it was a game where the Huskies came out and played inspired football right out of the tunnel and made some huge plays.  They set the tone early in the first half and put the team in a position to try and pull off the upset.  With the huge pick by Bruener and making big plays to stall drives from the Ducks, the Husky defense handed the offense a winnable game on a silver platter, especially in the first half.  Everyone will look at the box score and see the 427 total yards of offense that Oregon amassed, with 329 of those yards coming off the ground, but the defense couldn’t have done much more to keep the offense in the game.  They were on the field entirely too long due to the fact that the offense is just not getting the job done.  It puts too much strain on the defense and when the game is on the line in the second half of games, they have nothing left in the tank.  This has been the story pretty much all season for the defense and they deserve a more balanced output, with help from the offense.

This was a head-scratching game on numerous fronts for the Huskies, but it all starts at the top with Washington head coach Jimmy Lake.  It wasn’t a great week for the head man, dating all the way back to his weekly Monday press conference.  The bulletin-board material he gave the Ducks with the “Academic Prowess” comment was a shocking development.  What was even more astonishing was in the first half, Lake was seen running down the sidelines, pushing an assistant coach and referee out of the way.  He was en route to intercept linebacker Ruperake Fuavai from getting an unsportsmanlike penalty.  In the process, he was seen on national television striking Fuavai in the helmet and then pushing him in the back as he was walking away.  Despite the incident being caught on video, Lake denied striking Fuavai when asked about it during his postgame press conference.  After the game, Washington Athletic Director Jen Cohen issued a statement that they were gathering information and investigating the incident.  Regardless of how this incident is being viewed by the powers that be, it isn’t exactly a shot in the arm for their recruiting efforts going forward.  Lastly, at the end of the game with a 4th and 10 for the Husky offense at their own 10-yard line, with 1:58 left in the game and down 8 points, Lake curiously decided to punt the ball away.  After a bad snap over punter Race Porter’s head, the Ducks tallied a safety and a 26-16 game that put the game out of reach.  Players look to their coaches in times of turmoil and adversity, and their leader is supposed to show them poise.  This past week, Lake has shown that this season is clearly getting to him with each passing week.  A once known, “calm, cool and collected” coach is now perceived as a man searching for his own inner peace and some resolve for his program.  This was a very winnable game for the Huskies if they had taken advantage of field position and offensive opportunities early in the first half – but it got away from them.  With three games left to play and two wins to become bowl eligible, it is a roll of the dice at this point, if they can get it done.  

One thing is for certain if Lake continues his erratic decision-making for the rest of the season, bowl eligibility possibilities will become an afterthought and the almost sure outcome will involve a new coaching staff going forward.  Hold on for the bumpy ride for the next three weeks, and buckle up!  The program is in for a “Dawg Fight” with only a short amount of time to get this season back to some sort of respectability, for a team that started the season ranked #20 in the nation!

Next up for the Huskies (4-5, 3-3) is the Arizona State Sun Devils at Husky Stadium, next Saturday, November 13th, with a kickoff time of 4:00 pm PT.  The game will be televised on FS1.








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