Will Washington football be able to play in the Pac-12 championship game against USC on Friday?
Washington football are the champions of the Pac-12 North, no matter what Oregon Duck fans might be saying on Twitter. In what has no doubt been an odd year, Jimmy Lake’s squad overcame tons of adversity to get to this point. Will they be able to play against USC in the Pac-12 title game? That’s a question for another day. Today is about celebrating a small victory during a pandemic shortened season.
Adding on to the adversity of a global pandemic, the Huskies were transitioning to a new head coach in Lake, a new offensive coordinator in John Donovan, and a new starting quarterback in Dylan Morris. Lake has taken some flak on the recruiting trail, especially after in-state five-star receiver Emeka Egbuka committed to Ohio State, and other big-name recruits spurned the hometown team to go out of state. Donovan has proven to be a good hire, leading the offense in some impressive comebacks, and one good looking blowout. Lastly, Morris has been excellent. He didn’t turn the ball over through two games and ran the new offense effectively.
On the defensive side of the ball, while run fits seemed to be a problem throughout all four games, Pete Kwiatkowski has found a bright spot in Zion Tupuola-Fetui. He recorded seven sacks through those four games, and anchored a pass rush that was patched together after both Joe Tryon and Levi Onwuzurike left early for the NFL Draft, and Laiatu Latu missed the entire year with an undisclosed injury.
While Elijah Molden will be entering the NFL Draft, Washington’s next centerpiece on defense has emerged in the form of Edefuan Ulofoshio. The redshirt sophomore inside linebacker recorded a career-high 18 tackles against Stanford, and is improving in leaps and bounds every week. At what was without a doubt the defense’s weakest position last season, it looks to be in good hands in the near future with Ulofoshio in the middle.
While in the long run this season probably won’t be one to remember, in the first year of the Lake era, at the very least a Pac-12 North title is a great stepping stone for something bigger.