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Bulldogs hound wishy-washy Dawgs
2-quarterback rotation a disaster
By: Malamute, September 6, 2004

With a shock-and-awe attack never before seen at Husky Stadium, the UW shocked its fans and left FSU Coach Pat Hill in awe of its generosity, his Bulldogs reminding Coach Keith Gilbertson of the first commandment of football, “Thou shall not let thy quarterback beat thyself.” The Bulldogs returned two interceptions for a touchdown along with a fumble, winning 35-16.  

Quarterbacks are an overrated lot, being given too much credit for a team’s wins and too much blame for its losses. After the Huskies’ game on Sunday, most fans will give the two-quarterback rotation employed by Gilbertson much of the blame for the loss. And they might be correct.

The three-way QB controversy that emerged in Spring practice and continued into Fall practice, a battle waged among Casey Paus, Isaiah Stanback and Carl Bonnell, blew up in Gilbertson’s face on Sunday. Mistakes at quarterback gave the game away to a Fresno State team that didn't belong on the same playing field with the UW. How's that for sour grapes?

Starting quarterback Paus threw 3 interceptions, one of them run back by Richard Marshall for a touchdown.  His replacement, Isaiah Stanback threw an interception that was run back by James Sanders for a score. A confused Stanback accounted for another Bulldog score when he fumbled a ball that was recovered and run back by Brian Morris.

With the Huskies leading 7-0 in the first quarter, Stanback’s unforgivable toss, an interception/return, was the most devastating of the Huskies' five miscues because it let FSU back into a game that was heretofore controlled by the UW. Backed up on his own end of the field, Stanback threw the 19-yard interception/return off his back foot, a ball that clearly should never have been thrown.

"I couldn't believe it. It was like a birthday present. I'll take it, though," Sanders said.

Going into the game, Stanback’s decision making was a huge question and for that reason Gilbertson will be held accountable.

Ancillary to the first commandment of football is the proposition: "What Isaiah gives, Isaiah takes away." Everyone knew that, so why didn’t Gilbertson know that fans will be asking.?

In fairness to them both, Stanback is a devastating quarterback, maybe the fastest on his feet in Division 1A football. His ability to run the option effectively is without question. His presence on the field led to the first touchdown of the game. (Think option). During that drive, tackle Khalif Barnes opened a huge hole for fullback Zach Tuiasosopo, who rambled 50 yards to the Bulldogs’ 8-yard line. From there, Stanback ran in for a score and the Huskies led 7-0.

At that point in the game, Stanback looked like the Huskies’ starting quarterback, his brilliance on the field finally solving Gilbertson’s dilemma. Then came Stanback’s first miscue that resulted in an interception/return that tied the score at 7-7. And with the Huskies down 14-10 in the third quarter, Stanback fumbled a handoff to FB James Sims who didn’t seem to be expecting the ball and Morris ran it back for an 18-yard score.

That was all for Stanback, who completed 1 out of 5 for 10 yards with the one interception. 

Paus returned for the next series and threw an interception that Sanders gathered in on the Huskies’ 28. Two plays later, Dwayne Wright bolted the left side for a 28-yard touchdown to make it 28-10.

With 6:57 left in the game, Kenny James ran in from the 1-yard line, making the score 28-16, the Huskies failing on their two-point try.

With the Huskies still in the game at the 3:51 mark and down 28-16, Marshall intercepted Paus for a 78-yard touchdown return, which closed out the scoring with the try for point.

The difference in the game was the steadiness of Fresno State’s quarterback Paul Pinegar who completed 13 of 25 passes, throwing for 125 yards with one touchdown and an interception.

Gilbertson will be criticized for not naming his starting quarterback after spring practice and, then, for not giving him the lion’s share of reps during Fall practice.

“With quarterback we will go back to square one,” Gilbertson said after the game. “It was a rough day.”

Simplest is always best, and now because of the coaches' wishy-washy decision at not naming one quarterback, the Huskies are in deep yogurt. Underneath Gilbertson's gruff exterior lies a gentle heart. In this case, a "heartless" decision, as to naming his one-and-only QB, should have been made after spring practices. Bringing one inexperienced quarterback up to speed -- two being out of the question --  is all the luxury the Dawgs could have afforded.

In retrospect, Gilbertson should have gone all the way with his number one quarterback -- either with Stanback, Paus or Bonnell -- and eased him gently into the game by taking the pressure off him with the running game and a swarming, gambling defense.

UW kicker Evan Knudson missed two field goal attempts (37 and 38 yards) in the first eight minutes and was replaced with Michael Braunstein, who kicked a 25-yard field goal with 4:28 left in the third quarter. Braunstein, who came on strong at the TESC practices, should have been named the starting kicker, fans will second guess. On outward appearances, Braunstein has an arrogance and a cockiness about him that all kickers need, those exigencies most necessary in their lonely, nerdish world. 

Washington's defense played outstanding ball as expected. The return of LB Joe Lobendahn from injury is huge for Phil Snow's defense, along with the moving of Evan Benjamin to linebacker.

Not surprisingly, the favored Huskies won the statistical battle, racking up 20 first downs to the Bulldogs 11 and posting 360 total yards to 262. The UW won time of possession 31:56 to 28:04.

The series is now tied at one game apiece.

Team 1 2 3 4 Tot
Fresno State 0 7 7 21 35
UW 0 7 3 6 16

Time Team How Player(s) Score
2nd Q        
13:05 UW TD Isaiah Stanback 8-yard run; Michael Bruanstein kick UW 7-0
2:59 FSU TD Stanback's toss was intercepted and returned by James Sanders, 19 yards. Brett Visintainer kick. 7-7
3rd Q        
11:24 FSU TD Joe Fernandez pass from Paul Pinegar, 12 yards, Visintainer kick. 80-yard drive. FSU 14-7
4:28 UW FG Michael Braunstein kick from 25 FSU 14-10
4th Q        
15:00 FSU TD Fumble by QB Isaiah Stanback returned 18 yards by Brian Morris. Visintainer kick. FSU 21-10
14:06 FSU TD Wright touchdown run from from 28 yards. Visintainer kick. FSU 28-10
6:57 UW TD Kenny James one yard run. Two-point try failed. FSU 28-16
3:51 FSU TD Richard Marshall 75-yard interception return off QB Casey Paus. Visintainer kick. FSU 35-16

Statistic FSU UW
Total First Downs 11 20
Total Net Yards 262 360
Net Yards Rushing 35-137 41-170
Net Yards Passing 125 190
Completions-attempted-int 13-21-1 21-48-4
Punts Average 7 34.1 5 31.2
Sacks by 2-11 2-17
Return Yardage 149 26
  Punts Yards 3-3 --
  Kickoff Yards 1-18 4-49
  Interceptions Yards 4-128 1-15
Penalties Yards 12/102 6/54
Fumbles, Lost 1-1 1-1
Time of Possession  28:04 31:56

Passing cmp att yds tds int
Mark Pinegar 13 21 125 1 1
Casey Paus 18 39 183 0 3
Isaiah Stanback 1 5 10   1
Carl Bonnell 2 4 -3   0
FSU Att yds tds long  
Pinegar 6 28      
Wright 24 109 1    
Sumlin 2 3      
Adams 1 2      
Team 2 -5      
Washington Rushing att yds tds long
Shelton Sampson 1 5      
Kenny James 17 75 1    
Isaiah Stanback 7 15 1    
Zach Tuiasosopo 2 51      
Carl Bonnell 4 24      
James Sims 2 8      
Frederick 2 -2      
Paus 6 -6      
Pass Receiving rec yds tds long
Fernandez 4 38      
Rivera 3 4
Jamison 2 13      
Williams 1 43      
McDonald 1 14      
Sumlin 1 12      
Jennings 1 1      
Washington Pass Rec. rec yds tds long
Quintin Daniels 2 15      
Charles Frederick 9 114      
Shelton Sampson 1 -4
Kenny James 1 7      
Zach Tuiasosopo 5 47      
Jon Lyon          
Russo 2 9      
Sims 1 2      
Punting punts yds long Avg
Mike Lingus 7 239 64 34.1  
Sean Douglas 5 158 40 31.6  
Attendance 65,345          

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