You Can Exhale Now: Card 31, UW 28 (Final)

Maybe UW's really good and this is the escape that seemingly all national or conference championship teams need. Then again, Stanford was outgained 489-284 at home. Kevin Hogan had a day that largely reminded of early 2012 quarterbacking. Most jarringly, we don't have the confidence to run up the middle for a yard to ice the game? ... Time will tell, but at least for a week, the dream lives on.



As the fourth quarter starts, I'm glad we have our coaches and not Washington's. Washington in a hurry-up offense: two touchdowns in three possessions (approximate). UW at normal tempo: one touchdown in eight possessions (again, approximate). But the Huskies come out at a standard pace because the offensive assistants who call in the plays over the headsets have to justify their paychecks. Alas for UW, the 15 seconds for telephonic relay allow Stanford's singular defensive strength, its defensive line, to generate a full-on rush and shine to their utmost. The front seven draws a holding call, and then James Vaughters comes through with a third-down sack to make up for the last drive's late hit and force the punt.

Stanford's streak of 28 games with a forced turnover is in some serious jeopardy with 11:48 to go. The Card could sure use a turnover right now though. The offense just went three and out, with Hogan pulling for three on first down, Gaffney running for just two on second down, and Hogan forcing Gaffney to leap on a third down screen, preventing the back from trying to juke a defender. Hogan's stats don't look good: 12-of-20 for a touchdown and a pick and only 105 yards. Plus, what the numbers don't show and further compounding matters is that Hogan has pulled on a lot of passing downs, often for only a few yards. Officially, he has nine rushes for 37 yards, and many of those were neither sacks nor designed runs. It's great to scramble to make a few yards if that's all that's there, but barring Michael Vick-like agility, which Hogan (though mobile) doesn't have, passing should be a first option. Unless UW is the next coming of the '85 Bears, I have to think there were guys open somewhere in the progression on some of those throws.

At any rate, Washington is marching again, now nearing Stanford's 40 with the clock nearing nine minutes. UW must be watching my computer monitor, as they have gone to a hurry-up offense this drive, and sure enough, they have 33 yards on six plays thus far. The clock stops at 9:16 with Ben Gardner down and the Huskies facing third and three at Stanford's 43, down 31-21. Presumably it's four-down territory for Washington. Gardner walks off of his own ability, though he is taking weight off his left leg. With fellow defensive end Henry Anderson out for several more weeks, Stanford really would like to have Gardner healthy for the rest of tonight and the upcoming weeks.

Gardner is pacing around on the sideline, we see on the ESPN broadcast here in the Stanford Stadium press box. UW's now to Stanford's 32 with under nine minutes left, but make that a third and six at Stanford's 36 as Gardner, having re-entered, generates backside pursuit and drops the tailback for a loss. But Price scrambles for first-down yardage on the ensuing third-down play, and Shayne Skov is down for a minute, and appears to be holding a knee. It was a knee injury, if memory serves, that kept him out for the better part of 2011, of course.

Washington converts on yet another third down, this time to Kasen Williams, after Jordan Richards had broken up a bomb to the end zone two plays earlier. Price scrambles for six more and the Huskies are to the 12. Skov returns and drops Price for a minimal gain, so Washington is in yet another third down, this one a third and three from the Card 11. Again UW converts, this time with Sankey running to his right.

Then comes our likely play of the game. [Edit: Indeed, it is our play of the quarter.] Trent Murphy follows the advice of a longtime poster around these parts and gets his hands up and into Price's passing lane. Murphy tips, and though he came down with a pick-six last week, this week it's A.J. Tarpley with the interception instead. Give all credit to Tarpley, as that ball was not spiraling but wobbling, there were multiple bodies in the area, and that's the type of play that defenses drop all too frequently. Instead, Tarpley makes a basket catch with a defender trying to jump over his back and returns to Stanford's 20, as the Huskies come up empty after a great scoring opportunity. 6:11 to go, with Stanford up by 10.

Time to try to run some clock, but of course, one needs to move the chains to do that. Instead, it's two telegraphed running plays up the middle, but the Cardinal manage only five yards, and bring up a third and five at their 25. A Kelsey Young end-around is an inspired call, but Young isn't strong enough to break out of a tackle at the 28, two yards short of the promised land. Ben Rhyne booms a beautiful punt and Francis Owusu comes through with a tackle as the returner funnels to him. Owusu may have gotten away with a horse-collar or facemask, if the UW section's reaction is any indication.

Washington is now moving with haste, and again they are successful, with a 40-yard bomb to Kasen Williams, with Alex Carter in decent coverage. The next snap, much the same, as Stanford is there, but the defensive back can't get his head around quickly enough. It's a 21-yard pass to Kevin Smith, who is down to the Cardinal 1.

Stanford is caught with 12 on the field, and a perimeter run the next snap finishes off the drive. It's nail-biting time, folks, after the quick Stanford three and out, and the 1:30 UW touchdown drive.

Stanford 31, Washington 28, 2:38 remaining

Both teams have all three timeouts left. Stanford has its hands team out, but I wish they would have set up a return instead, given the success they've had today. (And if UW wants to squib and back themselves up 20 yards should they get the ball back needing a game-tying field goal, go right ahead.) Instead, UW kicks it deep and the Huskies quickly converge and drop Montgomery at the 20.

Montgomery runs for four on an end-around running right. There was more there, but Khalil Wilkes' man got off the block to make the tackle. UW takes its first timeout with 2:29 remaining.

Stanford runs power for five yards on second down, and UW takes its second timeout. That actually works perfectly, assuming a conversion on this third and one, as Stanford will be able to take it down to well under a minute. But first the third and one. It's a bootleg to Hogan, which UW defended well, and a holding would have wiped out any conversion anyway. On comes the punt team. I would have run up the middle on third down, and then gone for this fourth and one in the same fashion. Instead, trickery and a punt. UW fair catches at the 33. They have one timeout and 1:51 remaining.

UW completes to the 50 on the left sideline, but Stanford challenges. Whether the receiver got his elbow down in bounds is quite close, and the officials are going to have to look at this for a minute or two. The officials confirm the call, and now it's on Stanford's defense to make a stop. Kasen Williams drops an eight-yard dig. Second and ten from the Stanford 49. A blitz gets through up the middle, and UW has to throw it away. Third down, 1:36 to go, and this baby is rocking. Sefarian-Jenkins had a 25-yard gain, but drops it. Sometimes, it's better to be lucky. Fourth and ballgame. Price does an incredible job to buy time and then completes, this time on the right sideline, down to the Stanford 33. It's probably a trap, but will the replay be conclusive enough to overturn the call? The longer this takes, the better for Stanford, obviously, and we've been waiting a few minutes thus far.

"After further review, the ruling is that the ball hit the ground." Bullet dodged and, again, it's better to be good than lucky. Washington fans are going to be complaining about this one for a while, and I do wonder if UW, not Stanford, were the BCS contender to pull in $20 million for the referees' employer, whether that call would have gone differently. What's indisputable: Including the fourth-down trap, UW dropped three balls on that final series. Wow, did Stanford escape tonight. Washington has one timeout, and so Stanford can all but knee this one out with 1:16 remaining. I'd run a lot of sweeps to eat up more clock. Washington doesn't bother with a timeout, Stanford knees it out, and this one is over.

Our player of the quarter is Ben Rhyne. It's a cumulative honor, really, after a day that saw him punt five times for a 46-yard average that would have been north of 50 if you take away a nicely-executed pooch punt. Stanford needed just about every one of those yards. Our play of the quarter is Tarpley's interception off Murphy's tip, deep in Stanford territory. It proved the difference.

Stanford 31, Washington 28 (Final)

A good or bad sign?

Stanford just won what might be its second-toughest game of the season, but they did not look as dominant as the faithful (or team) would have liked. So what to make of it?

Maybe Washington is really good, this is the type of escape that seemingly all national or conference championship teams need, and Stanford's odds of running the table just went up now that this one is in the books. Then again, Stanford was outgained 489-284 at home, against a team that has done this for years now: look top-10 quality after a few weeks, but then fizzle badly down the stretch. Kevin Hogan had one beautiful throw, and the remainder of a day that reminded of early 2012 quarterbacking. Washington threw away nearly 100 yards in penalties, probably dropped nearly that many yards, and treated kickoff coverage as a theoretical concept, not an act requiring execution. Most jarringly to fans accustomed to the past several years, we don't have the confidence to run up the middle on third and one (and then fourth and one, if need be) to ice the game?

I don't have a verdict to resolve these dichotomous views, other than to state the obvious: The coming weeks will tell. (Plus, there's a tendency to overreact in this sport, for just like we weren't as good as we looked last week, we're not as porous defensively as we looked tonight.) My bottom line though is that the national championship dream lives to fight another week, and based on experience, that is more exciting for all of us than figuring out what we need to happen to back our way into the Rose Bowl or BCS berth. At least for another week, we get to keep dreaming big!





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As the fourth quarter starts, I'm glad we have our coaches and not Washington's. Washington in a hurry-up offense: two touchdowns in three possessions (approximate). UW at normal tempo: one touchdown in eight possessions (again, approximate). But the Huskies come out at a standard pace because the offensive assistants who call in the plays over the headsets have to justify their paychecks. Alas for UW, the 15 seconds for telephonic relay allow Stanford's singular defensive strength, its defensive line, to generate a full-on rush and shine to their utmost. The front seven draws a holding call, and then James Vaughters comes through with a third-down sack to make up for the last drive's late hit and force the punt.\r\n

Stanford's streak of 28 games with a forced turnover is in some serious jeopardy with 11:48 to go. The Card could sure use a turnover right now though. The offense just went three and out, with Hogan pulling for three on first down, Gaffney running for just two on second down, and Hogan forcing Gaffney to leap on a third down screen, preventing the back from trying to juke a defender. Hogan's stats don't look good: 12-of-20 for a touchdown and a pick and only 105 yards. Plus, what the numbers don't show and further compounding matters is that Hogan has pulled on a lot of passing downs, often for only a few yards. Officially, he has nine rushes for 37 yards, and many of those were neither sacks nor designed runs. It's great to scramble to make a few yards if that's all that's there, but barring Michael Vick-like agility, which Hogan (though mobile) doesn't have, passing should be a first option. Unless UW is the next coming of the '85 Bears, I have to think there were guys open somewhere in the progression on some of those throws.\r\n

At any rate, Washington is marching again, now nearing Stanford's 40 with the clock nearing nine minutes. UW must be watching my computer monitor, as they have gone to a hurry-up offense this drive, and sure enough, they have 33 yards on six plays thus far. The clock stops at 9:16 with Ben Gardner down and the Huskies facing third and three at Stanford's 43, down 31-21. Presumably it's four-down territory for Washington. Gardner walks off of his own ability, though he is taking weight off his left leg. With fellow defensive end Henry Anderson out for several more weeks, Stanford really would like to have Gardner healthy for the rest of tonight and the upcoming weeks.\r\n

Gardner is pacing around on the sideline, we see on the ESPN broadcast here in the Stanford Stadium press box. UW's now to Stanford's 32 with under nine minutes left, but make that a third and six at Stanford's 36 as Gardner, having re-entered, generates backside pursuit and drops the tailback for a loss. But Price scrambles for first-down yardage on the ensuing third-down play, and Shayne Skov is down for a minute, and appears to be holding a knee. It was a knee injury, if memory serves, that kept him out for the better part of 2011, of course.\r\n

Washington converts on yet another third down, this time to Kasen Williams, after Jordan Richards had broken up a bomb to the end zone two plays earlier. Price scrambles for six more and the Huskies are to the 12. Skov returns and drops Price for a minimal gain, so Washington is in yet another third down, this one a third and three from the Card 11. Again UW converts, this time with Sankey running to his right.\r\n

Then comes our likely play of the game. [Edit: Indeed, it is our play of the quarter.] Trent Murphy follows the advice of a longtime poster around these parts and gets his hands up and into Price's passing lane. Murphy tips, and though he came down with a pick-six last week, this week it's A.J. Tarpley with the interception instead. Give all credit to Tarpley, as that ball was not spiraling but wobbling, there were multiple bodies in the area, and that's the type of play that defenses drop all too frequently. Instead, Tarpley makes a basket catch with a defender trying to jump over his back and returns to Stanford's 20, as the Huskies come up empty after a great scoring opportunity. 6:11 to go, with Stanford up by 10.\r\n

Time to try to run some clock, but of course, one needs to move the chains to do that. Instead, it's two telegraphed running plays up the middle, but the Cardinal manage only five yards, and bring up a third and five at their 25. A Kelsey Young end-around is an inspired call, but Young isn't strong enough to break out of a tackle at the 28, two yards short of the promised land. Ben Rhyne booms a beautiful punt and Francis Owusu comes through with a tackle as the returner funnels to him. Owusu may have gotten away with a horse-collar or facemask, if the UW section's reaction is any indication.\r\n

Washington is now moving with haste, and again they are successful, with a 40-yard bomb to Kasen Williams, with Alex Carter in decent coverage. The next snap, much the same, as Stanford is there, but the defensive back can't get his head around quickly enough. It's a 21-yard pass to Kevin Smith, who is down to the Cardinal 1.\r\n

Stanford is caught with 12 on the field, and a perimeter run the next snap finishes off the drive. It's nail-biting time, folks, after the quick Stanford three and out, and the 1:30 UW touchdown drive.\r\n

Stanford 31, Washington 28, 2:38 remaining\r\n

Both teams have all three timeouts left. Stanford has its hands team out, but I wish they would have set up a return instead, given the success they've had today. (And if UW wants to squib and back themselves up 20 yards should they get the ball back needing a game-tying field goal, go right ahead.) Instead, UW kicks it deep and the Huskies quickly converge and drop Montgomery at the 20.\r\n

Montgomery runs for four on an end-around running right. There was more there, but Khalil Wilkes' man got off the block to make the tackle. UW takes its first timeout with 2:29 remaining.\r\n

Stanford runs power for five yards on second down, and UW takes its second timeout. That actually works perfectly, assuming a conversion on this third and one, as Stanford will be able to take it down to well under a minute. But first the third and one. It's a bootleg to Hogan, which UW defended well, and a holding would have wiped out any conversion anyway. On comes the punt team. I would have run up the middle on third down, and then gone for this fourth and one in the same fashion. Instead, trickery and a punt. UW fair catches at the 33. They have one timeout and 1:51 remaining.\r\n

UW completes to the 50 on the left sideline, but Stanford challenges. Whether the receiver got his elbow down in bounds is quite close, and the officials are going to have to look at this for a minute or two. The officials confirm the call, and now it's on Stanford's defense to make a stop. Kasen Williams drops an eight-yard dig. Second and ten from the Stanford 49. A blitz gets through up the middle, and UW has to throw it away. Third down, 1:36 to go, and this baby is rocking. Sefarian-Jenkins had a 25-yard gain, but drops it. Sometimes, it's better to be lucky. Fourth and ballgame. Price does an incredible job to buy time and then completes, this time on the right sideline, down to the Stanford 33. It's probably a trap, but will the replay be conclusive enough to overturn the call? The longer this takes, the better for Stanford, obviously, and we've been waiting a few minutes thus far.\r\n

\"After further review, the ruling is that the ball hit the ground.\" Bullet dodged and, again, it's better to be good than lucky. Washington fans are going to be complaining about this one for a while, and I do wonder if UW, not Stanford, were the BCS contender to pull in $20 million for the referees' employer, whether that call would have gone differently. What's indisputable: Including the fourth-down trap, UW dropped three balls on that final series. Wow, did Stanford escape tonight. Washington has one timeout, and so Stanford can all but knee this one out with 1:16 remaining. I'd run a lot of sweeps to eat up more clock. Washington doesn't bother with a timeout, Stanford knees it out, and this one is over.\r\n

Our player of the quarter is Ben Rhyne. It's a cumulative honor, really, after a day that saw him punt five times for a 46-yard average that would have been north of 50 if you take away a nicely-executed pooch punt. Stanford needed just about every one of those yards. Our play of the quarter is Tarpley's interception off Murphy's tip, deep in Stanford territory. It proved the difference.\r\n

Stanford 31, Washington 28 (Final)\r\n

A good or bad sign?\r\n

Stanford just won what might be its second-toughest game of the season, but they did not look as dominant as the faithful (or team) would have liked. So what to make of it?\r\n

Maybe Washington is really good, this is the type of escape that seemingly all national or conference championship teams need, and Stanford's odds of running the table just went up now that this one is in the books. Then again, Stanford was outgained 489-284 at home, against a team that has done this for years now: look top-10 quality after a few weeks, but then fizzle badly down the stretch. Kevin Hogan had one beautiful throw, and the remainder of a day that reminded of early 2012 quarterbacking. Washington threw away nearly 100 yards in penalties, probably dropped nearly that many yards, and treated kickoff coverage as a theoretical concept, not an act requiring execution. Most jarringly to fans accustomed to the past several years, we don't have the confidence to run up the middle on third and one (and then fourth and one, if need be) to ice the game?\r\n

I don't have a verdict to resolve these dichotomous views, other than to state the obvious: The coming weeks will tell. (Plus, there's a tendency to overreact in this sport, for just like we weren't as good as we looked last week, we're not as porous defensively as we looked tonight.) My bottom line though is that the national championship dream lives to fight another week, and based on experience, that is more exciting for all of us than figuring out what we need to happen to back our way into the Rose Bowl or BCS berth. At least for another week, we get to keep dreaming big!\r\n\r\n\r\n

Tweet\r\n\r\n




\r\n

Are you fully subscribed to The\r\nBootleg? If not, then you are missing out on\r\nall the top Cardinal coverage we provide daily on our\r\naward-winning website. Sign up today for the biggest and best in\r\nStanford sports coverage with TheBootleg.com\r\n(sign-up)!

\r\n","mobileBody":" Follow @TheBootleg As the fourth quarter starts, I'm glad we have our coaches and not Washington's. Washington in a hurry-up offense: two touchdowns in three possessions (approximate). UW at normal tempo: one touchdown in eight possessions (again, approximate). But the Huskies come out at a standard pace because the offensive assistants who call in the plays over the headsets have to justify their paychecks. Alas for UW, the 15 seconds for telephonic relay allow Stanford's singular defensive strength, its defensive line, to generate a full-on rush and shine to their utmost. The front seven draws a holding call, and then James Vaughters comes through with a third-down sack to make up for the last drive's late hit and force the punt.

Stanford's streak of 28 games with a forced turnover is in some serious jeopardy with 11:48 to go. The Card could sure use a turnover right now though. The offense just went three and out, with Hogan pulling for three on first down, Gaffney running for just two on second down, and Hogan forcing Gaffney to leap on a third down screen, preventing the back from trying to juke a defender. Hogan's stats don't look good: 12-of-20 for a touchdown and a pick and only 105 yards. Plus, what the numbers don't show and further compounding matters is that Hogan has pulled on a lot of passing downs, often for only a few yards. Officially, he has nine rushes for 37 yards, and many of those were neither sacks nor designed runs. It's great to scramble to make a few yards if that's all that's there, but barring Michael Vick-like agility, which Hogan (though mobile) doesn't have, passing should be a first option. Unless UW is the next coming of the '85 Bears, I have to think there were guys open somewhere in the progression on some of those throws.

At any rate, Washington is marching again, now nearing Stanford's 40 with the clock nearing nine minutes. UW must be watching my computer monitor, as they have gone to a hurry-up offense this drive, and sure enough, they have 33 yards on six plays thus far. The clock stops at 9:16 with Ben Gardner down and the Huskies facing third and three at Stanford's 43, down 31-21. Presumably it's four-down territory for Washington. Gardner walks off of his own ability, though he is taking weight off his left leg. With fellow defensive end Henry Anderson out for several more weeks, Stanford really would like to have Gardner healthy for the rest of tonight and the upcoming weeks.

Gardner is pacing around on the sideline, we see on the ESPN broadcast here in the Stanford Stadium press box. UW's now to Stanford's 32 with under nine minutes left, but make that a third and six at Stanford's 36 as Gardner, having re-entered, generates backside pursuit and drops the tailback for a loss. But Price scrambles for first-down yardage on the ensuing third-down play, and Shayne Skov is down for a minute, and appears to be holding a knee. It was a knee injury, if memory serves, that kept him out for the better part of 2011, of course.

Washington converts on yet another third down, this time to Kasen Williams, after Jordan Richards had broken up a bomb to the end zone two plays earlier. Price scrambles for six more and the Huskies are to the 12. Skov returns and drops Price for a minimal gain, so Washington is in yet another third down, this one a third and three from the Card 11. Again UW converts, this time with Sankey running to his right.

Then comes our likely play of the game. [Edit: Indeed, it is our .] Trent Murphy follows the advice of a longtime poster around these parts and gets his hands up and into Price's passing lane. Murphy tips, and though he came down with a pick-six last week, this week it's A.J. Tarpley with the interception instead. Give all credit to Tarpley, as that ball was not spiraling but wobbling, there were multiple bodies in the area, and that's the type of play that defenses drop all too frequently. Instead, Tarpley makes a basket catch with a defender trying to jump over his back and returns to Stanford's 20, as the Huskies come up empty after a great scoring opportunity. 6:11 to go, with Stanford up by 10.

Time to try to run some clock, but of course, one needs to move the chains to do that. Instead, it's two telegraphed running plays up the middle, but the Cardinal manage only five yards, and bring up a third and five at their 25. A Kelsey Young end-around is an inspired call, but Young isn't strong enough to break out of a tackle at the 28, two yards short of the promised land. Ben Rhyne booms a beautiful punt and Francis Owusu comes through with a tackle as the returner funnels to him. Owusu may have gotten away with a horse-collar or facemask, if the UW section's reaction is any indication.

Washington is now moving with haste, and again they are successful, with a 40-yard bomb to Kasen Williams, with Alex Carter in decent coverage. The next snap, much the same, as Stanford is there, but the defensive back can't get his head around quickly enough. It's a 21-yard pass to Kevin Smith, who is down to the Cardinal 1.

Stanford is caught with 12 on the field, and a perimeter run the next snap finishes off the drive. It's nail-biting time, folks, after the quick Stanford three and out, and the 1:30 UW touchdown drive.

Both teams have all three timeouts left. Stanford has its hands team out, but I wish they would have set up a return instead, given the success they've had today. (And if UW wants to squib and back themselves up 20 yards should they get the ball back needing a game-tying field goal, go right ahead.) Instead, UW kicks it deep and the Huskies quickly converge and drop Montgomery at the 20.

Montgomery runs for four on an end-around running right. There was more there, but Khalil Wilkes' man got off the block to make the tackle. UW takes its first timeout with 2:29 remaining.

Stanford runs power for five yards on second down, and UW takes its second timeout. That actually works perfectly, assuming a conversion on this third and one, as Stanford will be able to take it down to well under a minute. But first the third and one. It's a bootleg to Hogan, which UW defended well, and a holding would have wiped out any conversion anyway. On comes the punt team. I would have run up the middle on third down, and then gone for this fourth and one in the same fashion. Instead, trickery and a punt. UW fair catches at the 33. They have one timeout and 1:51 remaining.

UW completes to the 50 on the left sideline, but Stanford challenges. Whether the receiver got his elbow down in bounds is quite close, and the officials are going to have to look at this for a minute or two. The officials confirm the call, and now it's on Stanford's defense to make a stop. Kasen Williams drops an eight-yard dig. Second and ten from the Stanford 49. A blitz gets through up the middle, and UW has to throw it away. Third down, 1:36 to go, and this baby is rocking. Sefarian-Jenkins had a 25-yard gain, but drops it. Sometimes, it's better to be lucky. Fourth and ballgame. Price does an incredible job to buy time and then completes, this time on the right sideline, down to the Stanford 33. It's probably a trap, but will the replay be conclusive enough to overturn the call? The longer this takes, the better for Stanford, obviously, and we've been waiting a few minutes thus far.

\"After further review, the ruling is that the ball hit the ground.\" Bullet dodged and, again, it's better to be good than lucky. Washington fans are going to be complaining about this one for a while, and I do wonder if UW, not Stanford, were the BCS contender to pull in $20 million for the referees' employer, whether that call would have gone differently. What's indisputable: Including the fourth-down trap, Wow, did Stanford escape tonight. Washington has one timeout, and so Stanford can all but knee this one out with 1:16 remaining. I'd run a lot of sweeps to eat up more clock. Washington doesn't bother with a timeout, Stanford knees it out, and this one is over.

It's a cumulative honor, really, after a day that saw him punt five times for a 46-yard average that would have been north of 50 if you take away a nicely-executed pooch punt. Stanford needed just about every one of those yards.

Stanford just won what might be its second-toughest game of the season, but they did not look as dominant as the faithful (or team) would have liked. So what to make of it?

Maybe Washington is really good, this is the type of escape that seemingly all national or conference championship teams need, and Stanford's odds of running the table just went up now that this one is in the books. Then again, Stanford was outgained 489-284 at home, against a team that has done this for years now: look top-10 quality after a few weeks, but then fizzle badly down the stretch. Kevin Hogan had one beautiful throw, and the remainder of a day that reminded of early 2012 quarterbacking. Washington threw away nearly 100 yards in penalties, probably dropped nearly that many yards, and treated kickoff coverage as a theoretical concept, not an act requiring execution. Most jarringly to fans accustomed to the past several years, we don't have the confidence to run up the middle on third and one (and then fourth and one, if need be) to ice the game?

I don't have a verdict to resolve these dichotomous views, other than to state the obvious: The coming weeks will tell. (Plus, there's a tendency to overreact in this sport, for just like we weren't as good as we looked last week, we're not as porous defensively as we looked tonight.) My bottom line though is that the national championship dream lives to fight another week, and based on experience, that is more exciting for all of us than figuring out what we need to happen to back our way into the Rose Bowl or BCS berth. At least for another week, we get to keep dreaming big!

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