Linebacker Shaq Thompson scored two touchdowns: fact.
The Huskies offense scored six points in the second half: fact.
I'm having a really hard time finding negatives in Washington's win over Illinois. I watched the game, and it was far and away their best game of the year. Cyler Miles looked good. The defense — from the d-line to the secondary — looked good. The running game was good. The receivers were good.
My parents are season ticket holders and have attended just about every home game since the late '80s, including every home game during the winless 2008 season. When they got back to their tailgate last Saturday, another fan was critical of the Huskies' performance, saying that if a play here or a play there had been different the Dawgs would have lost. Which is true, to a point.
But there are many, many more things to be excited about that the Huskies showed against the Illini.
First, they took a very good passing game out of the equation.
We all know from watching Washington State that once a good passing attack gets going it's hard to stop. Timing and confidence are unstoppable when put together, and Illinois' offense is no different. Washington's secondary, which featured two first-time starters at corner, one freshman safety and another safety who has played more this season than he has in his whole career, held Illinois to one explosive play all afternoon. The defensive line was dominant and the linebackers were all over the place.
It's an epidemic in college football fans: exceedingly high expectations.
We — on a certain level I include myself — expect college football players to be perfect. We are overly critical of these kids' performance on the field. There seems to be no understanding that 1. they are kids and 2. that they are doing the best they can. They aren't trying to lose.
That's my soapbox for the week, I hope it wasn't too long.
Let's get back to the Dawgs.
Second, it was the first time Washington had put both their offense and defense together on the same day. When one unit shows up and another doesn't, I call it "Marinering."
Let me explain.
For awhile, the Seattle Mariners would be terribly inconsistent. Some nights the pitching would show up with no offense. And other days the offense would score runs but the pitching would be horrible; hence "Marinering."
The UW "Marinered" the first two games of the season. In game one in Hawaii, the defense was sparking and the offense didn't get off the plane. In game two against Eastern Washington, the offense had a wonderful afternoon, but the defense took the day off.
Week three finally saw the end of the "Marinering," so to speak. Both the offense and defense showed up to finally pull out an emphatic 44-19 win.
Personally, I was satisfied with the effort. I can't blame a group of college kids to let off the gas a little bit in the second half against a team that was obviously overmatched. It was nice to see a talented group not have to slip by another team of inferior talent.
To finish the way I started: The UW is 3-0: fact.
That's the most important thing.