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'Canes: Charity begins at home
Richard Linde, 27  November 2001


On their way to the Holiday bowl, the Huskies were in a charitable mood, turning the ball over 7 times. Cody Pickett, courtesy of dawgman.com)

On paper, this game looked like a rout--a mismatch from the get go. But who would have ever thought the Dawgs would play give-away all night long. The Dawgs were intercepted six times and lost the ball once on a fumble (six fumbles altogether) on their way to a 65-7 pounding at the hands of the Miami Hurricanes. 

A poor coaching decision early in the first quarter set the tone for the mismatch.

After giving the Hurricanes a short-field touchdown by way of an interception, which left the Huskies in arrears 7-0, the Dawgs marched down field to the Hurricanes' two-yard line where they had the ball first and goal to go. After three grunts into a stubborn defensive line that yielded little or no real estate for his team, Coach Neuheisel decided go for it on fourth and two, eschewing a field-goal. (In the pros, a field-goal attempt in a similar situation is a no-brainer.) On the ensuing center exchange, Husky center Kyle Benn stepped on quarterback Cody Pickett’s foot, Pickett fell down and the ‘Canes had the ball on their own seven-yard line, the recipients of the second gift of the night.

On their way to the Holiday bowl, seemingly the Huskies were in a festive mood, giving the ‘Canes short-field opportunities all night long. Not surprisingly the Huskies dominated in time of possession. Here are the starting positions for the Hurricanes' first 37 points. 

-- Started from Husky 13-yard line after an interception. 'Canes, 7-0.

-- Started from Husky 41-yard line after a 31-yard punt. 'Canes, 14-0.

-- Started from Husky 38 yard-line after an interception. 'Canes, 21-0

-- After a low snap from center, punter Derek McLaughlin was tackled in end zone for a safety. 'Canes, 23-0.

-- The ensuing punt was run back to the Husky 15-yard line. 'Canes 30-0.

-- Interception run back for a touchdown. 'Canes, 37-0.

Commentary (no spin zone):

In all three losses, the Huskies have been routed. What's going on?

The Huskies have been routed three times this season, all in games played on the road. Each game had a similar beginning, with Husky turnovers leading to easy touchdowns for the bad guys. That's a no-no for a young team playing on the road.

In the UCLA game (35-13), Taylor Barton fumbled while being sacked, and the Bruins turned it into a quick touchdown, taking 6 plays to go 32 yards. After a long drive, which made it 14-0, the Bruins’ Marcus Reese blocked a Derek McLaughlin punt and Jybril Raymo recovered the ball on the six-yard line and ran it in for a touchdown with 2:08 left in the first quarter. UCLA was up 21-0 and never headed.

In the OSU game (49-24), down 21-10, the Dawgs worked their way from their own 20 to the Beavers' 14-yard line.  Then Cody Pickett threw a 73-yard interception return to Dennis Weathersby that turned a seemingly “close game” around. After Steven Jackson's one-yard run, the Huskies were down by 18 points (28-10). It was a fourteen-point swing.

On the second play from scrimmage in the Miami game, on second and 11, Pickett threw an interception return to Jonahthan Vilma, who returned the ball to the Husky 13-yard line. After Portis' 4-yard run, the ‘Canes were up 7-0 and never headed. Not getting any points on the subsequent drive was a devastating blow to the Huskies. Not to say that the Huskies would have won if they had kicked a field goal, however, most likely the game would have been much closer.

In these routs, the Huskies averaged 58 yards rushing. Not having a running game to take some pressure off the quarterback puts him in an untenable position. In all three games, to compound this weakness, the Husky quarterback faced a strong pass defense. Miami’s was second in the nation, OSU's led the conference and UCLA’s was crushing.

This all points to a weakness in the offensive line, which we all knew would be the case before the season started. The youth and inexperience of the line was exacerbated by Rock Nelson’s back injury, which left him unable to play. And incoming junior Francisco Tipoti didn’t make it into Fall classes because he lacked the necessary credits. 

Furthermore, the option didn’t work out for the Huskies this season. Hopefully, they’ll be able to recruit Isaiah Stanback, a multi-dimensional quarterback, for next season. On short-yardage plays near the goal line, he should be able to find a way to score. That’s not to say that Pickett, Barton and Paus won’t be capable. Stanback will give the Huskies an extra dimension, which they should exploit.

But the Dawgs may not need Stanback if they should fail to recruit him.

Next season looks much brighter for the Huskies. After opening up at Michigan on the road, the Huskies play five straight home games. They play San Jose State, Wyoming, Idaho, California, and Arizona in order.

Did the Husky defense let the team down?

It’s hard to fault the Husky defense in a debacle such as this one. The ‘Canes scored many of their points as a result of Husky turnovers. When given a short field, good offensive teams are going to score, especially when playing at home. No matter how hard a defensive player tries, he is not going to play with same intensity after all those give-a-ways, being down 37 points through no fault of his own. In my opinion, the fault lies with the offense, not the defense. Several breakdowns in Special Team's play contributed to the defeat as well.

If the Husky offense and Special Teams will do their part, so will the defense. That’s been true all season.

Is Miami that good and Washington that bad? 

Of course not. Many of the same players who competed last Saturday saw action against each other in Seattle last season, in a game that Washington won. In other sports where more games are played during a season, no one is startled by the fact that worst team in the league can thrash the best team on a given day. 

Should Washington schedule more patsies out of conference?

Since the Huskies play in the toughest conference in the nation, there's no reason to compound the issue by playing the likes of a Michigan and Miami in the same season. Because of the bias built into the BCS scheme of things and because of the unlikelihood of going unbeaten in this conference, it's unlikely that a Pac-10 team will ever play in the BCS championship game. It would be an outright fluke if that should happen. 

It behooves financially-able Pac-10 teams not to play two or more juggernauts in OOC games. Doing so, plays into the hands of the East coast mafia, which has stacked the BCS deck. Their point system is seriously flawed, and they know it. 

It's unlikely that an athlete from the Pac-10 will win the Heisman trophy as well. It's been 20 years since Marcus Allen of USC won the Heisman, the last player from the Pac-10 to achieve that distinction.

During those twenty years, the Pac-10 has put more players in the National Football League than any other conference. That's because the NFL puts their money where their mouth is.

Because of parity in college football, any major program that is part of balanced conference is going to experience an up and down season from time to time due to graduation losses and to players leaving early for the NFL. 

The Huskies are 8-3 this season and fortunate to have that record, since several games they won could have easily gone the other way.


Scoring

1st quarter Team Scoring How it happened
13:53 Touchdown  'Canes (7-0) Portis 4-yard run (Sievers kick)
2nd Quarter    
14:53 Touchdown 'Canes (14-0) Portis 30-yard run (Sievers kick) 
10:23 Touchdown 'Canes (21-0) Dorsey 5-yard pass to Portis (Sievers kick)
8:18 Safety 'Canes (23-0) Kellen Winslow II recovering
7:57 Touchdown 'Canes (30-0) Dorsey 25-yard pass to Johnson (Sievers kick)
7:28 Touchdown 'Canes (37-0) McDougle 18 yard interception return (Sievers kick)
3rd Quarter    
10:28 Touchdown 'Canes (44-0)  Davenort 1-yard run (Sievers kick)
9:55 Touchdown Dawgs (7-44) Alexis 5-yard run (Anderson kick)
3:23 Touchdown 'Canes (51-7) Dorsey 3-yard pass to Johnson (Sievers kick)
4th Quarter    
13:29 Touchdown 'Canes (58-7) Gore 2-yard run (Seivers kick)
5:00 Touchdown 'Canes (65-7) Crudup 13-yard pass to Geathers (Sievers kick)

 

Washington 0 0 7 0 7
Miami  7 30 14 14 65

 

Statistics Dawgs 'Canes
First Downs 22 21
Rushing yards 98 211
Passing yards 194 202
Sacked-yards  4-34 1-5
Return yards (punts, kickoffs, interceptions) 1-3, 6-134, 1-7 1-16, 1-60, 6-78
Passes 17-36-6 15-24-1
Punts 3-34.3 2-44.5
Fumbles lost 6-1 2-0
Penalties-yards 10-60 7-46
Time of Possession 35:49 24:11
Passing:
Pickett 14-29-5, 157
Barton 3-7-1, 37
Dorsey 14-21-1, 189, 3 touchdowns 
Crudup 1-3-0, 13, 1 touchdown        
Individual Statistics:
Rushing
Washington Attempts Yards TD
Willie Hurst 10 44 0
Pickett 10 -38 0
Alexis 17 75 1
Wilson 2 5 0
Singleton 4 26 0
Barton 1 -4 0
McLaughlin 1 -10 0
Miami      
Portis 12 105 2
McGahee 8 48 0
Gore 8 46 1
Johnson 1 13 0
Cobia 1 3 0
Davenport 4 2 1
Payton 1 0 0
Crudup 1 -5 0
Receiving
Washington Receptions Yards TD
Williams 6 85 0
Arnold 3 35 0
Ware 1 11 0
Reddick 3 30 0
Ware 1 9 0
Stevens 2 10 0
Hurst 1 10 0
Miami      
Jones 4 62 0
Johnson 4 56 2
Davenport 2 33 0
Sands 2 21 0
Geathers 1 13 1
Shockey 1 12 0
Portis 1 5 1

  

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