So where to begin after this one?
This was pretty much a broken record of what UW fans have seen all season — some promising moments early, many due to Jake Locker’s physical ability, then a complete breakdown in the third quarter.
No one seemed to have any answers for it afterward, and you can read about that in my game story here. Also some notes here with injury information.
I think the coaches will have some serious work to do now to keep the team together. UW running backs coach Trent Miles talked about that afterward saying “we can’t divide. We’ve got to stay together and work through it.”
Players that talked afterward said most of the right things, though RB Louis Rankin gave a hint that not all is well when he said several times that “I don’t want to talk about it” despite having been brought into the interview room to do just that.
Rankin admitted that the loss was particularly frustrating “because this was a game we should have won and should have won.”
Maybe. But I know UW fans are getting tired of this about now.
With that preamble, on to the grades.
QUARTERBACK: Another ugly passing game for Locker as he was 10-28 with another interception that was returned for a touchdown. All the talk of the passing game getting better during the bye week appears to have been much ado about nothing. Still, I’m firmly in the camp that Locker adds so much to this team with his feet (what would this offense look without him?) that that always has to be taken into account. GRADE: C-minus.
RUNNING BACK: The Huskies did indeed rotate backs a bit, but it really didn’t add much as J.R. Hasty had nowhere else to run, either. Rankin ran well early on and that 38-yard run was his best since the Syracuse game. Brandon Johnson didn’t really do enough to be judged in any way, and the fullbacks appear to have disappeared as neither touched the ball. GRADE: B.
RECEIVERS: A mixed bag. Marcel Reece made probably the best play by a UW receiver with his diving TD grab. But there were a few dropped passes later, and as bad as Locker looked at times throwing, it wasn’t as if he had open receivers all over the place to throw to. ASU plays a lot of man, and for the most part, they kept UW’s receivers in check. GRADE: C-minus.
OFFENSIVE LINE: The new look early with Jordan White-Frisbee turned out to be merely a benching for disciplinary reasons of Casey Bulyca. Otherwise, we saw the same group, and like the rest of the team, it looked good early only to evaporate late. Locker was sacked twice, once leading to a fumble that began the onslaught, and the running game was ineffective in the second half. Worse were all the false start penalties by the guys up front — at least four. GRADE: C-minus.
DEFENSIVE LINE: The Huskies did sack Rudy Carpenter four times, and Greyson Gunheim had maybe his best game of the season with nine tackles and 2.5 for a loss. But in the end, UW allowed 523 yards, the second time in three games UW has given up more than 500 yards. That starts up front with a line that isn’t performing to expectations. GRADE: D.
LINEBACKERS: E.J. Savannah also was benched for the first series for disciplinary reasons, but came back to apply some decent pressure in the first half as UW blitzed more than it had all season. But otherwise, it was a bleak night here. Dan Howell missed the tackle on a 57-yard run by Dmitri Nance and also said later he should have been in position for an interception. “I put a lot of the loss personally on myself,” he said. ASU ended up rushing for 296 yards, which also has to fall greatly on the LBs. ASU had 228 rushing yards in the second half. GRADE: D.
SECONDARY: Byron Davenport showed a lot of fire in his first start at cornerback, and Darin Harris came up with a big interception at a time when it looked like it just might be UW’s night. But in the end, the Huskies allowed Carpenter to complete 20-31 passes for 227 yards and two touchdowns, and gave up a few big third downs in the process. ASU also played much of the game without its best receiver, Michael Jones, who had a concussion. GRADE: C.
SPECIAL TEAMS: The best player for UW all night might have been punter Jared Ballman, who averaged 41.3 yards on six kicks. And for once, the coverage units were fine. But Ryan Perkins’ missed field goal was huge and helped sway the game for good in the direction of ASU. Again, the Huskies had a problem in this area that really cost them. GRADE: B-minus.
COACHING: Give the coaches some credit for coming up with a few wrinkles early on that had the Huskies in position to win the game at halftime. But how to explain what’s going on in the second half? That has to begin falling back on the coaches as at some point the responsibility for missed tackles, guys being in the wrong gaps, dropped passes, etc., has to go to them. In the end, there’s no question that ASU is simply better than the Huskies, so coaching isn’t the sole reason UW lost tonight (depending on who you assign the blame for the fact that the Sun Devils are obviously more talented). But the fact that the coaches seem to have no answers for the third-quarter thing has to be disheartening to UW fans. GRADE: C-minus.
PROGAMMING NOTE: With traveling back to Seattle more, don’t know how much I’ll get on the blog. But I’ll try to chime in a time or two. I ask that people keep comments as respectful as possible in the meantime.
So where to begin after this one?
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