Let’s take a quick look at each position grouping for UW following Saturday night’s 21-12 win over San Diego State:
QUARTERBACK — Keith Price (right in a Dean Rutz photo) called it the worst game he’s played in quite a while. The raw stats say otherwise — he was 25-35 for 222 yards and a touchdown without an interception and also gained 37 yards rushing (though with a net of 17 after losing 20 on three sacks). But Price said his decision-making was a little off and he just felt like he was never in a rhythm the whole game. He looked like it early, though, completing 11-12 for 88 in the first quarter. But he said he thought the pressure got to him a little as the game wore on. As Steve Sarkisian said, UW had to get more big plays going against a gambling defense like that — the longest gain of the night was 20 yards. That starts with Price. And for those wondering, he said he’s fine physically and that he felt he handled a couple of the hits he took better than he might have last year thanks to the added weight.
RUNNING BACK — A potentially big story at this spot with the knee injury to Jesse Callier, which everyone seems to be treating as probably serious, though they won’t know for sure until he has an MRI. If he’s out, that leaves the tailback spot to Bishop Sankey, Erich Wilson II and Willis Wilson. Sankey got going a little bit early, but the overall numbers show a rough night as he had 66 yards on 22 carries, 14 yards on eight carries in the second half. I’m sure some will ask about the possibility of position changes. But premature to speculate on that yet.
TIGHT END — A great night for Austin Seferian-Jenkins, with a career-high nine catches for 82 yards. Michael Hartvigson added another catch, good for five yards. From a strict receiving standpoint, an A-plus here.
RECEIVER — Was UW missing the dependability and big-play ability of Jermaine Kearse and Devin Aguilar? Worth wondering a little bit with the longest gain of the night being, as noted, 20 yards. Kasen Williams had a solid night with 75 yards on six catches, and obviously would have had more had they not called pass interference on the apparent TD in the second quarter, which would have been a 39-yard play. No one else had more than two catches or a gain of longer than 13, though. Sarkisian said his biggest regret was not getting Jaydon Mickens more in the action as he had just two catches for 16 yards.
OFFENSIVE LINE — A tough night up front for UW, especially with the news of the broken forearm suffered by right tackle Ben Riva, which could put him out for a while. The OL seemed to struggle increasingly as the game wore on, particularly with the run blocking — UW’s 104 yards rushing was lower than all but two games last year (82 against Oregon and 46 against USC, both better defenses than what UW saw Saturday night). The injury to Riva could cause some reshuffling if it’s determined he’s going to be out for a while.
DEFENSIVE LINE — Some promising moments for this group with Josh Shirley and Andrew Hudson each getting a sack, and it feeling like there was generally more push than there often was a year ago (though this was a somewhat rebuild SDSU O-line that won’t rank among the best the Huskies will face this year). Danny Shelton also had two tackles but it seems like maybe he could have been more noticeable. But overall, a step in the right direction.
LINEBACKERS — The player of the game might have come from this group, Travis Feeney, who in his first college game made a bushel of big plays, including a sack that forced a fumble and five overall tackles — two for a loss good for minus-14 yards. He also had a good play on a screen that helped stop an SDSU drive into UW territory in the second quarter. Princeton Fuimaono also had three tackles and got credit for causing the fumble that was returned for the touchdown. John Timu had six tackles. No other LBs really played, unless you count Shaq Thompson.
SECONDARY — An interesting night for this group. Tre Watson had a great start with the early interception that led to a touchdown. But he got picked on a little bit late. Desmond Trufant had a good game but had to leave late with a hamstring injury that isn’t considered serious. Will Shamburger and Justin Glenn shared the FS duties and each had recovered fumbles, Shamburger returning one for what was UW’s only touchdown of the last three quarters. Sean Parker led the Huskies with eight tackles. Once Trufant was out, Greg Ducre stepped in. Marcus Peters was listed as playing, as well, though he didn’t record any stats.
SPECIAL TEAMS — In something of a surprise, Ryan Masel was the long snapper. So count him as the seventh true frosh to play. He’s a walk-on from Phoenix and appeared to handle everything okay. Otherwise, the special teams were a mixed bag. The kickoffs were a little short which Sarkisian said was due in part to some leg and groin issues for Travis Coons, who also missed a 47-yard field goal. Korey Durkee also punted five times for a 37.2 yard average, but did down two inside the 20. UW lost the battle of the return games, giving up a 51-yarder on the opening play but not getting anymore than 19 yards on its three kickoff returns.