The Huskies were able to pull out their first road win in more than a year by getting an ugly, 21-13 win at Cal. Will it be a turning point for the Huskies 2012 season?
It was a gut wrenching, hard-fought, ugly win that came down to the last second at Cal against a desperate Bears team in 2010 that served as the turning point for the Huskies 2010 season. Will a very similar win in Berkeley on Friday serve the same purpose in 2012?
Despite early turnovers by Cal and a healthy running game led by Bishop Sankey that made it look like the Huskies might be able to grab control early and then keep a comfortable lead on Friday, the Huskies proceeded to do whatever they could to keep the hapless Bears in the game and almost ended up losing it. If it wasn't for a couple life preserver catches from Austin Seferian-Jenkins and equally sloppy ball control from the Bears, the Huskies easily could have lost a game to a bad team that wasn't even playing well themselves.
But victory is all that matters and the Huskies are now one game away from bowl eligibility with their three easiest conference games all that remains on the schedule.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins - It's very hard for tight ends to take over games, but Seferian-Jenkins did it as much as one could in the third quarter of the game with two monumental jump ball catches that gave the Huskies the lead for good. Seferian-Jenkins fought through a bad ankle injury for the third-consecutive week and used his 6'6 265 body to show just why he is likely the best at the position in the nation.
Bishop Sankey - Sankey is quickly making Husky fans forget about Chris Polk as like Polk did, he has a knack for being able to avoid tackles and get the most out of each running play. He once again showed the ability to carry the team on his back as he picked up 189 yards on a heavy work load of 27 carries and scored two touchdowns.
Road win - Regardless of how ugly the win was, the Huskies shook off a hideous monkey that had been on their back in Memorial Stadium. When you have gone more than a calendar year without getting a road win, it can seep into your psyche and make it seem impossible to ever get one again. The first road win of the season is huge for the Huskies mentally as they will finish 2012 with two road games.
Turnovers - You simply can't turn the ball over much at all when you are as limited offensively as the Huskies are right now. The Huskies were very lucky that the Bears were able to match their carelessness with the ball and match their four turnovers. Turning the ball over as much as they did against a better team would have been disastrous.
Penalties - Even more frustrating than the turnovers were the Huskies 12 penalties. Turnovers are just a part of the game, they happen to even the best teams, but there's no excuse for the amount of penalties the Huskies have racked up in recent games, especially the personal fouls. They almost cost them the game for the second week in a row.
Pass protection - It is nine games into the season and the Huskies still haven't found any kind of way to protect Keith Price no matter who they are playing. You would think that they would have found a way either schematically, or through improved play to protect him just a little bit by now.
Will there ever be a pass rush? - Cal came into the game dead last in the nation in sacks given up and the Huskies failed to get any kind of pressure on Zach Maynard until late in the game when the Bears offensive line was gassed. Will the Huskies be able to find a way to get pressure on opposing quarterbacks this season?
Secondary options - The Huskies desperately need another receiver to be able to catch passes other than Kasen Williams. Freshman Jaydon Mickens had the chance to step up early in the game when he got wide open for a long touchdown but dropped the pass. Can a young receiver step up and prevent defenses from only concentrating on Williams?
Turning point? - The Huskies are now 5-4 with three very winnable games left on the schedule. Can the Huskies play up to their potential and finish the season with the most wins in the history of Steve Sarkisian's tenure?