Washington vs. Arizona Game Grades

The Washington Huskies were looking to show vast improvement from their season-opening game against Oregon State.

They delivered a dominating 44-27 performance and were able to keep the Wildcats from gaining any traction.

Throughout the game, the Huskies continually delivered blow after blow in all three phases of a game that was never in question.

Offensively, the Huskies showed their ability to showcase being multidimensional, while taking advantage of scoring opportunities.

Defensively, they swarmed to the ball all night long with their suffocating defense and set the tone right out of the tunnel.

With such a convincing performance and victory, the Huskies showed everyone just the kind of talented team they can be.

We will now take a look at how each position group for the Huskies fared last night and also how the coaching staff graded out…..


Give Dylan Morris some credit here!  He has now played in his first two collegiate games without giving up a single turnover.  Essentially, he is giving the offense chances to make plays and score.  Morris exhibited great command of the offense last night and his decision making looks “rock steady.”  Mobility wise, Morris continues to show his ability to scramble out of pressure and get the ball down the field.  One visible area of improvement for Morris is his accuracy on deep-ball passes when receivers gain separation.  A-


For a second consecutive week, this group brought the production with a total of 233 yards off the ground.  The “running back by committee” is paying dividends, as each running back is bringing versatility to the table.  The 54-yard TD run by Richard Newton was spectacular.  Cameron Davis completely “trucked” the Arizona defense with his “YAC” run.  Most importantly, this group’s success is taking pressure off of Morris as he eases into his collegiate career as a first time QB.  A


Plain and simple, the story of the night was the stellar play of TE Cade Otton.  He was simply spectacular with 7 catches, 100 yards, and 1 TD.  His blocking was simply outstanding.  Puka Nacua had an awesome 65-yard TD reception of his own, which helped the offense gain momentum.  While the production from this group was improved this week, there are still drops for touchdowns, on plays to move the chains and extend drives.  We are still waiting for that one wide receiver to emerge as a true #1 for this offense.  B+


It all starts up front in the trenches and the play of this group has been stellar this season.  As Washington head coach Jimmy Lake describes this group as “massive”.  They have been hugely responsible for the success of the offense thus far.  They are getting a tremendous push at the point of attack and opened up more holes, which allowed another 200+ yards performance in the running game.  Most importantly, they are keeping Morris upright and giving him time to deliver the ball downfield.  Only one sack has been given up in two games now.  A


Coach Lake said postgame that the biggest point of emphasis during the week was to stop the run, which they didn’t get done the week before.  From the outstart, this group imposed their will upfront and were able to disrupt anything offensively that the Wildcats were trying to get done.  Arizona QB Grant Gunnell was described as looking scared by Husky players after the game.  This was a much-improved effort by this group when compared to last week, and they still are not at full strength yet health-wise.  B+


A bright spot on defense last night was the vast improvement from this group compared to the first game of the season.  That physical, tough, swarming to the football mentality that has been a main staple of the Huskies defense was back.  The story continues to be the play of Zion Tupuola-Fetui who recorded two sacks on the night and consistently wreaked havoc on Gunnell.  With the defensive line getting things done upfront, the linebackers were able to trust one another and make the right plays.  B+


The performance from this group will be skewed a bit when looking at their overall assessment.  The starting group of DB’s played “light’s out” for the first three-quarters of the game and were able to harass the Arizona wide receivers and keep them in check.  What was concerning was the drop off in the 4th quarter, when Lake called the “Dawgs off” and put in the backups.  Giving up over 200+ yards through the air in one quarter and giving up touchdowns will need to be addressed.  Those numbers shouldn’t happen by anyone on the field for a Husky defense.  B


After a rough start to the season last week, this group played an outstanding game and showed a lot of improvement.  The coverage units were sound all night long, as they stayed in their lanes and made tackles.  Kyler Gordon continues to be a “wrecking ball” on special teams, cleaning up tackles and blowing things up.  The one knock on the night was the 47-yard FG miss by Peyton Henry.  We even saw a fake punt converted for a first down earlier in the game, which showed the Huskies put a special emphasis on shoring things up this week.  A-


Coaches often say that the biggest improvement at any time during the season takes place between week one and week two.  Give the entire coaching staff a lot of credit here as they had the team ready to play from the outstart.  There was improvement in all three phases of the game, which equated into the dominant performance we saw on the field.  Offensively, the “multidimensional” offense that Lake keeps talking about is certainly a reality.  Offensive coordinator John Donovan has done a great job playcalling so far, with taking what the defense is giving him and attacking their weakness.  His offense has settled in a first time QB without any game experience and made him comfortable and successful so far.  Defensively, the Huskies looked like their normal selves that got them their reputation as one of the best defenses in the country over the past years.  That physical, swarming to the ball style of defense, completely took the Wildcats’ “will” from the moment the whistle was blown.  Coach Lake is 2-0 so far in his debut and you know that his team will continue to get better each week.  It’s just who he is!  A


What sticks out about last night’s game was how the entire team was fast out of the gate and ready to play.  That is a testament to staying mentally focused and finding ways to generate their own motivation and energy.  Such a huge part of Husky Football is the electric atmosphere and energy that Husky Stadium gives to the players as a boost.  Without that luxury this season, the players will have to find it on their own.  They hit the Wildcats “in the mouth” last night and they kept applying pressure to them for three quarters.  Once the coaching staff took the starters out of the game, the dominating finish that they should have closed with didn’t happen and it’s a good learning lesson for the entire team, which includes the coaching staff.  I’m quite certain they will use it as motivation and a teaching moment to finish strong and maintain that edge once the blowout was evident.  Overall, this was a satisfying and dominating performance in all three phases of the game and it should be a stepping stone to an even greater level for them to achieve moving forward.  A-




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