BY Art Thiel 08:59PM 09/08/2012

Thiel: No surprises; Huskies way overmatched

Too big. Too fast. Too hot. Too loud.

Too bad for the Washington Huskies.

The top of the Southeastern Conference, the residence of Louisiana State University of Football, is no place for an average Pac-12 Conference team.

For those who think playing big-time non-conference match-ups is good for the collegiate  sporting soul, you obviously haven’t been laying under a 272-pound fullback in the fetid sod along the Mississippi River, with 92,802 people laughing at you.

The principle of big-time games is OK. But when the defeat is 41-3 and and injury list is long, the reality immediately hemorrhages futility and embarrassment.

The Huskies peaked in the game’s first 10 seconds, when LSU fumbled the opening kickoff to Washington at the Tigers’ 20-yard  line. The Huskies bobbled two pass attempts, managed four yards and three points, then had hell wash over them.

Nothing that happened thereafter was remotely surprising: The Huskies offensive and defensive lines were overwhelmed, special teams were frequently faulty and quarterback Keith Price was asked to do too much.

The entire outfit was undisciplined — 11 penalties and nearly countless missed assignments that had nothing to do with physical mismatches.

“When you play a team like this, you’ve got to seize opportunities,” coach Steve Sarkisian told KJR.  “Then when you give them freebies (penalties), some at critical moments with things like false starts and delay of game . . .  these self-inflicted wounds are killers.”

It should be said that probably 90 percent of college football would have had more or less the same results during a steamy night in Baton Rouge. The Tigers tied a national record with their 39th consecutive non-conference win, and were just two games removed from the BCS title game in January. They are ranked third in the AP poll and coming off the first undefeated (12-0) regular season in their history, which, given the level of competition in the SEC, may be one of the great feats in recent college ball history.

Still, defeat is one thing, damage is another. Tackle Erik Kohler, who was moved during the week from his usual right guard spot because of a broken arm suffered by starter Ben Riva in the opener against San Diego State, left in the first quarter with a recurrence of a kneecap injury that kept him out of some of fall camp. An already inexperienced young line grew younger when sophomore Mike Christe was inserted.

Also lost were linebacker Travis Feeney (shoulder), DB Will Shamburger (scratched eye), WR Jaydon Mickens (turf toe) and DE Talia Crichton (concussion). DB Justin Glenn was out for awhile with the flu.

As a partial result of two-deep decay, the Huskies managed 183 yards of total offense, only 69 in the first half when they rushed for minus-11 yards. UW’s longest play was a 22-yard pass. Besides the fumbled kickoff, the Huskies reached LSU territory only three times, never closer than the 30-yard line. Running back Bishop Sankey had 16 yards in eight carries.

The defense could do little against an offensive line that averages 325 pounds and helped mash for 437 yards of total offense — 242 on the ground with four running backs, any one of whom would start for any Pac-12 team.

“That stable of backs was the most impressive I’ve ever seen in person,” Sarkisian said. “But we battled them to the end . . . this wasn’t about a lack of want-to.”

The Tigers offense hardly needed the help, but the Huskies aided them on the first two possessions with short fields. Touchdown drives of 47 and 38 yards put up LSU 14-3 late in the first quarter.

Trailing “only” 20-3 at the half, thanks to some stout red-zone defense led by backup linebacker Thomas Tutogi (who finished with 12 tackles) that held LSU to two field goals, the Huskies had a remote shot at competitiveness if they could score on the first possession of the second half.

Instead, the drive started with a penalty and ended with a sack of Price, forcing a fourth-and-18 punt. Price was dropped four times, including twice when the rusher came unblocked because  a missed assignment.

“On one, the left tackle (Micah Hatchie) didn’t get out of his stance,” Sarkisian said. “Another was a protection miscommunication where we didn’t block an edge rusher. Those were the two biggest hits Keith took. Those can kinda spook a playcaller. It’s not about losing a one-on-one (blocking) match. It’s about a free shot. It might make a guy less aggive.”

Indeed, Price was harried and often tentative, for understandable reasons, completing just 16 of 35 attempts with one interception.

Th night was one of total domination, but Sarkisian didn’t think his team was intimidated by the scene.

“I didn’t think the stadium or noise were too big for our guys,” he said.  “(LSU) has big guys who are overly big and little guys who are fast and long. They have elite speed on the perimeter.  We threw a screen pass that I was sure would get 20-25 yards. He got five yards.”

From the second play, Washington was overmatched. Sarkisian said what all coaches say after blowouts: We’ll take away things from this. Late Saturday night, however, the Huskies wanted only to take off.


YourThoughts

  • Joe Fan

    Horrible game. As a huge fan, it was difficult even for ME to watch. Ultimately, not surprised by the outcome, but it would be nice to experience a miracle from this team at some point.

    • Artthiel

       Well, they have upset USC twice and nearly won at Notre Dame. But the consequences of 0-12 are not as far back as many think.

  • Joe Fan

    Horrible game. As a huge fan, it was difficult even for ME to watch. Ultimately, not surprised by the outcome, but it would be nice to experience a miracle from this team at some point.

    • Artthiel

       Well, they have upset USC twice and nearly won at Notre Dame. But the consequences of 0-12 are not as far back as many think.

  • ahuskyinappleland

    Agree Joe! Living in cougar country but raised in Seattle and watching the best years in person (80′s-90′s) it would be refreshing to finally see a big win on the road or at home that did’nt involve USC. At least the coug’s continue to prove they would be a very good Big Sky team! I figured the Dawgs would lose but not look that bad,

    • Artthiel

       Ahusky, Washington, remains relatively week in both lines. Not since Lambright has Washington had more than one OL or DL stud at a time.

      • 1coolguy

        yep, couldn’t agree more.

  • ahuskyinappleland

    Agree Joe! Living in cougar country but raised in Seattle and watching the best years in person (80′s-90′s) it would be refreshing to finally see a big win on the road or at home that did’nt involve USC. At least the coug’s continue to prove they would be a very good Big Sky team! I figured the Dawgs would lose but not look that bad,

    • Artthiel

       Ahusky, Washington, remains relatively week in both lines. Not since Lambright has Washington had more than one OL or DL stud at a time.

      • 1coolguy

        yep, couldn’t agree more.

  • Tbrakke

    Another game that should never have been scheduled.

    Until the Huskies have a proven record (regularly beating Stanford, Oregon, USC) we Shouldnt be testing ourselves against anything better than a mid-tier SEC or Big-10 school. Right now we are LSU’s “C” opponent.

    • Artthiel

       Actually, they’re playing Idaho next week. If you look at their schedule, Washington was their A game. Unfortunately, the Huskies are a C team — even in the Pac-12.

      • Jodebelle

        I presume you mean OOC schedule. So go ahead and look at our schedule. LSU played arguable the toughest regular season schedule in history in 2011. OCC included Oregon in Dallas and WVU away. We can’t do it every year. Nice article though.

        • Coryfowler75

          Yeah, calling Washington LSU’s A opponent is stupid. It would be generous to call the Huskies a C opponent for us. Bama is our A opponent. South Carolina, Florida, A&M, and MissState are B opponents. Arkansas and Auburn are C opponents. Washington might be on that level with them.

  • Tbrakke

    Another game that should never have been scheduled.

    Until the Huskies have a proven record (regularly beating Stanford, Oregon, USC) we Shouldnt be testing ourselves against anything better than a mid-tier SEC or Big-10 school. Right now we are LSU’s “C” opponent.

    • Artthiel

       Actually, they’re playing Idaho next week. If you look at their schedule, Washington was their A game. Unfortunately, the Huskies are a C team — even in the Pac-12.

      • Jodebelle

        I presume you mean OOC schedule. So go ahead and look at our schedule. LSU played arguable the toughest regular season schedule in history in 2011. OCC included Oregon in Dallas and WVU away. We can’t do it every year. Nice article though.

        • Coryfowler75

          Yeah, calling Washington LSU’s A opponent is stupid. It would be generous to call the Huskies a C opponent for us. Bama is our A opponent. South Carolina, Florida, A&M, and MissState are B opponents. Arkansas and Auburn are C opponents. Washington might be on that level with them.

  • Michael Kaiser

    Yesterday I was in the Rose Bowl—damm near 100 degrees, you should have seen the Nebraska fans wilting in the scarce shade before kickoff–watching UCLA beat Nebraska.  Funny to listen to fans talk about Neuheisel disparagingly and also how Mora is a real football coach.  I wanted to pipe up about how Seattle ran both out of town, but you got to be a bit more careful how you phrase things down in LA.  Don’t want anything misinterpreted.  These are not 60-miles-an-hour in the fast lane Seattle folks.  Actually, they more like  80-miles plus in the fast lane folks.  Funny the extremes.  Seattle on one end, LA on the other.  But, anyway, my point is that people should not forget that Neuheisel was the last winner we had up here (3rd in the country one year in fact) and we never should have run him off, especially for some ridiculous basketball pool and “lying” over whether, oh my God!, he might have had the actual temerity to consider another job in his lifetime.  

    • 1coolguy

      Ricky was a slime bag – all about himself.
      Apparently you forgot that after Hedges bet her career on the guy, he slinks off to San Francisco delusionally thinking he could be a possible 49ers head coach! The Niners are still laughing.
      He didn’t tell Hedges he was pursuing it, so the discovery, by a guy overhearing Ricky at the SF airport, caught Hedges and all of UW off guard.
      He’s a punk.

  • Michael Kaiser

    Yesterday I was in the Rose Bowl—damm near 100 degrees, you should have seen the Nebraska fans wilting in the scarce shade before kickoff–watching UCLA beat Nebraska.  Funny to listen to fans talk about Neuheisel disparagingly and also how Mora is a real football coach.  I wanted to pipe up about how Seattle ran both out of town, but you got to be a bit more careful how you phrase things down in LA.  Don’t want anything misinterpreted.  These are not 60-miles-an-hour in the fast lane Seattle folks.  Actually, they more like  80-miles plus in the fast lane folks.  Funny the extremes.  Seattle on one end, LA on the other.  But, anyway, my point is that people should not forget that Neuheisel was the last winner we had up here (3rd in the country one year in fact) and we never should have run him off, especially for some ridiculous basketball pool and “lying” over whether, oh my God!, he might have had the actual temerity to consider another job in his lifetime.  

    • 1coolguy

      Ricky was a slime bag – all about himself.
      Apparently you forgot that after Hedges bet her career on the guy, he slinks off to San Francisco delusionally thinking he could be a possible 49ers head coach! The Niners are still laughing.
      He didn’t tell Hedges he was pursuing it, so the discovery, by a guy overhearing Ricky at the SF airport, caught Hedges and all of UW off guard.
      He’s a punk.

  • notaboomer

    sark’s tiger in the cage was awesome, though, you gotta admit. contract extension now!

    • RadioGuy

      Yeah, it really made a difference.

  • notaboomer

    sark’s tiger in the cage was awesome, though, you gotta admit. contract extension now!

    • RadioGuy

      Yeah, it really made a difference.

  • 1coolguy

    Expected the Dawgs to lose, but come on- this wasn’t a loss, it was a MASSACRE.
    As good as Price is, he’s nothing without an O-line. Wow, looks like a long season.
    Makes you realize just how important Polk was to the offense.

  • 1coolguy

    Expected the Dawgs to lose, but come on- this wasn’t a loss, it was a MASSACRE.
    As good as Price is, he’s nothing without an O-line. Wow, looks like a long season.
    Makes you realize just how important Polk was to the offense.

  • geaux tigers

    Hang in there guys.  LSU is arguably the best team in the country and you guys are still getting all the pieces in place.  You have a solid coach, a beautiful campus, and great fans.  It’s just a matter of time before you are competing with the top of the PAC 12, and frankly I think you guys will handle it with greater class.

    • eugeneburden

      IF I WERE TO LET MY 16 YEAR OLD PLAY AGAINST A 350 LB SENIOR, IT DOESN’T MATTER HOW TALENTED MY SON IS. IT WOULD BE A SMASH-MOUTH
      BETWEEN A GIFTED PLAYER AND BRUTE FORCE. THAT WOULDN’T BE A
      CONTEST IT WOULD BE AN IRRESPONSIBLE MOMENT.

  • geaux tigers

    Hang in there guys.  LSU is arguably the best team in the country and you guys are still getting all the pieces in place.  You have a solid coach, a beautiful campus, and great fans.  It’s just a matter of time before you are competing with the top of the PAC 12, and frankly I think you guys will handle it with greater class.

    • eugeneburden

      IF I WERE TO LET MY 16 YEAR OLD PLAY AGAINST A 350 LB SENIOR, IT DOESN’T MATTER HOW TALENTED MY SON IS. IT WOULD BE A SMASH-MOUTH
      BETWEEN A GIFTED PLAYER AND BRUTE FORCE. THAT WOULDN’T BE A
      CONTEST IT WOULD BE AN IRRESPONSIBLE MOMENT.

  • Rusty

    This is a special LSU team that has a really good chance to find itself in the BCSNCG again.  Hopefully we can make the trek up to Seattle again in a few years (however next time we’ll bring more crab boil and Tony Chachere’s).  Good luck in the PAC-12 this year.  Geaux Tigers! 

  • Rusty

    This is a special LSU team that has a really good chance to find itself in the BCSNCG again.  Hopefully we can make the trek up to Seattle again in a few years (however next time we’ll bring more crab boil and Tony Chachere’s).  Good luck in the PAC-12 this year.  Geaux Tigers!