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Hyped up Huskies Humbled
Same old OL, same old D
Malamute, 4 September 20010

Led by quarterbacks Riley Nelson and Jake Heaps, who combined for 262 yards passing and two touchdowns, the BYU Cougars handed Washington its thirteenth consecutive loss on the road, 23-17, at Provo, Utah.

Forget the last two games of last season when UW thrashed WSU and Cal; these are the same Huskies we followed during the first ten games of 2009, a team that went 3-7 in that interim, posting a fluke win over Arizona. This time around, at Provo, they couldn't run the ball when it mattered and their pass defense gave up the big play on blown coverage that resulted in the winning points. Some déjà vu from last season and other seasons past?

"Our ability to knock people off the football is concerning to me," head coach Steve Sarkisian was quoted as saying. "And it's been concerning, and we'll continue to stress it and work on it because it's such a big factor in the ballgame to extend drives, and it didn't work out today. We'll get better."

Remember the road games against UCLA and Notre Dame last season? Same old, same old. So why all the hype going into this season? Has everyone been drinking Kool-Aid this summer or are they, er hum, just trying to sell tickets?

Add to that some critical special teams errors and you have the formula for another loss on the road. Oh, I forgot. Add in a crucial coaching error too. I mean, almost everyone is to blame for this collapse -- except, perhaps, Jake Locker, who saw his Heisman Trophy express temporarily derailed.

It's too early to give up on the season, but I don't exactly have a warm fuzzy feeling about its outcome after watching this game. Adding to my frustration is all the pre-season hype heaped on the Huskies, this coming sans convincing evidence; everyone over at dawgman.com predicted a win for the Huskies, along with the Seattle Times' Bob Condotta and ESPN's Ted Miller. I had the Huskies a three-point underdog, not being convinced by all of the ballyhoo that preceded the game. Las Vegas, a place where you put your money where your mouth is, said that BYU was a two-point favorite. Caveat emptor.

We were promised a BMW and took delivery of a VW instead.

Reference my article, "Holding Sark's feet to the fire," for a more reasonable timetable to get the Dawgs to a bowl. Also, reference the Pac-10 statistics for this week. 

Now for the Huskies special teams' errors: a penalty for roughing the kicker that prolonged a BYU drive and contributed to the wide disparity in time of possession; two bobbled kick returns that led to poor field position; and a center snap that flew over the head of punter Will Mahan that resulted in a safety.

The Huskies had all the momentum going into the second half after taking a 17-13 lead into the locker room. On the first series of the second half, their mighty mo carried them to the BYU 44-yard line. A questionable tripping penalty was called on the last play of the drive that moved the ball back to the UW 39 and a third and 14.  Locker rushed for four yards and UW punted the ball away.

On the Cougars' first series of the second half, Mitch Payne finished off a 59-yard drive with a 29-yard field goal, narrowing the lead to 17-16, Washington.

Starting from their 7-yard line on the next series, the Dawgs went three and out, which led to the 48-yard touchdown pass -- on blown coverage -- from Riley Nelson to JJ Di Luigi that gave BYU the final score, 23-17.

However, the Dawgs had a chance to tie the score.

On the first drive of the fourth quarter and down by six, the Huskies mounted a 63-yard drive that carried to the BYU 23, where they had a fourth and two. Disdaining a field goal attempt, Sarkisian called a pass play, which fell incomplete.

If the Huskies had successfully connected on the three pointer, they could have tied the game, 23-all, late in the fourth quarter after their 43-yard drive stalled on the Cougars' 27.

Call that a critical coaching error. The Pros would have gone for the field goal, absolutely, especially if their short-yardage running game had been abysmal all game long, carrying over from the past season. In other words, BYU expected the pass play and defended it nicely, breaking up Locker's pass to Jermaine Kearse -- who else?

More on Jake:

Jake's passing efficiency on the game, 123.36, compares favorably with those of other UW quarterbacks going back to the year 2000. He passed for one touchdown and ran for another.

Most importantly, he didn't lose the game for UW, thus the advantage of having a senior quarterback.

The short-yardage running game was abysmal along with shoddy defensive play at times and poor special teams' execution, Folk's long field goal (54 yards) excepted. Add to them a critical coaching error, that is, the eschewed field goal attempt, and you have the recipe for another loss on the road. 

The bottom line is that Jake can't do it all alone.

Team 1 2 3 4 Total
Washington 7 10 0 0 17
BYU 5 8 10 0 23

Time Team How Player (s) Score
1st qtr        
10:02 UW TD Jake Locker 19-yard pass to Jermaine Kearse; Erik Folk kick. UW, 7-0
4:30 BYU S Bad snap on punt UW, 7-2
0:31 BYU FG Mitch Payne 22-yarder UW, 7-5
2nd qtr
12:08 BYU TD Riley Nelson 9-yard pass to Joshua Quezada; Nelson rush BYU, 13-7
8:43 UW TD Locker 9-yard run; Folk kick. UW-14-13
0:0 UW FG Folk 54-yard boot. UW, 17-13
3rd qtr
6:59 BYU FG Payne 29-yards out. UW, 17-16
4:23 BYU TD Nelson 48-yard pass to JJ Di Luigi; Payne kick. BYU, 23-17


Statistic UW BYU
Total First Downs 20 23
  Rushing 6 11
  Passing 12 9
  Penalty 2 3
Total Net Yards 394 408
Net Yards Passing 266 262
Net Yards Rushing 128 146
Completions-att-int 20-39-0 24-40-0
Punts, yards, average 6-271, 45.2 6-223, 237.2
Sacks by (number, yards) 0-0 1-4
Kickoff Returns: number, yds, tds 2-20-0 4-72-0
Punt returns: number, yds, tds 0-0-0 2-26-0
Kickoff Yards 4-260 5-345
Net Yards per kickoff 47.0 57.0
Average yards per kickoff 65.0 69.0
Touchbacks (kickoffs) 0 2
Third-down conversions 5-15 5-16
Interception returns: no., yds, tds 0-0-0 0-0-0
Penalties, no., Yards 5-66 6-60
Fumbles; number/lost 2-0 2-0
Time of Possession  25:53 34:07

Passing cmp att yds tds int
Jake Heaps (104.37) 13 23 131 0 0
Riley Nelson (168.26) 11 17 131 2 0
Combined (131.52) 24 40 162 2 0
Jake Locker (123.36) 20 37 266 1 0
Devin Aguilar 0 1 0 0 0
BYU Rushing No. yds tds long  
JJ Di Luigi 13 69 0 19  
Riley Nelson 8 45 0 12  
Brian Kariya 8 20 0 8  
O'Neill Chambers 1 8 0 8  
Jake Heaps 1 6 0 6  
Team 2 -2 0 0  
Washington Rushing No. yds tds long
Jake Locker 11 29 1 9  
Chris Polk 16 92 0 8  
Jesse Callier 2 40 0 39  
Johri Fogerson 1 6 0 6  
Will Mahan 1 -39 0 0  
BYU Pass Receiving No. yds tds long
Luke Ashworth 6 24 0 12  
JJ Di Luigi 4 83 1 48  
Richard Wilson 3 45 0 25  
McKay Jacobson 3 33 0 17  
O'Neill Chambers 3 21 0 9  
Marcus Mathews 1 17 0 17  
Mike Muehlmann 1 15 0 15  
Cody Hoffman 1 14 0 14  
Joshua Quezada 1 9 1 9  
Brian Kariya 1 1 0 1  
Washington Pass Rec. No. yds tds long
Cody Bruns 3 25 0 12  
D'Andre Goodwin 1 5 0 5  
Devin Aguilar 5 57 0 20  
Chris Polk 1 7 0 7  
Jermaine Kearse 5 108 1 43  
Chris Izbicki 1 15 0 15  
Jordan Polk 1 25 0 25  
Austin Sylvester 1 9 0 9  
Jesse Callier 2 15 0 13  
BYU No. yds avg long tb
Riley Stephenson 6 233 37.2 47 1
Will Mahan 6 271 45.2 64 2
Attendance: 63,771          

Richard Linde, aka Malamute can be reached at malamute@4malamute.com

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