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Huskies out-Mannion-ed; Montana needs mo-Joe

Reser Stadium, Corvallis, Oregon. Led by Sean Mannion and his 339-yard-passing effort, the Oregon State Beavers out-muscled the Washington Huskies, 38-21, in front of 42,766 orange-draped fans.

After Nick Montana threw a touchdown pass with 13 seconds left in the game against USC last week, the look of elation on his parents' faces made watching the broadcast to the bitter end palpable. Against the Beavers, Montana made his first collegiate start, completing 11 of 21 passes for 79 yards, 2 touchdowns and 1 interception, which computes to a passing-efficiency rating of 105.89.

It was a brutal setting for Nick, the son of Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana, and unfair to him considering the well-advertised game plan.

Subbing for an injured Keith Price, Montana was stuck with coach Steve Sarkisian's scheme of things, which consisted of running Chris Polk and throwing short, safe passes. The problem is that everybody else in the state of Oregon knew the game-plan too; it had been posted on the Internet message boards all week. 

The coach's carefully designed blueprint worked for almost half the game, with OSU taking a narrow 17-14 lead into the rest period.

For instance, with 12 minutes remaining in the second quarter, UW had posted 123 yards rushing on 19 carries -- but, alas, after that, the rest of the way, accumulated just 37 yards on 19 carries.

In the second half, in keeping with a fizzling ground attack, the Huskies morphed into the 2008 team (which went 0-12), falling behind 31-14 with 11:27 left in the game, being out-muscled on both sides of the line of scrimmage.

The gambling bloke he is, Sark changed his game plan, inserting a partially hobbled Keith Price --  sprained knee and all -- into the fray to replace Montana.

The new plan almost worked.

Price led the Huskies on a 10-play, 85-yard scoring drive to narrow the score to 31-21 at the 7:50 mark in the 4th quarter.

And on the ensuing kick-off, the Beavers fumbled the ball over to Washington on the OSU 17.

What could go wrong?

Price ran smack dab into Murphy's Law. On the first play from scrimmage, Price threw a pass to Kasen Williams at the goal line, which was intercepted by Ryan Murphy.

"I actually thought Kasen caught the ball," Price was quoted as saying. "I didn't know. I thought it was a touchdown. We got the look that we wanted. I threw low so Kasen could get it. Unfortunately we didn't get it. ... If we get in the end zone, we win the game. I know our defense would have gotten the stop."

The Dawgs still had a chance to win, with the Beavers backed up on their goal line -- you know, a three-and-out.

But the Beavers marched 99 yards to score a touchdown, sealing their 38-21 victory with 2:12 left to go. Their final drive was highlighted by a 52-yard pass completion to Marcus Wheaton.

So much for defense. Now for the bad news:

-- TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins caught both of Montana's TD passes. With OSU leading 17-14 in the third quarter, he was wide open when he dropped what would likely have been a third TD catch from Montana at the OSU 40.

-- The Beavers outgained the Dawgs, 484 to 315 yards. The Huskies rank 97th in the FBS in total defense and 112th in pass defense.

-- They scored 21 points off the Huskies' three turnovers, the Huskies got nada off the Beavers' three.

-- Freshman Sean Mannion completed 26 out of 37 passes for 339 yards and 2 touchdowns with 1 pick. His passing efficiency on the game was a telling 159.66.

-- OSU registered 4 sacks, that's 17 sacks allowed by the Huskies in their last three games, the Dawgs ranking 111th  in that category.

-- The Huskies posted one sack, tying for 88th in that stat.

-- The Beavers' 145 yards rushing is significant since they had been averaging 88 rushing-yards per game prior to their clash with the Dawgs. OSU RB Jovan Stevenson rushed for three touchdowns.

-- It was the Huskies' fourth loss in five games and marks three consecutive losses in a row. The Beavers have posted 7 wins over the Huskies in the last 8 years.

What if? Minus all the miscues, bobbles and drops, along with Price playing the whole way, say, I still had the feeling the Huskies wouldn't have won. OSU beat them on both sides of the line of scrimmage and played with more enthusiasm.

You can't blame the loss on Nick Montana.

Sark said this about Montana: "I think today was a freshman making his first start. There were some moments where he did some nice things, and some other times, not so nice. That was somewhat to be expected. I didn't expect him to come out and just set the world on fire, but I thought he handled himself admirably and will only get better for it."
---------------

What is the quickest way to turn the program around?

For starters, the Huskies will begin to compete with the big boys, as in the top 25, when defensive coordinator Nick Holt begins to think "SEC front four" -- or, say, a Haloti Ngata -- when out on the recruiting trail and settles for nothing less. See Table 1 below.

For Price's passing efficiency rating see Table 2.

Table 1. In its six victories, Washington (6-5, 4-4 Pac-12) has held its six opponents to an average of 51.5 yards per game on the ground, which would rank first in the FBS if those six games were all Washington had played. In its five losses, UW has allowed 272.8 rushing yards per game. In all its eleven games, UW ranks 60th in the FBS in rushing defense (7th in the Pac-12), yielding 152.09 yards per game. This table seems to say stop the run and win the game.

School

W/L

Rush

UW Rush

Eastern Washington

W

31 yards

148 yards

Hawaii

W

55

151

Nebraska

 L

309

146

California

W

108

117

Utah

W

17

185

Colorado

W

62

295

Stanford

L

446

172

Arizona

W

36

179

Oregon

L

212

82

USC

L

252

46

Oregon State L 145 160

Table 2. Keith Price's cumulative passing efficiency.

Team C A Y T I PE C A Y T I PE
EWU 17 25 102 3 0 149.87 17 25 102 3 0 149.87
Hawai'i 18 25 315 4 1 222.64 35 50 417 7 1 182.26
Nebraska 21 37 274 4 2 143.83 56 87 691 11 3 165.91
California 19 25 292 3 0 213.71 75 112 983 14 3 176.58
Utah 22 30 226 3 1 162.95 97 142 1209 17 4 173.70
Colorado 21 28 257 4 0 199.24 118 170 1466 21 4 177.91
Stanford 23 36 247 1 1 125.13 141 206 1713 22 5 168.69
Arizona 16 30 277 1 3 121.89 157 236 1990 23 8 162.74
Oregon 24 35 143 2 2 110.32 181 271 2133 25 10 155.97
USC 12 16 125 0 0 140.62 193 287 2258 25 10 155.11
OSU 5 9 76 1 1 140.93 198 296 2334 26 11 154.68

Team 1 2 3 4 Total
Washington 7 7 0 7 21
Oregon State 14 3 0 21 38


Time Team How Player (s) UW OSU
1st qtr          
11:03 UW TD Austin Seferian-Jenkins 4 yd pass from Nick Montana (Erik Folk kick) 7 0
7:30 OSU TD James Rodgers 6 yd pass from Sean Mannion (Trevor Romaine kick) 7 7
2:52 OSU TD Micah Hatfield 6 yd pass from Sean Mannion (Trevor Romaine kick) 7 14
2nd qtr          
11:19 UW TD Austin Seferian-Jenkins 5 yd pass from Nick Montana (Erik Folk kick) 14 14
0:00 OSU FG Trevor Romaine 24 yarder 14 17
4th qtr
11:53 OSU TD Jovan Stevenson 3 yd run (Trevor Romaine kick) 14 24
11:27 OSU TD Jovan Stevenson 15 yd run (Trevor Romaine kick) 14 31
7:50 UW TD Devin Aguilar 20 yd pass from Keith Price (Erik Folk kick) 21 31
2:12 OSU TD Jovan Stevenson 1 yd run (Trevor Romaine kick) 21 38

 

Statistics UW OSU
Total First Downs 22 20
  Rushing 10 5
  Passing 10 14
  Penalty 2 1
Total Net Yards 315 484
Net Yards Passing 155 339
Net Yards Rushing 160 145
Completions-att-int 16-30-2 26-37-1
Punts, yards, average 3-122; 40.7 2-70; 35.0
Sacks by (number, yards) 1-7 4-26
Kickoff Returns: number, yds, tds 5-77-0 3-60-0
Punt returns: number, yds, tds 1-1-0 1-19-0
Kickoff Yards 4-267 6-390
Net Yards per kickoff 46.8 48.8
Average yards per kickoff 66.8 65.0
Touchbacks (kickoffs) 1 1
Third-down conversions 6 of 13 8 of 14
Interception returns: no., yds, tds 1-0-0 2-5-0
Penalties, no., Yards 3-21 7-70
Fumbles; number/lost 1-1 3-2
Time of Possession  28:33 31:27

Passing cmp att yds tds int
Sean Mannion; 159.66 26 37 339 2 1
           
Washington          
Keith Price; 140.93 5 9 76 1 1
Nick Montana; 105.89 11 21 79 2 1
           
OSU Rushing No. Net TD Lg Avg.
Markus Wheaton 3 66 0 56 22.0
Terron Ward 13 43 0 29 3.3
Javon Stevenson 10 41 3 15 4.1
Brandin Cooks 2 4 0 8 2.0
Sean Mannion 1 0 0 0 0.0
Team 1 -2 0 0 -2.0
James Rogers 1 -7 0 0 -7.0
           
Washington Rushing No. yds tds long avg.
Chris Polk 25 109 0 18 4.4
Jessie Callier 3 22 0 9 7.3
Bishop Sankey 2 12 0 11 6.0
Kevin Smith 1 24 0 24 24.0
Nick Montana 7 -7 0 11 -1.0
           
Beavers Pass Receiving No. yds tds long
Marcus Wheaton 7 125 0 52  
James Rogers 4 48 1 25  
Micah Hatfield 3 18 1 8  
Terron Ward 3 13 0 5  
Obum Gwacham 2 69 0 58  
Joe Halahuni 2 17 0 11  
Brandin Cooks 2 8 0 5  
Javon Stevenson 1 18 0 18  
Clayton York 1 14 0 14  
Colby Prince 1 9 0 9  
           
Washington Pass Rec. No. yds tds long
Bishop Sankey 1 1 0 1  
Kasen Williams 3 54 0 36  
Chris Polk 2 8 0 12  
Austin Seferian-Jenkins 6 40 2 12  
Jermaine Kearse 1 10 0 10  
Devin Aguilar 3 42 1 20  
           
Punting        
OSU No. yds avg long IN20
Johnny Heckler 2 70 35.0 37 1
           
Washington          
   
Kiel Rasp 3 122 40.7 43 1
           
Attendance: 42,766          

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

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