Otto Greule Jr
The Huskies pulled out their second gutty win at home against a Top 10 opponent against Oregon State on Saturday. Will the win give the Huskies the momentum they need to finish the season strong?
The Huskies responded with a counterpunch right when they needed it most. Just a week after getting embarrassed by Arizona, the Huskies responded by putting an end to Oregon State's magical undefeated season with a hard fought 20-17 win in CenturyLink Field.
Almost as if they were directly responding to recent questions about the Huskies toughness, Sarkisian used a run-focused attack on offense to control the game and Justin Wilcox' defense hit the Beavers in the mouth early and often. What they produced was a game much their conference opener against Stanford where they forced an erratic quarterback to beat them, sold out to the run and got just enough scoring from their offense to pull it out in the end.
- Takeaways - The Huskies struck in the turnover game when the opportunity arose, making athletic plays to grab four interceptions that made the difference in the game. All of the interceptions came from aggressive play in the secondary, a trait the Huskies have really lacked in recent seasons. Imagine what those guys back there could do if they had any kind of a pass rush.
- Clutch - The Huskies are figuring out how to win close games. Being able to pull out close wins against Top 10 teams shows that the Huskies poise and confidence is growing. Much like the Stanford game, the offense came through late to put them ahead and the defense held strong, making the plays they needed to with the game on the line.
- Ground game - Husky fans have been begging for Sarkisian to commit to the run all season and it looked like he was finally on the same page as them Saturday as he repeatedly pounded the ball with Bishop Sankey. Not only did the healthy run game keep the ball away from Oregon State and eat up clock, it limited the amount of pressure on the Keith Price.
- No pressure - It seemed like Sean Mannion and Cody Vaz had hours to sit back in the pocket and wait for someone to get open. Defensive backs just can't be expected to cover receivers for as long as the Husky pass rush was allowing the Beaver quarterbacks to stay untouched in the pocket. The Huskies will need to figure out a way to get some kind of pressure or it will almost impossible for them to get off of the field on third down.
- No explode - One of the big reasons that the Huskies haven't scored more than 21 points against a FBS team is their complete lack of big play ability. The Huskies inability to connect on big yardage plays continues to allow teams to attack their offense with little fear about giving up big gains.
- Flag day - The Huskies squandered numerous big plays and allowed Oregon State to continue drives with a number of penalties, many of which were just plain foolish personal fouls on interception returns. The interception return penalities were especially costly as the Huskies couldn't afford to give up points and yardage with how little their offense was producing.
- Hit the road - It's clear that the Huskies can play well in their rented home at CenturyLink Field, but they have been frighteningly bad on the road every time they have left Seattle this season. How will the Huskies respond after Saturday's hard fought, emotional battle when they travel to Cal on Friday? The Bears looked atrocious against Utah, but destroyed UCLA the last time they had a home game after a tough loss.
- All downhill from here - The Huskies will most likely be favored in each of their remaining games. How will they respond to now regularly being the favorite after weeks of feeling like they need to play their absolute best game just to be competitive?
- Austin Seferian-Jenkins - With the new injury reporting (or non-reporting), it is much harder to get a gauge on the health of players. Just how injured is Seferian-Jenkins? He has been limping badly all season, especially against Oregon State.