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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

November 19, 2006 at 10:05 PM

WSU grades

Some of this will run in the paper Monday but I’ll put it here as well.
Here is the UW replay and the grades of the game. I’ll try to answer some of your specific questions about the season and looking ahead in the coming days.
REPLAY
The good: The Huskies would have gone into the off-season with some huge clouds hovering over their program if they had lost to WSU and had a seven-game losing streak. Instead, they can now go into the winter spurred by the good feeling of beating the Cougars and feeling positive about a season in which they did about what most people reasonably expected. The fact that so many of the key players Saturday (Marcel Reece, Cody Ellis, Louis Rankin, Greyson Gunheim, Chris Stevens) will be returning helps set the stage for next year, as well.
The bad: Such a win only causes people to wonder why the team didn’t play like that during some of its more desultory losses (namely, Oregon State, Arizona State, Oregon and Stanford). This team seemed to need some significant external motivation (big-name foe or arch-rival) to get up for opponents. Maybe the younger players on the team will learn from that.
Next up: Spring football.
GRADING THE GAME
Offense: The Huskies seemed a little more aggressive and daring all day, and that paid off in three big plays, two of which were the longest plays from scrimmage for the Huskies this season. The Huskies tried a few more sweeps and other plays outside the tackles to take advantage of WSU’s 3-4 defense.
Carl Bonnell made some mistakes but showed a lot of grit, Louis Rankin ran harder than he had been, and Marcel Reece was a revelation. And the line, seeming to wear down the last few weeks, bucked up for one last solid effort. But despite the one great run by Rankin, the running game was a struggle much of the day. Grade: B
Defense: UW gave up 32 points, 430 yards and 10-20 third-downs, yet still won. They did it by not allowing the killer big play (for all of WSU’s yards, it had no play longer than 33 yards) and getting some timely big plays of its own, namely five sacks. Scott White, invisible at times of late, had a big game in his last Husky appearance and Greyson Gunheim got constant pressure from the edge.
Grade: B.
Special teams: For the first time in years, the Huskies won a game due to special teams — ultimately, the blocked punt by Chris Stevens and the 87-yard kickoff return by Marlon Wood were the difference in the game. Sean Douglas returned to his first-half form with some booming punts and Michael Braunstein had some solid kickoffs in what was apparently his last game as a Husky game. WSU was prevented from ever running a punt back. Grade: A-minus.

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