The Washington Huskies were not supposed to win last Saturday against the Utah Utes. Vegas said Utes by ten. Experts said that the home field advantage and Washington's struggling defense would be the difference and play into Utah's favor. The Huskies not only beat the Utes, they absolutely crushed them; 31-14 to be exact.
There have been a couple of victories so far in Steve Sarkisian's tenure that have made me say "wow" after the game; USC and Cal in 2009, Oregon St. and the Holiday Bowl in 2010.
Saturday's game against the Utes was my first "wow" game of this season.
This was the same hard nosed football we saw from this team back when they beat Nebraska in the Holiday Bowl and held them to seven points. From the first two plays of the game the Huskies played fast and fearless; first the fumble recovery for a touchdown on the kickoff and second, freshman defensive end Josh Shirley's bone-crushing sack on Utah quarterback Jordan Wynn.
Saturday's biggest revelation was the improved performance of the defense. Sure cornerbacks Desmond Trufant and Quinton Richardson looked bad on some plays, but overall, the secondary played well. Sophomore Greg Ducre is finally getting the hang of things and is improving game by game.
"The defense won this football game for us tonight, without a doubt," Huskies coach Steve Sarkisian said. (Via: Seattle Times)
The defense looked young in its first four games, but I think after watching Saturday's game it's safe to say they are maturing. And don't let me forget to commend defensive coordinator Nick Holt for changing up the coverages and mixing it up against Utah; no one's blaming you this week Coach Holt.
How about that run defense?
Entering the game, Utah was averaging 171 rushing yards per game. Against the Huskies, Utah only managed 17 yards against the Huskies defensive line. Sophomore defensive tackle Sione Potoa'e and freshman defensive end Josh Shirley didn't play like underclassmen and contained Utes running back John White the entire game.
What else can we take away from Saturday's win?
One, Keith Price is still awesome. His knees were still not one hundred percent and he played the majority of the game with a sprained ankle, but somehow managed to throw for 226 yards and three touchdowns. Keith Price now has 17 touchdowns through five games good for second in the nation; former Husky quarterbacks Sonny Sixkiller, Warren Moon, Hugh Millen, Damon Huard and Marques Tuiasosoppo have never thrown more 17 touchdowns in a season.
Two, if Chris Polk keeps it up, he'll go down as the best running back to every wear the purple and gold. He will be in an NFL uniform at this time come next year.
Three, senior Jermaine Kearse and the Huskies wide receivers have all played up to their potential so far this season. Kearse now has 27 touchdown receptions, and only needs four more to pass Mario Bailey for career touchdowns as a Husky. Freshman Austin Seferian-Jenkins continues to be a gigantic dependable target for Price and Kasen Williams is improving week by week.
Overall, after this blowout win, I'm confident in saying that this program is developing and not taking any steps backwards. Sure the Eastern Washington game was scary, and the Huskies could have totally stolen a game against Nebraska, but overall, this team is 4-1 and two wins away from securing bowl eligibility.
The Huskies are getting into a bowl, no doubt about that, but if they have the capability to perform this well on the road, I think Husky fans should raise their expectations.
Why can't the Huskies pull off an upset against either Oregon or Stanford? Win a game against one of those teams and win out, and all of a sudden you are looking at a possible chance to play in the Pac-12 championship game.
Right now, it's time for the team to get some rest and practice until Colorado in two weeks.
For fans, I don't know what you're going to do. This team has us spoiled so far.
It feels good to be on the winning side.