Washington vs. Stanford Game Grades

The Washington Huskies traveled down to “The Farm” as heavy favorites against a downtrodden Stanford Cardinal team looking to find their way.

In the end, the Huskies had one of their flattest performances in recent history and were upset 23-13 by the Cardinal.

From start to finish, the Huskies couldn’t find a way to get going and play at their pace, which proved to be costly.

Offensively, the Huskies had a bunch of stalled drives and couldn’t get into rhythm, which inhibited their ability to score points.

Defensively, the Huskies were unable to get off the field and stop Stanford’s long drives, which ate up the clock the entire night.

With their shocking loss to the Cardinal, the Huskies are no longer controlling their own fate in the Pac-12 North Division.

We will now take a look at each position group and coaching staff on the Huskies, and how they fared last night. Here are how things graded out…..


This position is sort of a mixed bag as junior Jacob Eason was not in rhythm last night, making it two straight games in a row now.  Eason had his opportunities to make some big plays and extend drives when he needed to, but his timing was just off.  He does get somewhat of a pass because there were countless drops by his wide receivers, in crucial situations that disrupted the flow of the offense.  The usual protection for Eason wasn’t there, as he was forced to leave the pocket repeatedly.  C-


One of the biggest components to the Husky offense this season has been the running game, but not last night.  This group was only able to gain 88 total yards on the night, which completely affected the balance of the offense and the ability to get going in the passing game.  Redshirt freshman Richard Newton was extremely effective before going down with an injury.  A week after running for a career high, junior Salvon Ahmed only had 6 total carries on the night.  D+


The story of the game for the Husky offense was the numerous dropped passes by the wide receivers group.  It seems as if the coaches are “hitching their wagon” with the senior starters and not giving the younger players much run at all.  While senior Aaron Fuller had some gawdy numbers on paper, his repeated drops in critical situations made a big impact.  Junior Hunter Bryant struggled to find his consistency all night, but sophomore Cade Otton looked solid.  D


In what is considered the strength of the offense, this group had a tough time last night.  The obvious – how numerous times Eason was flushed out of the pocket and was running for his life.  Stanford brought pressure all night long and the offensive line struggled to pick it up and communicate properly with each other.  Creating holes in the running game was also another issue, as this group couldn’t spring the ball carriers into the second level all game long.  D


The glaring thing that sticks out here is the inability of the defensive line to push the pocket back and disrupt Stanford backup quarterback Davis Mills.  He looked like a seasoned veteran back there in the pocket, and threw for 293 yards, while being protected by backup freshmen at some spots.  A bigger issue was letting the Cardinal rush for 189 yards, with Cameron Scarlett having his way most of the night.  This group struggled to plug the middle with getting off blocks and stuffing the run, which proved costly.  D+


On a whole it was a tough night for this group as there were a bunch of missed tackles and misread plays.  The inside linebackers had problems with stopping the run, which made them play tentative the entire night and with hesitation.  Getting consistent pressure off the edge by the outside linebackers last night was a major issue, as they allowed Mills free reign to operate the offense.  This group has to find a way to be more impactful and make their presence felt.  D


Some of the growing pains evident at the beginning of the season showed themselves again last night, with the young secondary.  Taking bad angles, missed tackles and a huge busted coverage, were issues all night long.  The coaches tried different combinations on the back end, but none of them seemed to prove effective.  Stanford took advantage of one-on-one matchups in the passing game, as they targeted the shorter players in the Husky secondary.  This group didn’t force any turnovers.  C-


Now to the positive..this group continues to impress each week and is easily the most improved position group on the team.  Sophomore placekicker Peyton Henry continued his perfect campaign, with two made field goals from 25 and 38-yards out.  Senior punter Joel Whitford is a big strength to the team, with his ability to kick the ball deep.  He had a long of 48-yards last night.  The kickoffs looked solid, and the coverage units didn’t allow any momentum changing plays. B+


There is simply no way to sugar coat things this week. This was not a great night for the Husky coaching staff in general.  The Huskies entered this game as a whopping 15-point favorite on the road, against a 2-3 Stanford team stricken with injuries.  The Cardinal played with a backup quarterback and backup freshmen on the offensive line last night.  Arguably the worst loss in the Chris Petersen era at Washington, the million dollar question is why?  The team came out extremely flat and it seemed as if they were “stuck in the mud” all game long.  When a team comes out flat all game long, that points to the coaches and how they got their players prepared to play.  With this game setting up as a classic “trap game” all week, did the coaches game plan “not to lose,” giving so much respect to the “trap game” itself?  Offensively, coordinator Bush Hamdan has plenty of weapons to get this offense moving and scoring points on a consistent basis.  There seems to be a continual stubbornness to not play some of the younger wide receivers, when the senior starters are struggling with constant dropped passes.  Puka Nacua comes to mind instantly here!  Defensively, coordinator Jimmy Lake struggled all night to stop the Stanford offense and get off the field.  The inability to wrap up and finish tackles was evident.  The Cardinal offense had an answer for everything Lake threw at them schematically.  With the Huskies having so much to play for and playing against a team they should have handled somewhat easily; this loss starts with the coaches.  They need to continue to “coach up” their young team on the fundamentals each and every day.  For as much praise that’s heaped upon them in the good weeks, it’s only fair to call it like it is.  This was a devastating loss, and the coaching staff was completely outcoached by Stanford head coach David Shaw and his entire staff.  D-


Entering this game, the Huskies had so much to play for and the ability to control their own fate in the Pac-12 Conference hierarchy.  Not taking care of business against an injured Stanford team without all of its parts, is mind boggling.  There are no excuses to be made for the outcome, as Stanford deserves all the credit – they outplayed, outcoached and out schemed the Huskies the entire night.  After rebounding from their loss to the California Bears with three straight wins, it seemed like the worst was behind the Huskies.  This type of shocking loss wasn’t supposed to happen.  With a veteran and elite coach like Petersen at the helm, keeping the team focused and on course shouldn’t be an issue.  Somehow it was!  A huge responsibility falls on the players and not just the coaches, because at some point you have to look across the field and let the other team know that you want it more!  The biggest issue is that the Huskies once again didn’t come close to matching the physicality of the Stanford Cardinal.  They didn’t match it physically, and they didn’t match it mentally!  The road gets even tougher for the Huskies going forward.  They have to travel into the desert, where they have struggled to play well.  Taking on a surging top of the Pac-12 South Division Arizona Wildcats team, that is now 4-1, at an 8:00 p.m. kickoff presents another set of issues for the Huskies.  The following week, their “hated rivals” from Eugene come to town.  We will see what kind of resolve this team has over the next two weeks.  The only way to go from here is to put this loss behind them and get back to work tomorrow morning!  


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