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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

November 11, 2007 at 1:13 PM

Grading the game

That was a long, long night and as bizarre a night as I’ve ever had in this business.
Apologies for the the abrupt end of the game blog last night but it was decided with about eight minutes left that, I should head to the field for post-game coverage, so that’s what I did. That, obviously, means I can’t be manning the blog at that point. Then I had to turn attention to duties for the newspaper where we were attempting to constantly update our stories. Not sure I’ve ever covered a game that didn’t end until 11:14 p.m., and that was in doubt until the very end, as well.
Also, I will pass along any official update on Jake Locker when we have one. As I write this at 1:15 p.m., I have nothing new.
Anyway, on to the grades.
QUARTERBACK: For the first seven plays last night, Locker and the offense looked great. Then it all came crashing down, as the UW offense was out of sync even before Locker was hurt. OSU did what it set out to do early, turn Locker into a dropback passer, and he struggled with that going 6-14 for 16 yards. It then took Carl Bonnell a while to get going — he was 4-12 for 39 yards until the fourth quarter. But it’s understandable that Bonnell — who hadn’t played when the game was in doubt since last year’s Apple Cup — might need a few plays to shake off the rust. Give Bonnell a lot of credit for hanging in there and finally getting on track late. GRADE: C.
RUNNING BACKS: Louis Rankin was held in check all night and made the one big error that really cost UW with that fumble returned to the 5-yard-line. Brandon Johnson looked good on his two runs and Luke Kravitz had a nice run, as well. But the Rankin fumble is hard to ignore. GRADE: C-minus.
RECEIVERS: The Huskies needed the receivers to get off the line and make some plays, and they never did until it was pretty much too late. There also seemed to be some miscommunication at times that made the passing game look a little shoddy. Cody Ellis’ play, however, did you make you wonder where he’s been all season. And Curtis Shaw was a revelation. But the tight ends continue to be non-existant — this seemed like it might have been a good spot for them to do something. And it’s worth nothing that UW’s passing game success came after two OSU cornerbacks were thrown out of the game. GRADE: C.
OFFENSIVE LINE: Give the O-line a lot of props for its grit after Locker was hurt. This seemed to be the group leading the fight the rest of the way. But left tackles Cody Habben and Ben Ossai were beat bad early on for sacks that helped set the tone of the game and the mobility of UW’s QBs helped prevent a few other sacks. The running game never really got going, but that wasn’t unexpected given the stoutness of OSU’s run defense. GRADE: B-minus.
DEFENSIVE LINE: DE Greyson Gunheim continued his late-season surge with eight tackles, a sack and three tackles for a loss and Daniel Te’o-Nesheim was also active with six tackles and a sack, and Caesar Rayford also contributed a sack. And the Huskies kept Yvenson Bernard in check for the third three quarters before seeming to wear down again. And worth pointing out that OSU only scored one offensive touchdown (though it surely would have scored two if not for the bizarre call on the Bernard fumble late). Still, Bernard ended up with 149 yards, which is how good backs do it by coming on late, and UW was outmanned at the point of attack on that long final drive by the Beavers that was the key to the game. GRADE: C.
LINEBACKERS: Trenton Tuiasosopo had one of his best games including the big interception that helped UW get back in the game and E.J. Savannah had three tackles for a loss. But UW also never seemed to figure out that flanker reverse to James Rodgers, which really killed them on that final drive that led to the Bernard fumble. There are also still way too many missed tackles by the front seven, but which is particularly egregious in this group. GRADE: C.
SECONDARY: OSU’s receivers without Sammie Stroughter really aren’t very good, and QB Lyle Moevao is a backup for a reason, so the paltry passing numbers put up by the Beavers have to be taken with that in mind. OSU also dropped a handful of passes. But give Roy Lewis a nod for being heads up on that fumble. And it also seemed like Mesphin Forrester and Darin Harris were around the ball a lot and hitting hard. GRADE: C-plus.
SPECIAL TEAMS: This, as much as anything, is where UW lost the game. The blocked punt was a killer, and in a way, UW never really recovered from it. The kickoff coverage was also again not that great — OSU had a net of 43 yards on iits kickoffs and UW 27. UW also got little out of its return game. But give Ryan Perkins credit for hitting a 42-yarder. GRADE: D .
COACHING: What a mixed bag here. Whatever else you say about this team, you can’t say it hasn’t played hard every game, or continued to keep fighting even when it has fallen behind. At 16-0 and with Locker in the hospital, it would have been really easy for this to turn into a 35-3 type of game. The coaches have to be given some props that it didn’t. On the other hand, this was another game that simply got away from the Huskies in sometimes head-scratching fashion. The special teams were subpar again, and there was some questionable play-calling. Tim Lappano admitted later he should have run it on thrid-and-two on that final drive. Instead, two straight passes killed the drive there. It also seemed like UW got away from the run too early in the first half turning Locker into a drop back passer. That series before the blocked punt, where Locker threw three straight incompletions on deep balls, seemed a little panicky. UW was down just 6-0 at the time. UW was also 1-14 on third downs, which has to be accounted for somewhere in here. The decision to go for it on 4-13 at the OSU 36 in the third quarter also seemed a little odd. UW was down just 16-10 at the time, but OSU used the field position to take a 19-10 lead. And as mentioned earlier, UW never seemed to figure out that reverse run to Rodgers, who had 85 yards on eight carries. More discouraging than any grade I can give, however, is the fact that this is now a third straight losing season for this staff — something that has never before happened with a UW coach — and fourth overall. GRADE: C-minus.

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