The mark of a good football team is consistency. The mark of the University of Washington Huskies? Inconsistency, for sure.
One week after an exciting road win over the USC Trojans, the Huskies came home and rolled over against the Arizona State Sun Devils, losing at Husky Stadium 24-14. It's on to the next one for the up and down Huskies, who are battling questions at every position, including quarterback, where they thought they had a steady veteran hand in early season Heisman hopeful Jake Locker. The Oregon State Beavers, ranked No. 24 in the AP Top 25, visit Husky Stadium this weekend, as UW looks to get things back on track (again).
Here's what they are saying about UW's loss to Arizona State on Saturday.
Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times writes...
"It's obviously a very disappointing loss," Sarkisian said.
In fact, it again puts UW at a critical point, dropping Washington's record to 2-3 overall in a season in which nothing less than a bowl game will be considered a success. UW has to win four of seven just to get to .500 - and now has four of seven on the road.
"It's a missed opportunity," Sarkisian said of the chance to get above .500 in a home game against a team that was picked ninth in the Pac-10 preseason media poll.
Mike Baldwin of the Seattle PI writes...
Jake Locker, who was said to be feeling under the weather, was 23 for 38 passing, but most of his completions were for short yards. Locker averaged only 5.5 yards per pass attempt.
Locker was also shut down on the ground, as ASU easily read his option runs and stuffed him for little or no gain on his first four rushing attempts. Locker finished with just six yards rushing. As a whole, the offensive unit for Washington looked stale and our rhythm, save for Chris Polk. Polk rushed for 110 yards on 18 carries, but his efforts ended up being futile.
John McGrath of the Tacoma News Tribune writes...
Locker's admirable tenacity was underscored by the post-game details of his Saturday-night fever. Something about Locker wasn't right against the Sun Devils, that much was suspected. Instead of exhorting teammates between plays, as he did at USC, Locker's sole priority was to consult the formation-cue chart attached to his left forearm.
In any case, news of his illness was as a surprise to everybody beyond the home sideline at Husky Stadium. He toughed it out during a demoralizing defeat. But with a little help from his head coach, Locker might've had the strength to muster the UW's second fourth-quarter comeback in two weeks.
"We lost the element of Jake running around there," Sarkisian said. "He'd run and he couldn't catch his breath back for the entire drive. I don't think we got 100 percent of him."
Todd Milles writes there could be changes on the offensive line...
Gregory Christine started against Arizona State, was hit with a couple of offensive-holding infractions and, in general, played mediocre. He is still listed as a co-starter, along with Colin Porter, who did not play at all against the Sun Devils.
My guess: Porter will make a strong move this week. At worst, it should be a time-share position Saturday.
Milles also points to a failed fake field goal as a turning point.
The result? A fake field-goal attempt by holder Cody Bruns, who took off down the left sideline and fooled nobody. Two ASU defenders were there waiting to tackle him for no gain.
Sarkisian's explanation after the game: "It was a run-pass option. We just got put in the predicament there in such an in-between stage. It was fourth and long, and you don't have a lot of great calls in your play sheet for that. With the weather and the pre-game kicks, I didn't feel good about kicking the field goal from there. It was something in the game plan that we liked, and that we thought if we had the opportunity. But (ASU) defended it well."
John Berkowitz of SB Nation's UW Dawg Pound writes that Locker needed help...
Washington wins when they score thirty or more points per game. The defense while far from exceptional has played well enough to give the team a good chance to win in four of five games. This team wins when Jake Locker has a good game. It can beat better teams when he has a great one.
It was evident early that Jake wasn't going to win the ASU game on his own. The coaches should have relied more on a power running game that featured the running of Polk and Callier and was led by the blocking of an extra tackle and FB Austin Sylvester.
Alex from SeattleSportsNet.com is frustrated by it all...
How uninspiring are the Huskies right now? Forget bad. Forget inconsistent. Forget boring. They are clearly all of those things. It's their absolute inability to inspire that should drive you up the wall.
As for Oregon State, Bob Condotta notes they lost a major weapon in James Rodgers due to injury.
Looking back at Saturday, passing along the update on James Rodgers, and a little more. ...
--- First off, OSU coach Mike Riley announced tonight that OSU's standout receiver Rodgers is out for Saturday's game at UW after injuring his knee yesterday against Arizona. Intriguingly, the story says OSU has already clarified that if Rodgers is out for the year he could likely redshirt this season and come back next season for one more year when his broter, Jacquizz, would also be a senior.
Rodgers or not, Oregon State quarterback Ryan Katz was named Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Week, notes SB Nation's Building The Dam.
Oregon St. QB Ryan Katz was named the Pac-10 Offensive Player Of The Week for his 30 of 42 passing day, which produced 2 touchdowns, and 393 yards (10th. most in Oregon St. history), along with his three rushing first downs.
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