TUCSCON, Ariz. — The Huskies fell to 2-5 in Pac-12 play, and 6-5 overall, with Saturday’s 27-26 loss to No. 17 Arizona. Here are three early impressions of the game.
1. More missed opportunities: The Huskies appeared to be on the verge of a breakthrough win and had the ball near midfield when Deontae Cooper fumbled the ball away and Arizona recovered. Arizona was able to nail a 47-yard field goal on the last play and pull out the victory. The lost fumble was symbolic of the game as a whole for UW. Also, the Huskies’ red-zone woes continued. In two first-half trips inside the Arizona 20-yard line, UW couldn’t find a way into the end zone. The first trip ended in Cyler Miles’ first fumble, and the Huskies settled for a 39-yard field goal by Cameron Van Winkle. At that point, UW had managed just three touchdowns in their previous 12 red-zone trips. A recipe for success that is not. Adding to the struggles were four fumbles by Miles — two of which he lost, including one in the red zone. His second lost fumble was caused by an errant snap from center Colin Tanigawa, which has been a recurring issue for UW. The second fumbled helped set up the Wildcats to take a 21-17 lead just before halftime.
2.‘D’efinitely better: With the return stars Shaq Thompson and Hau’oli Kikaha, plus the addition of first-time starting cornerback John Ross III, the UW defense did its part in the first half to slow down Arizona’s up-tempo attack. Early in the fourth quarter, Arizona was just 1 of 12 on third down. The Huskies lost senior middle linebacker John Timu to a hip pointer injury in the third quarter. He did not return.
3. Dwayne’s day: The offense overall was better. With Thompson, UW’s leading rusher, returning to defense, the Huskies needed someone to emerge as a consistent running threat. Enter Dwayne Washington. The sophomore had missed two games with a chest injury before returning last week with seven carries for 33 yards and one touchdown in the loss to UCLA. Against Arizona, Washington was at his best. His 66-yard touchdown run gave UW a 17-7 lead in the second quarter. He added a 1-yard TD run in the third quarter to help the Huskies retake the lead at 26-21. Washington finished with career highs in yards and carries.