UW hits rock bottom? Not yet

SEATTLE - One locker room cheered on a huge victory; the other was silent. Coming from one of the locker rooms was a 'Whose house!' chant, the walls shaking. There was nothing coming from the other one. The game? The 2009 game between Stanford and Washington, with the Cardinal winning 34-14. Fast forward 12 months and it feels like things have actually changed for the worse.

In fact, it was the Cardinal rocking their locker room again Saturday night, chanting 'Whose House!', with absolutely no response down the corridor. What were the Washington Huskies supposed to do? They had just been humiliated, 41-0, on their home field, to announced crowd of 69,020. Truth be told, by the fourth quarter, the Bothell-Skyline game had been better attended, with thousands and thousands of UW fans floored by what they saw - and not in a good way.

"I think in a sense, the saying you've got to hit rock bottom before you can start going back up might hold true; we obviously hit rock bottom tonight," Washington Head Coach Steve Sarkisian said after the game during a press conference that also hit rock bottom - lasting less than six minutes. "This is a very disappointing performance. I feel for our fans - they deserve better than that."

They had just seen their offense account for 107 total yards, the lowest total in over 45 years. In 1973 the Huskies lost 58-0 at Oregon, racking up a paltry 102 yards. From my count, they only ran four plays in Stanford territory. Four plays.

"It was definitely the worst offensive performance I've ever been associated with," Sarkisian said, matter-of-factly. During his time at USC, the Trojans were only held to single-digits three time - but never shut out. Saturday night, there was never a doubt the Huskies were going to get skunked in their own house.

The Cardinal front four absolutely obliterated a makeshift UW offensive line - one that started with true frosh playing together on the right side, and ended up with both on the bench by the beginning of the third quarter.

And on the defensive side of the ball, Washington started two true freshmen - DE Hauoli Jamora and DT Sione Potoae - and by the time Nick Holt's Heroes were able to keep their feet in the ground and push somebody back, they were behind 28-0.

"Obviously the line of scrimmage was a big factor, but we're going to assess everything and try and figure out why, how and what we can do to fix it," Sarkisian said.

Everything being the operative term, and Sarkisian might as well have added 'everyone' to the list, because no one was exempt from his butt-kicking: The offense was abused at the line of scrimmage; quarterback Jake Locker had no time to make decisions, and no room to make something happen with his feet; when he did have time, he got picked off. Defensively they bought into every Andrew Luck fake the No. 1 draft prospect threw at them - and there were plenty. And when he wasn't cutting them up, any one of three other Stanford running backs were more than happy to join in the fun, as the Cardinal ran 47 times for 278 yards, outgaining UW on the ground by 259 yards.

"I don't want to make excuses," Sarkisian said. We're better than that - I know that much. We're better than that."

You would think, given UW's rich and proud tradition, you would have to go back a long, long ways to find a 41-point shellacking at home, but 24 months is all you'd need. They lost 55-14 to Oklahoma in 2008. But finding a worse home shutout loss took us all the way back to the 1929 archives, when the Huskies got pummeled by USC 48-0.

Eighty-one years.

"We're low, obviously," Sarkisian said. "The confidence is low, but that doesn't mean it can't be built back up. We will do that. We'll work at it, and we'll get better. We've got good coaches and good kids on this team that want to do well and we'll do everything in our power to make that happen.

"It's frustrating. We're going to look at everything. When you hit a point like this, I think the easy thing to do is possibly make excuses, or say why or this is why, or that's why…I don't want to do that right now. I want to assess everything, come to some understanding of what possibly the issues are…but as I touched on with the team, I only know one way to handle things when we get put in this type of situation, and that's to work extremely hard and to find a way to find a way…and that's what we'll do.

"But as of tonight - it's a bad loss, a disappointing loss. I just don't want to be too quick to rush to judgement."

You don't have to worry about that Sark, because most of the Husky fans that saw the game - either in person or on television - will do all the heavy lifting for you. Message boards will implode; local sports radio will have a field day with the complete ineptitude the team displayed on Saturday night. It can't be helped because, as you know, standards are high.

With Steve Emtman down on the field watching Washington's defensive front four have difficulties lining up against Stanford, it's a bit morbid to think about what Chip Kelly's Eugene All-Stars - the second-coming of the Harlem Globetrotters on grass - are going to do to a young, green DL, let alone a defense that seems to buy every fake in the playbook. And Jake Locker is going to feel just like that guy in those old 7-Up ads, standing still while the rest of the world is racing past him at a hundred miles an hour.

In short - regardless of what was said Saturday night, I don't know if the Huskies have hit rock bottom yet. That just might come next week, courtesy of the top-ranked Ducks. And they'll be more than happy to show Sark and UW just what rock bottom is all about. This loss to Stanford may have been nothing more than a trailer to coming attractions.


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