Offensive Player of the Game: Wide Receiver Kasen Williams for his effective, if not out right dominant, performance. I think a lot of people, myself included, forgot heading in to the season that while Austin Seferian-Jenkins did achieve a consistent level of effective play as a starter last year, we only saw bursts of Kasen’s effectiveness. He really only came on late in the year, and to meet the wild expectations set for him in 2012, Williams will have to make the jump from talented freshman to full on stud and last night he truly seemed ready for the leap.
Defensive Player of the Game: Josh Shirley for his consistent pressure on the quarterback. Shirley was perhaps the defensive player that had me the most excited about his role in the new defense. I believe his eight sacks last year, including three in the Alamo Bowl, have been overlooked, and that there is no way he will fly under the radar again in 2012. He is too talented, and his role in the defense as a pass rusher is just too significant. Last night’s game gave me no reason to believe otherwise now. Shirley was only credited with four tackles and one sack officially, but it sure seemed to me like he was in on at least two, and Katz seemed to be under consistent pressure. If the rest of the defense had kept Katz contained to avoid the bumbling quarterback scrambles, the pass rush could have looked even more effective on paper. Watch for Shirley to have a big week against LSU. He has that kind of talent.
Play of the Game: Talia Crichton’s monster hit on WR Colin Lockett and the resulting 44 yard fumble return for a touchdown by Will Shamburger in the third quarter. It is simply shocking that this team hadn’t had a defensive touchdown since Quinton Richardson’s pick six against UCLA two seasons ago. Hopefully this sort of game changing defense becomes the standard under Justin Wilcox, because if you take away that touchdown, the second half would have been a lot more uncomfortable for the Huskies.