In a closer-than-comfortable showdown in the Arizona desert, the Washington Huskies emerged victorious with a hard-fought 31-24 win over the Arizona Wildcats. The game revealed a series of important takeaways that shed light on the Huskies’ strengths and areas for improvement if they want to maintain an undefeated record.
Washington Huskies can win on the ground if they need to
Arizona was the first team this season to develop a game plan designed to neutralize Washington’s high-flying passing attack. They deployed a strategy that involved putting six or seven defensive backs on the field to take away the deep ball and put the pressure on the Huskies to win without relying solely on star quarterback Michael Penix Jr.
While the Wildcats had some success in limiting Penix to zero touchdown passes, they were unable to contain the Huskies’ ground game. The Huskies adapted by capitalizing on their rushing attack, ultimately scoring all four of their touchdowns on the ground. This showcased the team’s versatility and ability to adjust when faced with a defensive challenge. Running back Dillon Johnson rushed for 91 yards on 16 carries for two touchdowns.
Bralen Trice still has the moves
While much of the focus may have been on the offensive side of the ball, the Huskies’ defense had its moments, too. One standout play was Bralen Trice’s first sack of the season. Trice’s timely takedown of the opposing quarterback showcased he can still get after the QB. The potential first-round draft pick entered Week 5 with only nine total tackles on the year. Teams have done well to limit his impact on the defense but he is still one of the best edge rushers in college football.
Amount of penalties are unacceptable
In Washington’s victory against the Wildcats, a significant takeaway was the detrimental impact of penalties on their performance. The Huskies amassed 12 penalties for a total of 125 yards during the game, disrupting offensive and defensive rhythm, stalling drives, and gifting favorable field position to the opponent. These infractions not only hindered scoring opportunities but also reflected a need for improved discipline and focus. Addressing the issue of penalties will be crucial moving forward, especially when they are set to face Oregon after the BYE.