Sunday, October 28, 2012

Huskies Earn Second Victory Against a Top-Ten Opponent This Year

Coming into this game, Washington had lost three straight and had not looked good doing it. With the defense beaten up and the offense not coming close to its peak form of last year, UW fans were desperately hoping for a turnaround this week against undefeated Oregon State. In the first half, the fans got exactly what they had hoped for with dominant defense and solid offense.

Holding OSU to 110 yards in the first half, and two interceptions, the UW defense shut out the Beavers in the first. This stellar defense combined with Bishop Sankey’s powerful running, gave the Huskies a 10-0 lead heading into halftime. Sankey had over 60 yards and a touchdown in the first half and looked very strong running the ball, yet the offense couldn’t capitalize off of two turnovers. Part of the reason for this, was very questionable play calling by coach Sarkisian. Quarterback Keith Price barely threw the ball more than five yards downfield, and the passing game couldn’t get going.

Bishop Sankey pounded the ball in lieu to a 20-17 victory over the Beavers.

One of the key sequences was when Washington had the ball and had what seemed to be a fumble recovery in the end zone for a touchdown, but it was reversed and it was 4th and goal on the one. They responded to the tough call, and ended up scoring a Bishop Sankey touchdown after choosing to go for it on 4th down. While Washington dominated the first half, the third quarter changed the game and momentum completely.

Oregon State jumped out to a quick start in the third quarter and on their first drive, went 83 yards in two plays, capped off by a 53 yard touchdown reception by Brandin Cooks on a bubble screen. This touchdown play was the one play in the game where Sean Parker was not on the field. The Washington offense could not respond, and punted back to the Beavers. This resulted in OSU moving down the field once again and tying the game up with a field goal. The Beavers and Huskies held even 10-10 heading into the fourth quarter.

Sean Mannion was mostly inefficient on the night, but did execute the bubble screen TD pass to Cooks.
AP Photos

The fourth quarter started off with some major excitement, when it seemed that Washington had an interception returned for a touchdown, but it was once again called back because of an unnecessary personal foul call that happened 25 yards away from the play. However, the Dawgs still retained the ball, but had to quickly punt it away, losing all momentum gained from the interception.

But once again, the Dawgs gained all the momentum back when the Huskies intercepted Oregon State quarterback, Sean Mannion, for the fourth time in the game. The Dawgs then drove down the field and aided by some key Keith Price passes, capped off the drive with a Bishop Sankey touchdown run. The poor play by Mannion, led to Oregon State switching quarterbacks to backup Cody Vaz, who had played well earlier in the season, when having to replace Mannion due to injury. He moved the offense down the field completing five of six passes including a 29 yard touchdown pass to tight end Connor Hamlett that tied the game at 17 with just five minutes to go.

The Huskies calmly got the ball back and methodically moved the offense down the field into Oregon State territory. This drive was highlighted by an incredible catch by Kasen Williams and a personal foul penalty that moved Washington into the red zone. A few plays later, with another interesting play call that lead to a fourth down, the Huskies kicked a field goal to give them a three point lead with 1:20 left in the game.

Quarterback Keith Price #17 of the Washington Huskies passes against the Oregon State Beavers on October 27, 2012 at CenturyLink Field in Seattle, Washington. The Huskies defeated the Beavers 20-17.
Keith Price was very efficient on the night. He wasn't stellar, but wasn't bad either.
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images North America

When OSU got the ball back, they started fast, completing back to back passes for first downs, but then their drive stalled. Cody Vaz threw back to back incompletions, to bring up third down, where he was then sacked for a loss of four yards. To compound the problem, the Beavers made a bone-head mistake, and got a delay of game penalty, to make it 4th and 19. With an incomplete pass down the middle and one Husky kneel down later, the Huskies had captured a 20-17 victory against a top-ten team.
The story of the game was red zone production, as coming in Washington had been terrible in red zone offense, while Oregon State was very efficient. UW scored two red zone touchdowns, while OSU didn’t score any, and threw a first half interception while in the red zone. Red zone efficiency was a big key to the game tonight, and Washington won that battle, as well as the turnover battle, which made up for the fact that they were outgained 427-293 by OSU. If the Huskies want any chance at winning all of their remaining four games, they must win the turnover battle and keep up the good red zone efficiency. This was a great bounce-back win for the Dawgs, and should help them get back on track. The Dawgs face a motivated Cal team on the road at 6 pm on Friday on ESPN2. We’ll see if the Dawgs can convert their success at home on the road and pull off a solid victory at Memorial Stadium.

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Jackson Safon

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