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Rx: A Hail Mary and ground T(y)-Bone
Has the Ty Willie era belatedly begun?
Richard Linde, 13 November 2005

Amassing 333 yards on the ground, the Washington Huskies (2-8, 1-6) beat Arizona 38-14 at Tucson, to end a 14-game conference losing streak. James Sims rushed for 200 yards on 30 carries; Isaiah Stanback passed for 157 yards and 1 touchdown and rushed for 96 yards to buttress a UW offense that posted 490 total yards. Arizona (3-7, 2-5)  committed 5 turnovers to help the Husky cause.

After a less than bewitching start this season, the Tyrone Willingham era has officially begun, and as if the hurly-burly had been done, Macbeth's three witches would have cackled that it had all begun with a Hail Mary pass to end the first half, one that Willingham called "a hell of a play" -- which was out of character for him. It was a 69-yard pass from Stanback to WR Craig Chambers, one that traveled 70 yards in the air.

In the second half, the Huskies scored 24 unanswered points, which was out of character for them, too, having struggled in the last half of each game they have lost this season -- 8 of them -- especially in the fourth quarter.

The Huskies turned two turnovers into points in the third quarter, pulling away to a 28-14 lead.

Arizona freshman quarterback Willie Tuitama threw 3 picks and fumbled two away. The Husky defense held Arizona to 87 yards rushing and 235 yards passing. The 'Cats' outstanding running back Mike Bell was held to just 37 yards rushing on 16 carries.

A week before in Tucson, Arizona stunned then-seventh-ranked UCLA with a 52-14 shellacking. Earlier in the seaxon, the UDUB came close to beating UCLA, as did lowly Washington State. Eleventh ranked Oregon barely squeaked by WSU last night. There's a whole lot of parity goin' on in this conference.

In its first seven games, the UW lost games to Cal, Notre Dame, UCLA, Oregon and USC, all ranked teams at the time it played them, and except for Cal, the rest are ranked in the top twenty now. The UW schedule was front loaded with top twenty teams, and in its games against the Air Force, Arizona State, and Oregon State, one can conjure up at least one scenario in which the Huskies win. 

The good:

-- The Dawgs' defense. The whole lot of them.

-- The Dawgs' offensive line, plus some outstanding play from Stanback, Sims, and Chambers. On one running play, offensive tackle Joe Toledo pushed his opponent 15 yards downfield.

-- The Dawgs were plus 4 in turnovers.

-- The Dawgs have some talent on this team; consider that it is mostly made up of Rick Neuheisel's recruits from his last three years at Washington. His three classes had an average ranking of 15th in the country, according to data available on scout.com. The last two recruiting classes (Keith Gilbertson (2004) and Gilbertson/Willingham (2005)) were just average in quality, contributing to a team that lacks depth. 

-- Ty's explicative, if you want to call it that, was one that most likely made the loose-lipped Scot, Gil Dobie (58-0-3), sit up in his grave and holler halleluiah. Like Dobie, Willingham keeps the media away from practices; he teaches a team concept, in that there are no players' names on jerseys; he entertains the media with his homilies, and he believes in fundamental football.

-- Willingham's rushing attack reminded me of his Notre Dame team of last season, which posted some nice rushing yards against USC in the first half of their game. Once the drizzle ended and the field dried out, the Trojans did their thing, using their speed and talent to crush the Irish. 

-- If Willingham can haul in an above average recruiting class in 2006, look for the Dawgs to go to a bowl game next season, a guess that reflects on the parity that exists in the conference, 'SC notwithstanding. 

The Bad:

Nothing bad. A win is a win is a win.

Team 1 2 3 4 Total
Washington 7 7 14 10 38
Arizona 7 7 0 0 14

Time Team How Player (s) Score
1st qtr        
10:57 UA TD Willie Tuitama 71-yard pass to Syndric Steptoe; Nicholas Folk kick. UA, 7-0
0:36 UW TD James Sims 2-yard run; Evan Knudson kick Tie, 7-7
2nd qtr        
1:09 UA TD Tuitama 3-yard pass to Gilbert Harris; Folk kick. UA, 14-7
0:00 UW TD Isaiah Stanback 69-yard pass to Craig Chambers; Evan Knudson kick. Tie. 14-14
3rd qtr        
12:45 UW TD Stanback 28-yard run; Knudson kick. UW, 21-14
2:11 UW TD Stanback 1-yard run; Knudson kick. UW, 28-14
4th qtr        
8:38 UW FG Knudson 24-yard field goal. UW, 31-14
7:20 UW TD Roy Lewis 42-yard interception return; Knudson kick. UW, 38-14

Statistic UW UA
Total First Downs 21 21
  Rushing 16 4
  Passing 4 13
  Penalty 1 4
Total Net Yards 490 322
Net Yards Passing 157 235
Net Yards Rushing 333 87
Completions-att-int 10-19-1 22-41-3
Punts, yards, average 4-152-38.0 6-280-46.7
Times sacked (number, yards) 2, -16 1, -8
Return Yardage 179 62
  Punts Yards 2-40 1-2
  Kickoff Yards 2-48 2-60
 Interceptions returns Yds 3-91 1-0
Penalties Yards 9-95 5-55
Fumble: number, lost 0-0 2-2
Time of Possession  31:52 28:08

Passing cmp att yds tds int
Willie Tuitama 22 41 235 2 3
Isaiah Stanback 10 19 157 1 1
UA Rushing att yds tds long  
Mike Bell 16 37 0 8  
Chris Henry 3 31 0 19  
Gilbert Harris 7 11 0 5  
Syndric Steptoe 1 10 0 10  
Willie Tuitama 3 -2 0 6  
Washington Rushing att yds tds long
Isaiah Stanback 14 96 2 28  
Chris Singleton 6 36 0 11  
James Sims 30 200 1 46  
Casey Paus 1 2 0 2  
Pass Receiving rec yds tds long
Anthony Johnson 7 56 0 16  
Syndric Steptoe 5 80 1 37  
Michael Thomas 4 45 0 13  
Gilbert Harris 3 13 1 7  
Mike Bell 2 36 0 23  
Donald Horton 1 5 0 5  
Washington Pass Rec. rec yds tds long
Anthony Russo 5 52 0 21  
Robert Lewis 2 23 0 13  
Craig Chambers 2 77 1 69  
James Sims 1 5 0 5  
Punting punts yds long Avg
Nicholas Folk 6 280 61 46.7  
Sean Douglas 4 152 48 38.0  
Attendance: 52,505          

Richard Linde (a.k.a., Malamute) can be reached at malamute@4malamute.com

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