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The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

November 20, 2011 at 11:06 PM

A few more Sunday night notes, links and thoughts

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A few more notes, links and thoughts, whether you want them or not. …

As always on Monday mornings around 8:20 a.m., I’ll be on the Husky Roundtable with Mitch Levy, Hugh Millen and Chuck Nelson on KJR-AM.

Obviously, we’ll talk a lot about Saturday’s 38-21 loss at Oregon State, a game I watched again today from start to almost finish. Here are a few more thoughts on the game upon further review:

— I completely overlooked the fact in my coverage of the game that OSU starting WR Jordan Bishop didn’t play after hurting his foot in pre-game warmups. James Rodgers then got hurt late in the first half, meaning OSU played the entire second half without two of its top three receivers. One of the players who stepped in, Micah Hatfield, hadn’t caught a pass all season but finished with three catches, including the first touchdown. The player who made the key catch in the second half, Obum Gwacham, whose 58-yard catch-and-run set up the TD that made it 24-14, is a redshirt freshman who came in with just four catches on the year. So, in the matchup of OSU receivers vs. UW’s secondary, youth and inexperience can’t really be cited as much of a factor.

— That said, OSU junior WR Markus Wheaton really came up big at clutch times again and again. He had a game-high seven catches and six came on third- or fourth-down, picking up the needed yardage each time. Those plays included a third-and-seven, a third-and-nine, a third-and-13, a fourth-and-7 and a third-and-one, the last of which kept alive the drive that made it 24-14. His other catch was merely the 52-yarder that got OSU off of its 1-yard-line after the interception midway through the fourth quarter, and he also 66 yards rushing on three carries. On further review, he probably should have at least shared the Player of the Game honors I gave to Sean Mannion.

— UW began the game running the ball well, and often to the left side where Senio Kelemete and Colin Tanigawa led the way. And it’s striking the difference in the offense from the point where Tanigawa went down with a knee injury that Steve Sarkisian said appears to be an ACL. Tanigawa left with just over 12 minutes to go in the second quarter near the end of the drive where UW tied it at 14. At the point he was hurt, UW had 123 yards rushing on 19 carries. From that point on, UW had just 37 yards on 19 carries. It’s hard to figure that difference is all due to Tanigawa, and it seemed watching the replay like his replacement, Nick Wood, did some good things. Maybe as much as anything it made the Huskies go away from the run to that side. But for whatever reason, UW’s rushing attack really changed from that point.

— Boy could the Huskies have really used Scott Crichton, OSU’s freshman defensive end from Foss High who has said he might have gone to UW had the Huskies offered. They didn’t, and Sarkisian admitted flat-out this week that was a mistake. But Crichton really had a good game, constantly getting the better of Erik Kohler, and then Micah Hatchie, who replaced Kohler at right tackle after the play where Crichton sped around him and forced Nick Montana to fumble, setting up the TD that made it 31-14 (that play is pictured above in an AP photo). Crichton finished with three tackles-for-a-loss. He ranks second in the conference in that category now with 13.5 for the season and also has five forced fumbles, which leads the Pac-12. He might be an all-conference play this year at that rate. UW, by the way, has now allowed 26 sacks in conference play, the most of any Pac-12 team.

— As much as it’s easy to remember the drop by Austin Seferian-Jenkins, UW in a way got that chance right back when OSU fumbled on the first play of its next drive. Watching the game again, that sequence felt like as big of a turning point as any. UW got the ball at the OSU 47 and quickly drove to the 24. But Montana then missed on a pass to a pretty-well-covered Jermaine Kearse in the end zone, Chris Polk was stopped for three yards, and a pass to Devin Aguilar was incomplete over the middle. UW coaches will probably watch the replay and think pass interference could have been called on the latter play as it was pretty close — who knows what might have happened if they had (remember, it was 17-14 OSU at the time). The defender, by the way, was Ryan Murphy, who was also the player who picked off the Keith Price pass a little later. Murphy, a redshirt freshman, also was the one beaten for the TD to Seferian-Jenkins in the second quarter when he had close coverage but couldn’t wrestle the ball away. The play in the fourth quarter when he outfought Kasen Williams was remarkably similar, but that time, Murphy won the battle. After the incompletion to Aguilar, Erik Folk missed badly to the right. OSU then drove for the TD that made it 24-14, Wheaton converting one third down, and the 58-yard pass to Gwacham also coming on a third-and-four.

— Looked like UW went into the game with a plan to rotate Semisi Tokolahi, Sione Potoa’e and Danny Shelton at defensive tackle (next to Alameda Ta’amu at nose, who seemed to play pretty darn well despite the sprained ankle that limited him in practice during the week). In each half, Tokolahi started, then Potoa’e came in, and then Shelton. But Shelton appeared to get the most plays and produce the most and based on that, it wouldn’t be a surprise if he starts now.

— I didn’t count all the missed tackles but there were obviously more than a few, and definitely a few that might have made a big difference in the outcome — though the most glaring thing watching it again is the lack of a pass rush on Mannion.

Okay, now for a few links. …

— Here’s my story for the Monday paper focusing on WSU’s injury situation.

Bud Withers writes about the weekend that was in the Pac-12.

— Here are some details on Jake Locker’s day. In some other news on former Huskies in the NFL — Mason Foster had two tackles as the Bucs lost to Green Bay; Donald Butler had three tackles as the Chargers lost to the Bears; and Dashon Goldson had an interception and two tackles as the 49ers improved to 9-1 (and as some of you noted I should add, he was also thrown out for fighting).

— Here’s more on the WSU news of the day from Vince Grippi.

— Finally, ESPN.com’s Ted Miller breaks down the Pac-12’s bowl situation and has UW going to the Holiday.

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