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Monday, November 03, 2003 - Page updated at 12:00 A.M.
THE GOOD: The running of Shelton Sampson and Kenny James, the poise of Casey Paus coming off the bench to play almost flawlessly in his first meaningful action, the dependability of Reggie Williams (who quietly had another big game), the rush of the defensive front, the hard hitting of oft-maligned safeties Owen Biddle and Jimmy Newell, and the steady play of cornerback Sam Cunningham, a former reserve who has started the last three games. The coaches deserve credit as well for the fact that the Huskies played with passion, yet committed just two penalties against their harshest rival.
THE BAD: The biggest negative was the injury to Cody Pickett. Paus played well in his absence but this team needs a healthy Pickett down the stretch. Kicker Evan Knudson missed a field goal and two extra points; he has now missed five of his last nine field-goal attempts.
WHAT NOW?: The Huskies can clinch a non-losing season and take a huge step toward bowl eligibility by winning at hapless Arizona on Saturday.
OFFENSE: Not much to criticize after what might have been UW's best overall offensive effort of the season. The Huskies had almost perfect balance with a season-high 261 rushing yards among their total of 475 converted 10 of 17 third downs and didn't lose a turnover. James and Sampson give this team a running dimension it hasn't had in years. Big props must be given to the offensive line, which seems finally to be coming together.
DEFENSE: Take away Oregon's first drive and a busted play that went for an 85-yard touchdown on its third drive, and this was almost a perfect day for the UW defense. The Huskies dominated up front, tying a season high with seven sacks and holding Oregon's running backs to 48 yards on 21 carries. The Huskies also forced three turnovers and committed only one defensive penalty.
SPECIAL TEAMS: The field-goal team has been shaky for four weeks and was about the only thing worth complaining about. Garth Erickson continues to punt well, averaging 44.5 yards despite the cold, wet conditions.
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