For better or worse, there will be lots of time to dissect this one and how it fits into the season.
But no doubt, the way the Huskies let this one get away makes this the most disappointing loss of the year — it was the largest comeback in Apple Cup history.
The Huskies had a chance to win an eighth game and take an unquestioned step forward. Now UW will have the pressure of needing to win and play well in the bowl game to make that statement.
As for this game, we covered a lot of it in our stories for the paper and on-line and I will link some of those below.
First, a few quick thoughts on this game:
— It was another slow slow start on the road against a struggling team — and this time that came back to haunt the Huskes. UW rebounded to take what should have been an insurmountable lead. But had UW gotten off a little stronger, it might have already had a little cushion to make the lead even greater.
— The penalties are obviously an issue. I’m sure fans will question many/most of them, and the vibe from UW was similar. Still, UW has now been called for a school-record 106 penalties for the season after being called for a school-record-tying 18 today. Bad calls or not — and they can’t all be bad — at some point the team has to figure out what it is doing to draw those calls and solve it.
— The running game was obviously not what it had been. WSU came into the game with some games that suggested it might be able to play the run well, especially when at home and motivated. And the Cougars did that. It seemed a lot of their pressures had UW off guard and resulted in some big losses. But the conventional running game was not great for UW today as Bishop Sankey was held to 84 yards on 23 carries, 3.2 per attempt, with no gain longer than nine. UW’s 75 total rushing yards were its fewest this year other than the 24 at LSU.
— Keith Price is taking a lot of heat, I see, and no doubt this wasn’t his best game. But he hardly had time to just sit back all day and let everything develop. And the receivers also seemed to struggle to get open. Kasen Williams said later he thought WSU doubled him more than most other teams and were daring the Huskies to throw it to other receivers. Overall,it was another game where UW struggled to make big plays on offense, with a long gain of just 24. To everyone asking, there is no question the younger QBs will be given a chance in the spring to state their case — that’s always the situation in the spring. We’ll see where that goes then.
— The defense had struggled earlier this year against spread offenses, and while WSU’s is different ant not as effective, it still does some of the same things, especially in the passing game, of putting the DBs in one-on-one situations. And the Huskies struggled with that at times as the Cougars threw for 350 yards, hitting 33-55, with a handful or so of drops and a few other bad throws when receivers were open. UW got some pressure with four sacks, but it should have as WSU came in having given up the most sacks in the nation at 53. Given that, UW probably should have gotten a little more pressure than it did.
— All of that said, it looked like UW was going to pull of more late-game magic when it drove on that final drive to set up Travis Coons from 35 yards out — despite the controversial penalty that set it up, that’s obviously still a kick that should be made. And UW fans had to feel good considering the Huskies had won 11 in a row in games decided by nine points or fewer. Maybe it was just the odds finally kicking back a little bit. But if Coons makes that kick and UW is 8-4 right now, the mood would undoubtedly be a lot different right now.
— I’m going to have to do some research on blown leads and things like that. But it is by far the biggest blown lead of the Sarkisian era. It’s also the most UW was favored in a game by (up to 14 points) and lost.
— I’ll try to break down the bowl situation a little more later. But right now, I don’t see UW getting above the Vegas and if Arizona holds on to beat ASU and gets to eight wins, that may be out of reach, as well and UW would be relegated to the Kraft Fight Hunger (probably the most likely) or New Mexico.
Now, here’s some links that touch on lots of different aspects of the game:
— Here’s the game story with the nuts and bolts of what happened (and as we do with Apple Cup stuff, it takes a little more of an angle of covering both teams than for some other games).
— Jerry Brewer says the Cougars stopped the Huskies’ forward progress.
— Bud Withers says it was an Apple Cup for the ages.
— Here’s my sidebar on the penalties.
— And here’s the notebook which leads off with a breakdown of UW’s last offensive play.
— And here’s the 2-Minute Drill.