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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

November 23, 2008 at 12:31 AM

The (early) mourning after

The drive back from Pullman may mean limited time tomorrow for some of the usual Sunday features.
So I thought I’d just link and post a few things that are available now:
— First, here’s my game story which focused on some of the key plays in the game, including UW’s decision to punt from the 36-yard-line. You can ask the guy who was standing next to me on the sidelines at the time — I thought it was a bad move then. I thought UW had way more to gain than it had to lose by going for it. What it would have lost is 16 yards, which the Cougars basically made up on the first play of the series anyway, What they had to gain was winning the game. Go nine feet, which UW had been doing most of the day every time it ran the ball — and against what was essentially the worst run defense in the country —- and the game is over. UW coach Tyrone Willingham portrayed it as showing faith in his defense. But what about showing faith in his running game, which was the other good thing the team had all day? What about telling those veteran O-linemen, get nine feet and the Apple Cup is yours? He’s already been fired. What’s the point in playing it safe now? I can tell you every Cougar fan I talked to was really glad UW punted. Willingham later called it the right move, but hard to see how that’s the case since the Huskies lost the game. And focusing on the last play obscures that the whole last series UW had was way too conservative. The Huskies needed to show some gumption there. One first down wins the game. And again, the WSU defense is terrible. You don’t trust your offense to get one first down against what statistically is the worst Pac-10 defense in history in terms of points allowed?
— Times columnist Jerry Brewer says this is as low as the Huskies can go.
Bud Withers writes about how much the win meant to WSU.
— Withers also breaks down the critical reception by Jared Karstetter that turned the game.
— The notebook includes a look at the field goal adventures for both teams.
— Here’s more on the Cougar point of things from the Spokesman-Review.
— ESPN.com’s Ted Miller writes that neither team may be any good, but the game they played sure was fun to watch. Miller also includes a mention of Jordan White-Frisbee being helped off the field after the game by teammates, something that didn’t make it into our coverage. White-Frisbee has been gamely battling foot injuries all season. It’s worth remembering that physical toll on a lot of these players, despite the frustration over the losing. White-Frisbee told me in August that his feet will never be the same after what he has gone through playing college football.
— In other Pac-10 news, Oregon State is a win away from going to the Rose Bowl. If the Beavers pull it off, it will mean that each of the other three Northwest teams will have won at least a share of the Pac-10 title since the last time UW won it — Oregon in 2001 (Ducks had to go to the Fiesta that year with the Rose hosting the national title game), WSU in 2002 and Oregon State if it happens.
— In fact, one note I forgot to mention earlier is that Willingham ends his UW tenure 1-11 in “Northwest Championship” games. He was 0-4 against both the Beavers and Ducks and 1-3 against the Cougars, the lone win coming in 2006 in Pullman.
— One thing that also didn’t get in for lack of space was the fact that UW’s 224 yards rushing was a season high — their previous high was 171 against Brigham Young. Redshirt freshman Willie Griffin rushed for a career-high 112 yards for UW, most of it in the first half, while Terrance Dailey had 89, all of it in the second half. Willingham said he switched running backs to provide a change of pace. “The game plan was nice,” said Dailey. “We finally got to run the ball a lot,” Dailey said the problem was that the Huskies didn’t convert enough of the yards to points. “The whole first half I was watching Willie run it was like ‘this is amazing. We are actually moving the ball on the ground,”’ Dailey said. “But we only had 10 points. We felt we should have had a lot more points, but when we got in the red zone, we didn’t execute.”
— One comment on the above note — I’ve seen some criticism of taking out Griffin for a lot of the second half. I think the coaches deserve at least a little benefit of the doubt on that one as Griffin had 26 carries — twice as many as his season total. He’s also been battling some sort of toe-foot issue that held him out last week. And it’s not as if Dailey didn’t run well — he averaged 4.4 yards per carry in the game to Griffin’s 4.3. I gave the coaches an F earlier, so I’m not trying to find excuses for them in any way. But I’m not sure the fact they rotated Griffin and Dailey figured much into things. Seemed like they got the same thing out of both of them.
All for now.

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