What were the biggest positives to take away from Washington's loss to Oregon? What impressed you the most in defeat?
Chris Landon, UW Dawg Pound: The Huskies have now lost to the Ducks for a record-setting 10th straight year. Of course, 9 straight was a record, but double digits is worthy of the superlative. Now that we have that out of the way, I think Duck fans would even agree that they got as much fight from the Huskies as they've seen in a long time. Justin Wilcox came with a conservative game plan focused on taking away the Ducks rushing attack and, frankly, the Huskies were relatively successful in doing so, especially when you take away the rushes by Marcus Mariota that came from covered pass attempts. The Ducks won't always have an elite talent like Mariota to carry them through days where the opposing defense takes the rush away, and I think that the Huskies showing their ability to affect the rush is a big positive. The fact that the Huskies outscored the Ducks in the third quarter and were within one possession to start the fourth showed a certain amount of grit that we haven't seen from the Dawgs in the past few years, so I'll take that as a positive as well.
Jack Follman, Pacific Takes: The defense played a pretty good first half, especially considering how much the Husky offense hung them out to dry with turnovers and three-and-outs. They kept it from getting ugly early, slowed the Duck run game as well as they have in a long time and had good coverage in the first half without a pass rush. If Marcus Mariota isn't 100 percent lights out with his passes, the defense played well enough to make this a game. The mental toughness of the entire team was also impressive no matter how much Oregon put the hammer down they never seemed to give up and let it get out of control and that's not easy to do against the Ducks. Also, Bishop Sankey just keeps looking like the best running back in the conference if not the country.
What were the biggest negatives? Where did Washington show the most vulnerability?
Chris Landon, UW Dawg Pound: The Husky offensive line is light years ahead of where it was a year ago, but still struggles mightily in pass protection. The Ducks played a pretty conservative base for much of the game in order to take away Keith Price's throwing lanes, and the Ducks were still able to get a decent rush. Once the game turned one dimensional and the Huskies had to pass, Price had no chance as the Ducks and their blitzers completely overwhemed the Huskies front. In fairness, the unit did block a great game in front of Bishop Sankey, who had another huge outing against another elite defense, but pass protection continues to be an Achilles's heel for this team.
Jack Follman, Pacific Takes: It's been five years and Sarkisian and Price still can't even begin to figure out the Duck defense. Price doesn't do well with pressure and they haven't seemed to ever be able to execute a screen pass or pass down the middle to slow down their blitzes. The Duck defense is good, but I think the Husky offense outside of Bishop Sankey was a little overrated coming in and were exposed. On defense, I have to wonder about a game plan that seemed to focus on making the nation's best player beat them, especially when you have no pass rush and De'Anthony Thomas questionable coming in. The Ducks had the least scary backfield (without Thomas) that I have seen them have since before Chip Kelly was head coach and I think putting the game on them might have been more of an advantage.