Travel and other considerations mean this may be a shorter version of this than usual, as I also try to get a few other things up here before the night ends. But I wanted to pass along a few quick thoughts and quotes on a game that really helps sets the Huskies up well for the rest of the season.
UW is now 4-1 with a bye week to get ready for a home game against Colorado on Oct. 15. Win that one and UW would have its best record in 10 years to take into a game at Stanford that might come with the most hype of any regular-season game the Huskies have played in that same time.
And how UW won this game is obviously a tried and true winning formula — running on offense, stopping the run on defense, playing opportunistic throughout, and more solid quarterbacking by Keith Price, who despite a first half that was a little subpar by his standards still was 22-30 for 226 yards and three touchdowns.
A total team effort, in other words. It didn’t hurt that Utah self-destructed at times, and the Utes’ offense was obviously constricted once Jordan Wynn couldn’t play.
But the Huskies were already completely shutting off Utah’s running game even with Wynn in there, and that was the real key to holding the Utes down in the first half and keeping the Huskies in it until the offense got going.
One real key to the defense was the play inside of Semisi Tokolahi and to a lesser extent Danny Shelton and Lawrence Lagafuiana, who gave the Huskies, as Steve Sarkisian said, a “physical presence” in the middle of the line. Those three combine with Alameda Ta’amu for what is about 660 pounds of tackles, and Utah couldn’t move those guys. Everrette Thompson and Josh Shirley and Andrew Hudson played well at the end spots, and the result was that Utah didn’t have a run longer than six yards all night.
The linebackers all tackled well — this might have been UW’s best tackling game of the season — and young guys like Garret Gilliland and Jamaal Kearse continue to improve and make plays.
The secondary was a little vulnerable at times early. But Sean Parker had some big hits, Desmond Trufant came up with a couple big plays, and Greg Ducre just continues to get better, having essentially taken over the starting job at the one cornerback spot for now with Quinton Richardson still not quite 100 percent.
Said defensive coordinator Nick Holt: “We played really aggressive and our kids were flying around and being real physical and got the ball out and our corners did a great job of staying on top of the deep ball and coming up with some of those big plays so it was good. … It’s kind of coming more consistent and we just finally put really a consistent four quarters together and we’re not having mental lapses. We were really good throughout the game. There was a couple of things we need to improve on. Really the last touchdown they should have never gotten — we had some young guys in at positions that didn’t know what they were supposed to do on that particular play … other than that it was a really good solid physical defensive effort.”
Offensively, it was ragged early, and the Huskies even made their first line change of the year when Micah Hatchie went in for a series for Erik Kohler. Sarkisian said later that they needed to get Kohler “settled down.”
And Keith Price also said he was a little too anxious for this game and wasn’t playing well early. But once Price settled down and the line as well, UW dominated.
Obviously, Chris Polk was the big star of the game — running out of things to say about him other than that if anyone was wondering if he’d lost anything from last year after the game last week, those are all put to rest.
The line got better in the second half in a tough situation and Jonathan Amosa deserves mention for the standout job he continues to do blocking from his fullback spot. The receivers dropped a few passes but also made a few plays.
Given what this win could mean, this could go down someday as a real defining night for the Huskies.
With that, here’s a look at some highlights:
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