Keith Price makes plays. Price doesn't quite yet know what to do with his mobility, but he's very good at finding his receivers. When the pocket breaks down, he has the speed to get to the outside and pick up some nice cheap yards. On his first two plays he looked for his tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins, always a smart target for a young quarterback to pick up. Nice decision-making there.
He isn't a finsihed product yet. His one interception came when he didn't look off his first read and delivered his throw late, allowing the safety Reggie Torres to pick off the route and take it the other way 99 yards. But a 69% completion rate at an 8.2 yards per passing attempt clip is pretty good for a Husky quarterback in only his third start.
Safe to say that Price will face his stiffest test of the young season in Lincoln, although Nebraska has only proven to be average in pass defense this season.
Washington's receiving corps can make plays to help Price out. Devin Aguilar made some great adjustments on some intermediate to deep throws by Price to help keep drives going. One of those was a great back shoulder stop fade route to fool the Hawaii defender and walk it in for a Washington touchdown before halftime. Jermaine Kearse and James Johnson also made good adjustments on balls not thrown directly into their laps. And the true freshman Sefarian-Jenkins takes advantage of the success of the receiving corps to get open options.
UW still hasn't shown much pass rushing ability. Both Eastern Washington and Hawaii are quick-hitting passing teams that spread out defenses, so it makes sense that the Huskies would not send too many players to attack the quarterback outside their front four. Bryant Moniz sat back there and looked for it, and looked for it, and looked for it, and looked for it, and eventually found it.
Moniz was mobile that he who could evade the pass rush too, negating most of the pass pressure, so it made sense for Washington to drop back and force the Warriors to make plays. But again that reflects poor contain by the Washington defensive ends, who weren't able to keep Moniz from going outside and finding receivers downfield. When Washington finally blitzed on a few plays late, the Huskies did actually force Moniz to hitch his throws and caused incompletions.
That being said, the Huskies pass defense is being gashed. 400 passing yards allowed per game is worst in the nation. Allowing 70% of third downs for first downs is good for dead last in the FBS. Sure, Washington took early leads and forced their opponents to throw a lot and Moniz can make some plays, but you'd like SOME stops, some pressure, some pass breakups, some tight coverage. There wasn't much of that on Saturday.
Washington seemed willing to settle and concede the underneath throws, and got blown up by screens, crossing routes, and simple receivers who stopped So intent on keeping Moniz from unleashing the deep ball, they seemed to forget he could be just as effective finding his secondary options.
Now, Hawaii is one of the most efficient offenses in the country, and stopping the Run And Shoot is no easy task, so it doesn't mean the Huskies are doomed to give up 50 points a game in Pac-12 play to the great quarterbacks of the conference. Their first two non-conference matchups featured teams that were unusually talented in terms of passing the ball though. It's quite possible that Washington giving up this much could mean a regression toward the mean as conference play wears on.
But if this trend continues against Nebraska's sub-mediocre pass offense? Ruh-roh.