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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

November 5, 2006 at 11:46 AM

The day after

Not that you may want to read it, but here’s our coverage of the game Saturday in Eugene.
In all of the stories are comments attributed to the Huskies about their surprise that Oregon ran as much as it did Saturday.
I agree with those of you questioning why they would be surprised. Oregon entered the game leading the conference in rushing with a 5.4 yards per carry average that was a half-yard better than anyone else in the Pac-10. Considering the inclement weather that was predicted but never came, it only makes sense to think Oregon would run the ball a lot.
Maybe the Huskies didn’t think Jonathan Stewart would be as healthy as he was.
The Ducks actually came out passing a bit early — nine of their first 19 plays were passes. But once the Ducks figured out that the Huskies were going almost primarily with a nickel defense, they went even more with the run to take advantage — notably, that 13-play drive that was all runs early in the second quarter after UW had tied the game.
It’s easy to pick at the coaches for not adjusting, but there’s no question that if UW had gone back to its base defense, the Ducks would then likely have started throwing more to take advantage of Washington’s new safeties. Maybe, given how Dennis Dixon was not throwing the ball all that well, UW should have tried to force the Ducks to throw.
Even more perplexing is how UW couldn’t run on the Ducks. Oregon was ninth in the Pac-10 against the run, and had allowed 100 or more yards to every opponent it had played this season — including Stanford in week one and Portland State last week.
UW had just 13 yards rushing overall with just 33 on 10 carries by Rankin. UW coach Tyrone Willingham talked afterward how it was important for the Huskies not to abandon the running game. But they did just that. Rankin had just two carries after halftime and the only other carry not by Carl Bonnell was by Johnie Kirton.
UW coaches say they had to throw in the second half because of the deficit and there’s some truth to that. When UW cut the lead to 17-14, Oregon drove for a TD to make it 24-14. UW then went four plays and out, getting a first-down on a first-down pass, then running Rankin once for a loss of one yard followed by two incompletions. Then Oregon drove for another TD to make it 31-14 and the game was basically over.
I was going to link to some of the other coverage around the Pac-10, then I saw Glenn Kasses’ blog on the Spokesman Review site that includes links to just about any other story that would be of interest. So I will just link to his blog if you’re interested in what else happened around the conference Saturday.

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