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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

November 4, 2006 at 7:31 PM

There’s still hope

This was an ugly game, and showed that despite the 4-1 start that got everyone excited, the Huskies still have a long ways to go to be an elite team again.
The numbers are staggering — Oregon had 31 first downs to UW’s 10, 454 yards to UW’s 138, and 316 rushing yards to UW’s 13.
UW punted nine times to just two for Oregon, and the Huskies had six three-and-outs.
Worse, the Huskies might have lost two key players.
Defensive end Brandon Ala suffered a dislocated left elbow in the first quarter and Willingham said he’s likely done for the final two games of the regular season.
Starting guard Clay Walker left in the third quarter with a sprained ankle and his return for next week is questionable. Walker was replaced by sophomore Casey Bulyca, a Woodinville grad who saw the first action of his career. It was the first time this season UW had to make a change on its offensive line for injury reasons.
But with Stanford up next week, there is still hope.
Washington should win that game — the Cardinal looks like the worst Pac-10 team in two decades. If the Huskies can do that, it could set up an Apple Cup that could be winner-take-all for a bowl game in light of WSU’s loss to Arizona today.
Although I’m not sure right now that going to Hawaii to play a bowl game is quite the prize it sounds like. Whoever goes there will have to play against the University of Hawaii — which officially accepted a bid to the game today. Hawaii has one of the hottest offenses in the nation and that will basically be playing a road game.
As for today, I mostly think Oregon out-talented UW. Jonathan Stewart said this was the healthiest he has felt since the season opener, and he looked like the best player on the field most of the day. And Oregon’s lines on both sides of the ball were simply better than Washington’s.
That’s not to let the coaches off the hook. The Huskies seemed to lack fire today, moreso than at any other time this season, and there didn’t seem to be a ton of creativity on either side of the ball.
I’ll break it down more in the coming days, but for now, I have to hit the road for the drive back to Seattle.
Here are a few more notes:
—- Quarterback Carl Bonnell took some hard hits late in the game one to the same left shoulder to which he suffered a third-degree sprain against Cal two weeks ago. But Bonnell stayed in the game and said afterward he should be okay next week.
— UW was whistled for seven penalties, resulting in a season-high 72 penalty yards. The most costly came in the second quarter and wiped out a recovery of a fumbled Oregon punt that would have given UW the ball at the Oregon 31. But UW was called for an illegal shift. Willingham said it was the accurate call.
— UW’s inept offensive day included at least three dropped passes. “That might have made a difference in keeping some drives going,” Willingham said.
— Willingham said Oregon’s diverse offense “didn’t allow us to be quite as aggressive,” on defense as the Huskies would have liked.
— C.J. Wallace left for a while with a knee injury but returned and said it’s nothing serious. He’s had a knee problem for a few weeks now.
— Willingham said one reason he didn’t turn to Shelton Sampson is because Louis Rankin is better in the passing game. He also said he wanted to go with the guys who had practiced at that spot all week. But Tim Lappano said that it may be time to give Sampson a look. Kenny James tried to go with the sprained ankle but couldn’t.

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