There were a few important things to take from this ugly, ugly game.
1.) Keith Price Is Serviceable
Would it be nice to see Price return to his 2011 form? Of course. But for now, and possibly forever, Husky fans will need to get used to Price as an average, fairly mediocre quarterback. 16/29 for 235 yards with a touchdown and a pick. That’s pretty much the definition of mediocrity. But, in this game, that was enough. One thing that has been much less than average is his ability to hold onto the ball when hit. Price had another fumble result from a sack in which Price was holding the ball in one hand, as if he still wanted to throw it, when he was brought down. It was careless, and it has happened far too often this season.
2.) Austin Seferian-Jenkins is Hurt, but Who Cares?
It is plain to see that ASJ isn’t 100%. He limps noticeably between plays, and he seems to lumber a little down field. Not to say he isn’t running effective routes, but he seems to be depending more on his size rather than his speed to get open. Thing is, it doesn’t matter if he’s hurt because he is playing extraordinarily well. 8 catches, 152 yards, 1 touchdown. If ASJ hadn’t had such a huge game, it is very reasonable to expect that the Huskies would have lost. Beyond Kasen Williams, there wouldn’t have been anyone available to make big plays, and Price isn’t in a position to make great things happen without a lot of help from his pass catchers. My only question now: considering the fact that he has been moderately injured for most of this season, how outrageously unstoppable will ASJ be once he is fully healthy? Poor safeties, poor linebackers, poor whoever has to cover him.
3.) Bishop Sankey is That Dude.
Remember what I said just a few sentences ago about the Huskies maybe losing without ASJ? Well that maybe goes completely out of the window with Sankey. The Huskies certainly would have lost without his 29 carries, 189 yards, and 2 touchdowns. No matter what else has happened to Washington the past several weeks, Sankey has been there to squeeze through small holes and turn 4 yard gains into 10 yard gains, and he is only getting better. I cannot wait to see what this guy is doing as a junior or even a senior. Definitely an NFL talent, and the most important player on offense.
4.) Defense on the Road! Defense on the Road!
No matter how much I wrote about how I figured the trend of road blowouts (see: 52 points to Arizona) would end with Cal, there was no way to be sure the defense would play CenturyLink quality football in Berkeley until it actually happened. Luckily, it did. Cal was held to 13 points, Maynard struggled (though he was helped by acrobatic catches from his young wide receivers) and was eventually knocked out of the game in the 4th quarter, Shaq Thompson nabbed an interception, and the team as a whole forced five fumbles, recovering three of them.
5.) Sloppy, Sloppy, Sloppy
Sure, the Huskies forced four turnovers. If they hadn’t, the turnover margin would have been -4, as Washington also lost 3 fumbles and threw one interception. When, as a team, you are mirroring the 2012 Cal Bears, you have a problem. It was a wild game, and the Huskies ended up winning, but against most opponenets and in most situations, four turnovers equals a loss. Probably a bad loss. So, though this game represented progress as a far as being a road victory, there is still so much work to be done.
More on this game throughout the next couple days.