UW Football Loses its Footing in the Pac-12
At 1:22am, the Cal Bears upset the Huskies 20 to 19. No one expected that to happen. Washington was a double-digit favorite coming into the game. Ranked 14th in the nation. Jacob Eason coming off of a four touchdown win. Home field advantage. The game had all the markings of a win for UW football. And yet, with all the advantages, Washington came up short. Unlike Week 1 of the Evergreen State’s football, UW fell hard and saw WSU football rise.
Jacob Eason Looked Rattled
In a game where the opposing quarterback only throws for 111 yards, one would think that Jacob Eason could take over. Not the case. Eason was less efficient and downright sloppy. Hurried and panicked, he consistently made poor judgements and throws. After four quarters, he completed 18 of 30 passes for just 162 yards and 1 interception, while losing a fumble.
In addition to losing a fumble and throwing an interception, Eason missed a big-time throw to Andre Baccellia in the end zone. Moreover, Eason couldn’t lead the Huskies to a single touchdown in the second half. Three field goals was all the team could muster to challenge Cal. Field goals aren’t going to cut it.
“Certainly kicking too many field goals isn’t going to get it done for us. That was frustrating. Really frustrating,” Washington coach Chris Petersen said.
Washington’s Rush Attack is Still Effective
Oddly enough, this was one of those games where both quarterbacks were beat in yards by their running backs. For UW football, Salvon Ahmed rushed for 119 yards and the Huskies lone touchdown. Additionally, Richard Newton showed efficiency and explosiveness again. As a two-headed attack, they should be good for the Huskies. Provided the Huskies can pass the ball, Ahmed and Newton should compliment Eason well. But remember, rushing is comparatively inefficient to passing. There’s only so much a team can do without a pass game.
The Turnover Drought Continues for UW Football
Yes, Washington held Cal to 20 points. They also allowed just 111 passing yards from Cal’s Chase Garbers. But, UW gave up 192 rushing yards and didn’t create one interception or defensive fumble recovery. This continues the fumble drought to four games and the interception drought to three games. Tackles for loss and sacks are excellent. UW continues to make plays. But, somehow the turnover ratio stays skewed. The football needs to bounce the Huskies way the rest of the season.
WSU Football Stays Hot
Unlike their evergreen counterpart, Washington State University had a much easier game. Against Big Sky Northern Colorado, WSU football rolled through, winning 59-17. They were no match for the Northern Colorado Bears.
Anthony Gordon Keeps Counting Numbers
Continuing a strong season’s start, Anthony Gordon completed 31 of 39 attempts for 464 yards and 4 touchdowns. That now puts his season totals are 884 yards passing, 9 touchdowns and 1 interception. Granted, his schedule so far is cake. Gordon’s hasn’t played a strong defense yet. He’s untested against true adversity. Yet, even with the Big Sky opponent, he threw his first interception and only led the Cougars to a 24-10 halftime lead. Yes, Gordon is putting up video game numbers in Mike Leach’s system. But he still has room to grow and improve. It remains to be season if he’ll crumble under the pressure like Jacob Eason.
WSU Football Wins Turnover Battle, But Still Looks Shaky
As noted above, WSU entered the half with a 24-10 lead. Against a team far inferior, WSU looked far from dominant. Overall, the Cougars allowed 355 yards from Northern Colorado. But, thankfully for stressed-out fans, WSU gave up just 3 points in the second half. They won the second half 35-3. Much better.
They also created havoc with four forced fumbles. As with any AP ranked team, it would be nice to see a game like this play out the way the second half did, but through the game’s entirety. Yet, WSU’s defense still looks like an average defense complimenting an above-average offense. As with Gordon, WSU’s defense is untested against a difficult opponent. Next week they face Houston, a team that gave No.5 Oklahoma a run for its money in week 1. If the defense and Gordon can hold up against Houston, they’ll earn the respect Coug fans crave.
Washington is Out and WSU is in the Race for Playoffs
Washington lost it. They did. Yes, there’s still a chance they could comeback and win the Pac-12. There’s also the smallest of percentages that the UW football program could make the college football playoffs. But, losses like this reflect the current state of the football program. The Huskies lack leadership and a true difference-maker at quarterback. When faced with a tough defense, Eason crumbled. And with that, so did hopes of Purple Reign. Adding Washington’s upset loss to Cal is the success of the rest of the Pac-12:
- Colorado Upsets No.25 Nebraska 34-31
- Utah Rises from No.13 to No.11 with Win against Northern Illinois
- Oregon Rebounds 77-6 vs Nevada and Rises to No.15
- USC Leaps into AP ranking with Win Against Stanford
- WSU Football Rises from No.22 to No.20
With Washington State University rolling through non-conference opponents, UW football looks like the lesser program in 2019. Although the WSU football program has yet to face a challenge, they haven’t failed like Washington did. An AP ranked team is dominant until they aren’t. Right now, WSU is performing well. Against Houston, WSU gets the chance to prove their merit in the Pac-12. WSU, Utah and USC each ranked and 2-0. Oregon and Washington, while still ranked, both have heartbreaking losses. With all that being said, WSU fans can look forward to a season-defining game against Houston next week.