Too Many Mistakes To Win on the Road

There is little doubt that the home team pretty much had their way with the visiting Huskies on Saturday. Recording seven seven sacks, rushing for 252 yards and essentially knocking Keith Price out of the game, the Mighty Trojans made a statement: They weren't going to lose to the Huskies three years in a row. It was their house and they had the swagger.

Unfortunately, that showed in the body language of both teams as the game progressed.

The Huskies lost again to one of the big boys. If it isn't obvious to Husky fans now that this is still a developing program then simply look at it from the personnel standpoint. This team is still at least 30 kids away from being totally rebuilt, and I don't even want to remind you of that 0-12 year again. They are so much better than they were three years ago but this is still such a young team from both the experience and depth standpoint that it shows in their match ups with the "good" teams. The Huskies are becoming a good team, but aren't there yet.

Like their coach says, they are still on the climb and there are three more games to get better. They could still be a good team before it's all said and done. These Huskies are obviously still developing and learning how to become a more physically dominating team. Simply looking at it from the physical standpoint though, I thought that in their match-ups with Nebraska, Stanford, Oregon, and USC, that all of those teams still looked bigger, faster and stronger as a group. In all four games I went down on the field to assess it. The Huskies looked younger, and in most cases were. They're getting closer every year but this is still a work in progress from both the numbers standpoint and the quality standpoint.

These Huskies have learned how to win under the Sarkisian system, and that is the most important improvement in this team and in the program. They expect to win. They just weren't good enough in any of those games to do it, and that is the bottom line. It doesn't mean the program isn't improving, because it is. They're just making too many mistakes to beat the good teams.

Admittedly, the Huskies came out flat against the Trojans. They took the ball and proceeded to have two penalties in their first possession of the game and punted. They also went three and out on their next two possessions, and when they finally got it going, they marched from their own 21 to the Trojan 21. But then it was a stupid holding penalty that forced them to settle for a field goal instead of tying up the game.

So there were major mistakes already and yet the score was still only 7-3. The Husky defense had forced two USC punts. On the Huskies' very next possession they give up a pass interference on a third-and-20 and a 35-yard fake punt on fourth-and-9 that led to another USC touchdown. Washington then gave up a safety off a bad snap on their very next possession, but not before a holding penalty on the kickoff put them back on their own 9-yard line (mistakes again having negative results). In a span of under seven minutes, the Trojans scored 16 points to take over the game. Washington comes out for the second half looking to win the last 30 minutes, only to let USC return the kickoff for another touchdown. Game over. Of course there was at least one missed tackle on the return for yet another mistake.

Washington still makes it a game by immediately answering on a three play drive to cut the score to 20 points - or three scores - but then another missed tackle results in a 79-yard run by the Trojans' Curtis McNeal and the game over for sure then.

By the end it's Nick Montana leading a 69-yard drive and finishing it with a wonderful throw and catch to freshman sensation Kasen Williams, who is only going to get better and better. The performance of both of these freshmen can't be lost in outcome of the game. They, along with Bishop Sankey, are three really bright lights for the future.

The mystery of the Chris Polk involvement in the Trojan game plan will be answered in the Oregon State game. He will again become the main focus of the offense, and along with Williams and Austin Serferian-Jenkins will all play major roles in the upcoming game.

What was amazing in the Trojan game was that Washington had no turnovers for the game - except for the mistake that caused the safety (but that's not counted as a turnover in the official statistics) and they held the Trojans' star player, receiver Robert Woods, to two catches for five yards. They will need to do that again against the Beavers but will really want to get at least three turnovers themselves on defense and special teams.

Washington can and will run the ball better against Oregon State. They can and will also stop the run against Oregon State. They will protect the passer better both by scheme and by better communication to pick up crossers and blitzers, because it's pretty obvious people will be coming after the quarterback now. Improve in all those areas, and they will have a much better chance of winning on the road. That, and clean up their mistakes - because you don't win many games when you have 12 penalties for 91 yards. Top Stories