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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

October 30, 2011 at 2:07 AM

Post-game analysis and highlights

A few quick notes, quotes and observations at what is an ungodly hour to still be doing any of this — but it’s college football season so we trudge along. …

Chris Polk broke a record tonight held by Napoleon Kaufman (most 100-yard games, Polk now has 18) and tied a record shared by Hugh McElhenny and Corey Dillon (five touchdowns in a game). Those are probably the three best RBs in UW history (admitting that arguments could be made for Joe Steele and Greg Lewis) and Polk moved into a spot of prominence with all of them in one night. It’s obvious to everyone by now, but Polk belongs on the UW Mt. Rushmore of running backs right with those guys.

— For all the criticism you want to throw at the coaching staff at times, you have to give them credit for finding a way to win just about every winnable game. UW is now 10-2 in its last 12 games, and 15-8 since starting out 3-7 in Steve Sarkisian’s first year as coach. Of the eight losses, all but one is by double digits (the loss at BYU to start last season). Of the 15 wins, seven are by eight points or less — and tonight’s kind of felt like a nailbiter even if it ended up being an 11-point margin. Point being, when UW has had a chance to win a game the last couple years, it’s usually found a way to win it.

— The key play of the game might have been Arizona’s second-and-one from its own 38 with just under 12 minutes left. UA led 31-28 at the time, had just picked off a Keith Price pass, and had picked up nine yards on a run on first down. Committed to running (maybe more than it should have) Arizona tried another run but the front seven read it well and Josh Shirley broke through to make a three-yard loss. Nick Foles then threw incomplete on third down and Arizona punted and UW drove for the go-ahead touchdown. Had UA picked up that second-and-one, who knows what might have happened? Maybe UW makes a play later in the drive anyway. But that felt like a key point, and Arizona coach Tim Kish thought so later, as well, saying: “that would have been a critical time for us to get a first down and take some time off the clock. Our defense was getting a little gassed there at that point. So that was unfortunate that we didn’t get that first down.”

— Some quick post-game position thoughts:

QUARTERBACK — Not Keith Price’s best game, but all three INTs might not have been his thought (two tipped, the other when a receiver slipped) and he still threw for 277 yards and a TD. Probably a B-minus if I gave grades.

RUNNING BACK — A-+++++++++++++++ for Chris Polk. Thirty-four carries for 144 yards and 100 yards receiving and five touchdowns? Unfortunately, he did it on the same day Andrew Luck might have just clinched the Heisman. But says here Polk should still be the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week come Monday (or at least share it, if nothing else).

RECEIVER — Not a great day. Some weird drops and bobbles and the passing game seemed a little out of sync other than what Polk brought it. The highlight was the two catches for 60 yards by Kasen Williams — maybe this will be his breakout game.

OFFENSIVE LINE —- Have to admit, I had so much on my plate tonight that I’d be lying to say I paid great attention to the line. But from what I saw, it was the same five for the entire game and they helped pave the way for 489 yards and 42 points, so it must not have been that bad. Arizona’s defense isn’t very good, but after the sluggish start, UW made it look not very good. UW had 427 yards in the final three quarters, so once they got rolling, they got rolling.

DEFENSIVE LINE — Officially, Semisi Tokolahi started. Unofficially, UW went with a line that had Andrew Hudson and Shirley at ends and Alameda Ta’amu and Everrette Thompson inside. Sasrkisian said they wanted a quicker group, and Hudson in particular was a little of a revelation with some good rush off the edge, including a really big sack early on. Thompson also broke up two passes. UW held Arizona to 36 yards rushing in 19 attempts, looking like the most schizophrenic team in the nation when it comes to run defense. Here are UW’s last four rush defense numbers — 17, 62, 446, 36.

LINEBACKER — UW went back to the opening day lineup witih John Timu back at SLB after being limited of late after the injury against Cal. Princeton Fuimaono came up with some big plays and showed the kind of playmaking that earned him the starting spot to begin. Timu also had five tackles, and Cort Dennison eight and the interception late.

DEFENSIVE BACKS —- UW gave up a bunch of yards and won’t rise in the pass defense standings at all. But they also didn’t give up a pass longer than 24 yards other than the 41-yarder by Ka’Deem Carey that was due to missed tacklers. They wanted to keep everything in front and make Arizona have to work its way down the field, thinking the longer they kept Arizona out there, the better. It worked as Arizona got just two offensive touchdowns, three times settling for field goals. Anthony Gobern got a lot of work until suffering a concussion. Depending on how he recovers, looks like he’s earned some time in the future. UW will have to tackle better against Oregon and USC the next two weeks. But for tonight, it was good enough.

SPECIAL TEAMS — Another winning effort, largely in the edge in kickoff returns. Kevin Smith had five returns for 144 yards and Jesse Callier one for 27 as it appeared the Huskies might go for a touchdown on every one. This will be a huge key next week against Oregon, which frankly has dominated UW in special teams for about a decade now. But UW continues to show improvement in this area.

Now for some field-level highlights from Kyle McCormick:

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