BY Steve Rudman & Art Thiel 05:45PM 11/19/2011

Huskies Flunk ‘Gut Check,’ Bow To Beavers 38-21

The Huskies endured their most embarrassing loss of their season Saturday, thumped by 2-8 Oregon State. Washington allowed 484 yards, 339 via the pass from a redshirt freshman.

Austin Seferian-Jenkins caught two touchdown passes for the Huskies, but had a huge drop in the third quarter that cost a potential touchdown. / Drew Sellers, Sportspress Northwest

STEVE: Keith Price made it momentarily interesting after he replaced Nick Montana in the fourth quarter, getting thumped 38-21 by a 2-8 Oregon State team has to be the nadir of Steve Sarkisian’s three-year tenure at Washington. Sarkisian described this game during the week as “gut-check time” and his Huskies couldn’t deliver. I don’t fault Montana for failing to produce a big offensive day (it was his first college start), but the UW defense tackled as bad as it has all year and gave up way too many big plays.

ART: I know it’s well past Halloween, but I swear I just saw the ghost of Tyrone Willingham.

STEVE: Now who looks like Barney Fife?

ART: Every quarter century or so the Huskies fall off the edge of the world against OSU. But to be fair, this was the seventh loss in the past eight games against the Beavs. So it wasn’t a shocker on paper. The shock was that Sarkisian during his tenure had been taking great pride in the Huskies’ resilience. Little was visible Saturday. The offense has the excuse of starting a freshman quarterback, but the defense, even with two backs out early with injuries, gave up 38 points and 484 yards to the Pac-12′s worst offense. Absolutely Tyronian.

STEVE: The heat will turn up again this week on defensive coordinator Nick Holt, but he simply doesn’t have enough Pac-12 caliber defensive players in the program to stop anybody. We’ve seen that repeatedly this year. We saw it again Saturday over and over — but most notably when Price came off the bench trailing 31-14 with 11 minutes left and engineered a quick touchdown. The ensuing kickoff return was fumbled by the Beavers and recovered by UW, but Price gave it right back with an interception at the goal line.  UW was still in the game, but OSU WR Markus Wheaton undressed the ever-undressable Quinton Richardson for a 50-yard catch and run that snuffed Washington’s comeback aspirations.

ART: That was a 99-yard, 12-play drive by a lousy offense to clinch the game. Does it get worse? They let OSU QB Sean Mannion throw for 339 yards. To have no pass rush against an offense that can’t run the ball is a jaw-dropper. Alameda Ta’amu and his D-line mates have been epic busts.

STEVE: It’s a situation that can be remedied only next year, by the improvement of some of the freshmen and sophomores, and Sarkisian’s ability to recruit between the week after the Apple Cup and February. It would be great for the Huskies to get a bowl game (however anticlimactic to this season) in California, simply for recruiting purposes.

ART: Before they think about recruiting, unless things change in six days, they have a grand embarrassment awaiting them Saturday at the Clink in the Apple Cup. Washington State muffed a chance for a bowl bid Saturday by losing 30-27 in OT to Utah in a Palouse snowstorm, but they are on more of an uptick than Washington. The Huskies lost starters Justin Glenn and Will Shamburger early in the game, so the weakest link on the team is getting far worse. Grim to see the defense coming apart faster than Husky Stadium.

STEVE: I was going to say the Alaskan Way Viaduct, but Husky Stadium will do. And I agree about a pending embarrassment. This is shaping up to be Washington’s lamest bowl team since the 1987 Huskies literally bought their way into the Independence Bowl against Tulane just to keep their bowl streak alive.

ART: Sarkisian was as puzzled as anyone after the game: “The game was there for us to win,” he said. “We just couldn’t make plays at opportune times. We have to figure out why. It feels so bad, because it felt so close.” Yeah, and itf felt so bad for Huskies fans when they were routed by Stanford, Oregon and USC.

STEVE: I understand losses to ranked teams such as Stanford, Oregon and USC, they are completely mismatched against top-25 teams. They have a 50-50 chance against .500 teams if they win the track meet. And they are vulnerable against poor teams, such as Oregon State, if Price is unable to go. I think Sarkisian has a good plan. He doesn’t yet have the pieces in place to make it work consistently.

ART: Sarkisian was putting it mostly on the defense: “We didn’t hit home with the calls (from Holt), and we didn’t win the one-on-ones. We just couldn’t win the one-on-ones to get Mannion out of his comfort zone. After USC, our focus was on tackling, and we didn’t wrap up again. That was a killer.” The Huskies are the only football team to ever have whiffed more than the Mariners.

STEVE: I understand UW not winning the one-on-ones. I buy his frustration over the lack of tackling. But Sarkisian’s statement, “We didn’t hit home with the calls (from Holt),” doesn’t sound good for Holt.

ART: Sarkisian has already given Holt a couple of the dreaded votes of confidence. But it’s going to be hard to keep up his support when something as teachable as tackling continues to be unattainable. Bad as it was Saturday, the biggest contrast was two weeks ago between the tackling of the Ducks and the Huskies. I’m beginning to think that the graduated Mason Foster was the entire defense last year.

STEVE: Let’s go back to your choice of words: Holt’s tacklers are “Tyronian.”  Never thought it would get as bad as that again. Maybe it’s worse.

ART: The defense has that same 0-12 haplessness, but it did get three turnovers. That led to zero points, so the offense without a healthy Price is on a slide too. The Cougars might have themselves a grand time in Seattle.


YourThoughts

  • Old Goat

    This is where bowl eligible should not be bowl guaranteed. If the Huskies lose to the Cougs next weekend (likely) they have no business bowling, indeed even with one less win the Cougs would have the momentum and have shown more fortitude as well as winning the last “gut check game” (as Sark put it) making them a better bowl participant. Of course the reality is despite next weeks outcome neither team looks ready to play at the next level. Art and Steve – you guys put it perfectly! Watching the game today so resembled the Wilingham defense you’d swear a decent High School offence would score into double figures if it had played against them!

  • Old Goat

    This is where bowl eligible should not be bowl guaranteed. If the Huskies lose to the Cougs next weekend (likely) they have no business bowling, indeed even with one less win the Cougs would have the momentum and have shown more fortitude as well as winning the last “gut check game” (as Sark put it) making them a better bowl participant. Of course the reality is despite next weeks outcome neither team looks ready to play at the next level. Art and Steve – you guys put it perfectly! Watching the game today so resembled the Wilingham defense you’d swear a decent High School offence would score into double figures if it had played against them!

  • Grizzled veteran

    Just a pathetic, passive performance.  The DL and blitzers just cannot muster a pass rush.  DB techiques are terrible.  The point totals given up by this Husky team are just unacceptable.  We keep hearing that the coaches are calling the right defensive schemes but the players are not playing them.  Why?  Too dumb?  Uncoachable?  Recruiting the wrong players?  The schemes didn’t seem so hot today as they appeared tailor-made for the short-crossing-pattern pass offense which let the Beavers convert so often on third or fourth down

    This team is passive and lacking heart.  It won early games against weak opponents narrowly.  It lost
    against favored teams by huge margins.  Now this inexcusable performance against OSU.

    And, by the way, why the excuses for S-J, Kearse, et. al. when they make damaging drops?   With some coaches, they’d be afraid to return to the sidelines after sloppy errors.  Maybe Sark, Holt & Co. are just too much SoCal new age.  Why buy a ticket in the new stadium for a team which doesn’t even appear to care or have pride..

  • Grizzled veteran

    Just a pathetic, passive performance.  The DL and blitzers just cannot muster a pass rush.  DB techiques are terrible.  The point totals given up by this Husky team are just unacceptable.  We keep hearing that the coaches are calling the right defensive schemes but the players are not playing them.  Why?  Too dumb?  Uncoachable?  Recruiting the wrong players?  The schemes didn’t seem so hot today as they appeared tailor-made for the short-crossing-pattern pass offense which let the Beavers convert so often on third or fourth down

    This team is passive and lacking heart.  It won early games against weak opponents narrowly.  It lost
    against favored teams by huge margins.  Now this inexcusable performance against OSU.

    And, by the way, why the excuses for S-J, Kearse, et. al. when they make damaging drops?   With some coaches, they’d be afraid to return to the sidelines after sloppy errors.  Maybe Sark, Holt & Co. are just too much SoCal new age.  Why buy a ticket in the new stadium for a team which doesn’t even appear to care or have pride..

  • J4hansen

    No.  10 and No. 28 of UW should have to pay for admission to the game.  Neither can cover anyone and neither can tackle either.  Add to that none of the defensive coaches are earning their salaries and it makes a mess.  On offense, I don’t know why Polk didn’t run more instead of putting Montana on the spot.  With Nick, it’s obvious that the acorn didn’t stay close to the tree.  He just does not look like a college quarterback.  Kasen Williams has not be impressive either.  He needs to “man up” when it comes to catching the ball.  Most all the receivers need to “man up”!  Your ‘reps’ in high school mean nothing up here in college!  You are starting at the bottom until you prove yourself.  It’s getting very sickning trying to watch this team play football.  There’s a good chance I’m not even going to bother watching the Apple Cup!  Think I’d rather play checkers or something else.!

  • J4hansen

    No.  10 and No. 28 of UW should have to pay for admission to the game.  Neither can cover anyone and neither can tackle either.  Add to that none of the defensive coaches are earning their salaries and it makes a mess.  On offense, I don’t know why Polk didn’t run more instead of putting Montana on the spot.  With Nick, it’s obvious that the acorn didn’t stay close to the tree.  He just does not look like a college quarterback.  Kasen Williams has not be impressive either.  He needs to “man up” when it comes to catching the ball.  Most all the receivers need to “man up”!  Your ‘reps’ in high school mean nothing up here in college!  You are starting at the bottom until you prove yourself.  It’s getting very sickning trying to watch this team play football.  There’s a good chance I’m not even going to bother watching the Apple Cup!  Think I’d rather play checkers or something else.!

  • idisstew77

    Yeah, the Huskies don’t have full stable of PAC-12 players yet, but this isn’t the same team that beat Utah October 1st.   I don’t think it’s anything too mysterious, three or four successive weeks of physically getting your brains beat-in takes psychological toll.  We simply don’t have the interior lines to compete with the top tier teams in this league.  I expect bigger, stronger, faster and deeper interior lines next season.  Expect to compete for a PAC-12 championship no sooner than 2013.

  • idisstew77

    Yeah, the Huskies don’t have full stable of PAC-12 players yet, but this isn’t the same team that beat Utah October 1st.   I don’t think it’s anything too mysterious, three or four successive weeks of physically getting your brains beat-in takes psychological toll.  We simply don’t have the interior lines to compete with the top tier teams in this league.  I expect bigger, stronger, faster and deeper interior lines next season.  Expect to compete for a PAC-12 championship no sooner than 2013.

  • headoutofsand

    Steve nailed it when he stated, “I think Sarkisian has a good plan. He doesn’t yet have the pieces in place to make it work consistently.”  Why panic?  Eleven other teams in the Pac-12 are trying just as hard for the same prize the UW is, yet some Husky fans bleat to other schools, ”our lust for a championship is more important than your lust, therefore we deserve it more.”  Sheesh.  If it were so easy.   

    Husky fans understandably want to see upward progression.  However, that progression will never be of the steadily upward, uninterrupted, 45-degree type on the line graph.  I have no statistical proof, but there sure seems to be a regression to the mean (and progression, too) among so many of the nation’s teams, based on won-lost records.  In other words, more teams in the big, muddled middle.  Were there as many big upsets 30-40 years ago as there are today?  I doubt it, but maybe research maven Rudman could find out and print the results. 

  • headoutofsand

    Steve nailed it when he stated, “I think Sarkisian has a good plan. He doesn’t yet have the pieces in place to make it work consistently.”  Why panic?  Eleven other teams in the Pac-12 are trying just as hard for the same prize the UW is, yet some Husky fans bleat to other schools, ”our lust for a championship is more important than your lust, therefore we deserve it more.”  Sheesh.  If it were so easy.   

    Husky fans understandably want to see upward progression.  However, that progression will never be of the steadily upward, uninterrupted, 45-degree type on the line graph.  I have no statistical proof, but there sure seems to be a regression to the mean (and progression, too) among so many of the nation’s teams, based on won-lost records.  In other words, more teams in the big, muddled middle.  Were there as many big upsets 30-40 years ago as there are today?  I doubt it, but maybe research maven Rudman could find out and print the results.