Huskies need to regroup before season is derailed
The result not only dropped Washington's record to 5-2 overall and 3-1 in conference play, but also out of the Top 25.
Seattle Times staff reporter
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Lost amid the rubble of Washington's 65-21 loss to Stanford Saturday was this seeming bit of positivity — the Huskies set a school record for kickoff return yardage with 285.
Of course, the Huskies got all those yards thanks to receiving a school-record 12 kickoffs, yet another sign of the manner in which Stanford's offense dominated the game.
"It felt like we failed up front, in the middle," senior defensive tackle Alameda Ta'amu said. "Stanford is a physical team and they came to play."
Stanford's offensive line featuring two players who could be first-round picks next spring — including guard David DeCastro of Bellevue High — overwhelmed the Huskies in rushing for a school-record 446 yards. Ta'amu said there was nothing fancy about Stanford's game plan.
"They were just running power, lead, power, lead," he said. "They wore our defense out."
UW's offense tried to keep up. But a 21-0 Stanford spurt in the last 12 minutes of the second quarter turned the game into a rout.
The result not only dropped Washington's record to 5-2 overall and 3-1 in conference play, but also out of the Top 25. UW had entered the AP and coaches polls after a 52-24 win over Colorado the previous weekend. But just like in 2009, the last time UW was ranked, a crushing loss at Stanford ended the stay at one week.
The Huskies vowed that unlike 2009 — when the Stanford loss kicked off a slump of six defeats in seven games — this game wouldn't derail the season.
"We've got to get back up and start preparing for Arizona and go get the next win," UW coach Steve Sarkisian said of Saturday's game at 7:30 p.m. at Husky Stadium.
That task suddenly looks a little harder after the Wildcats blew out UCLA 48-12 behind an explosive passing attack led by quarterback Nick Foles.
The Stanford game again showed that the UW defense is generally vulnerable to whatever is an opponent's offensive strength.
While the Huskies entered the game with a statistically solid run defense, it was no match for Stanford and also had been run over by Nebraska for 309 yards.
Better passing teams such as Hawaii, Eastern Washington and Cal, meanwhile, all went over 300 yards in that category against UW.
And while the defense had shown improvement in recent wins over Utah and Colorado, the Stanford game showed there's still lots of work to do as the UW allowed 615 yards, the sixth-most in school history.
UW is allowing 431.29 for the season, 10th in the conference, 101st in the nation and a regression from last year's 384.8 average.
UW defensive coordinator Nick Holt said the Huskies had no answer for Stanford's power running.
"They just kept grinding away and at times we played it correctly and then they popped a bunch of them," he said. "And they just kept with it and we couldn't knock them out of it. And then you get behind and you can't get them out of that personnel and they keep pounding you and pounding you. We are not there yet physically in our program with our guys staying toe-to-toe consistently."
That latter comment could loom somewhat ominous with the teams remaining on the schedule. Arizona, while just 2-5, is averaging 471 yards per game. Then comes a home game against Oregon followed by trips to USC and Oregon State. The regular-season closes with the Apple Cup.
Saturday's loss, though, wasn't solely on the defense. The offense was held to a season-low 21 points, and just 109 yards in the second half.
Asked what he thought was wrong with the offense, Sarkisian said: "They were horrible play calls. I lost my mojo. So I've got to find it."
Said running back Chris Polk of the second half: "I just think we really didn't believe in what we were coached to do. We were thinking too much and trying to do too much instead of people just trying to do their job."
Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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