Game Analysis: UW vs. OSU

Game Analysis: UW vs. OSU

The Huskies won tonight with an opportune defense and a balanced offensive attack. It was a street-fight of a game that came down to the final minute. Washington came out on top largely because they took the ball away four times and only gave it up once.

Turning Point: This game had more twists and turns than a corn maze on Halloween, but the turning point of the game to me had to be Washington's fourth interception of the game, courtesy of cornerback Marcus Peters. In what turned out to be Sean Mannion's final throw of the game, he threw off of his back foot yet another dying quail and the ball fluttered into the arms of Peters, who returned it to the OSU 15 yard line. The ball was ultimately placed on the OSU 30 after Talia Crichton was flagged for a personal foul, but the Huskies were able to punch it in from there, the final yard coming on a 1-yard Bishop Sankey plunge to put the Huskies ahead 17-10.

Play of the Game: On the Husky drive following Oregon State's game-tying touchdown, Kasen Williams made the catch of the season, a 19-yard leaping, gravity (and death) defying reception right at the Husky sideline. The play was on 3rd and 7, and Washington looking like they were going to have to punt the ball back. Instead, Williams went up high to snag a ball that he probably had no business catching. Not only that, his concentration was so great, he was able to hang onto the ball despite taking a helmet-to-helmet hit. He had to known the hit was coming, yet he maintained enough concentration to hang on and come crashing to earth to receive the illegal hit. The result was the drive was kept alive and after the penalty on the hit, the ball was placed at the OSU 18 yard line. It led to the game winning 30-yard field goal by Travis Coons.

Offensive Player of the Game: RB Bishop Sankey. Sankey was instrumental in establishing the tone in the first half, picking up many yards after contact and loosening up Oregon State's defense. He had 71 first-half yards, yet only had a long carry of 13 yards. He was a workhorse, and although he doesn't show great hands yet as a receiver, today he proved that he can carry the ball 20-25 times a game and be "the guy". The second half proved to be much tougher sledding, but his 92 tough yards on 25 carries against the #7 team in the country was crucial tonight. He scored both Husky touchdowns and didn't turn the ball over once. The turnover battle turned out to be the difference tonight and Sankey was on the positive side of that ledger.

Defensive Player of the Game: CB Desmond Trufant. The cornerback and leader of the defense proved again this evening why he will be a solid NFL defensive back. Against the speed of OSU's receivers (particularly Brandon Cooks, who lost to Oregon's De‘Anthony Thomas in a sprint by an eyelash), Tru was up to the task and then some. He had 9 solo tackles, including a huge hit in the open field to prevent OSU from converting a 4th and 8. Tru also had a tackle for loss and numerous other tight coverages forced errant throws from Sean Mannion. Sean Parker had a notable game at safety as well, coming up with an interception as well as breaking up three passes, one of them putting Marcus Wheaton out of the game for good.

Key Stat: Four interceptions, all thrown by OSU's Sean Mannion. Sean Parker had one. Justin Glenn had a very acrobatic one, laying out and diving to catch the ball before it hit the turf after caroming off of Marcus Wheaton, after he had been plastered by Parker. John Timu had one and nearly took it back to the house, getting stripped just before the goal line. The play would've resulted in a touchdown, as the fumble was recovered by Washington, but a personal foul on Danny Shelton nullified the score.

Special Teams MVP: PK Travis Coons had a big night, connecting on two of two field goals. His first one was from 45-yards and got the Huskies on the board after an impressive drive where they established the run. It was crucial that the Dawgs get points after marching 66 yards from their own 4 yard line, and his boot did that. And of course his 30-yarder with 1:20 remaining were the final points in what proved to be a hard-fought win. Coons connected on both of his extra point opportunities, and he netted 39 yards per punt with two of those being downed inside the 20-yard line.

Handouts to the Standouts: FB Jonathan Amosa had a big night, although it won't show up on the stat sheet. Whenever he got the chance, he really laid into the linebackers and defensive linemen to clear lanes for Sankey to run. Sean Parker had probably his best game of the season. He played very disciplined and never really looked out of position. He had two big pass break-ups and had three solo stops as well. Andrew Hudson got some good pass rush tonight and was singled out by Sarkisian after the game, and Talia Crichton got a huge sack on the final drive. Kasen Williams had five catches, and although Austin Seferian-Jenkins only had three catches, they came in big times. Jaydon Mickens had perhaps his best game to date as well, producing 42 yards on just two receptions. Final kudos should go to Steve Sarkisian, who had his team ready to fight, and ran the ball 33 times this evening and only threw it 30. That shows good commitment to the rushing game. Hats off to Sark.

Needs work: Defending the screen. On two plays on third and long, Oregon State was able to get the Husky defensive line to suck up field and then threw over them for big gains to Storm Woods. That needs to improve. And the first touchdown for OSU came on a bubble screen. Washington had made a substitution at safety just before that play and it looked like a miscommunication, resulting in Will Shamburger being slightly out of position. That was really the first play of the game where the Husky defense lost track of the play, and they paid for it. Also, the penalties nearly undid this team tonight. 8 flags for 84 yards, and two of them came after interceptions. Those were mind-numbingly stupid penalties that could've easily impacted the game to a very negative degree. And I'm betting Shaq Thompson can wait to see the film from this game. He struggled at times, but he is a freshman and the defense is clearly better with him on the field and learning.

Roll out and heave: Keith Price is far from comfortable at the moment. Any time he left the pocket, he looked lost. Even when there were guys open, almost always he would not see them and wind up launching the ball over the Oregon State bench. I counted six times he did this, and on two of them he had guys open had he identified them earlier in the play. His feet are happy and his mechanics look broken. Even on big plays tonight, they were mostly "throw the ball up and let your guy make a play" as opposed to nicely thrown balls. His ball rarely spiraled tonight. However when you win the game, it makes it much easier to digest. Still, I hope Price finds his mojo again after this game.

Crooked Stat of the game: Total yards. Oregon State had 427 yards to Washington's 293. They had 318 passing yards to Washington's 194. But when you turn the ball over 4 times, it's hard to keep up on the scoreboard. Washington lost the total yards battle, the passing yards battle, yet won the time of possession, 32:03 to 27:57. How could this be? Because they RAN THE FOOTBALL. And they didn't throw interceptions.

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