Game Analysis - Alamo Bowl

If you like defense, hopefully you didn't watch the Alamo Bowl as Washington and Baylor combined for 1,397 yards and 123 points. What went right and what went wrong? Dawgman.com gives you their breakdown of the game and some things to ponder as we head into the offseason...

Turning Point/Play of the Game: Polk Fumble. It has been a rarity for Polk to fumble and even rarer for him to actually lose the ball, however, his fumble at the Baylor 17 was what really turned the tide for the Dawgs. Washington and Baylor had traded touchdowns to start the first half and then promptly both offenses went three-and-out. With the Huskies up 11, 42-31, freshman Kasen Williams returned a punt 53 yards to the Bears' 17. Polk took an inside handoff to the left and was struggling for extra yardage when S Sam Holl came up and stripped the ball and it was recovered by Rodney Chadwick at the Baylor 11. Turning Point/Play of the Game (runner-up): Terrance Ganaway's 89-yard touchdown. As if Polk's lost fumble wasn't bad enough, the Husky defense decided to stay on the bench, allowing Ganaway to go 89 yards straight up the middle on the ensuing play, bringing the Bears within three after they got the two-point conversion and, even though the Dawgs were still leading by three, you could feel the momentum shift and that the lead would eventually slip away.

Offensive Player of the Game: QB Keith Price. Price was the healthiest he's been all year and it showed. Both in his throwing, but also in his running. The sophomore signal-caller was outstanding hitting on 23 of his 37 attempts for 438 yards and four touchdowns while carrying the ball five times for 39 yards and three touchdowns, with two coming in spectacular fashion.

Defensive Player of the Game: DE Josh Shirley. It's hard to even consider giving someone this "honor" when the defense allows 777 yards and 67 points, but Shirley, along with fellow redshirt freshman DE Andrew Hudson, harassed Robert Griffin the entire first half. Shirley finished the game with five tackles, three tackles-for-loss and three sacks

Key Stat: 482 yards rushing for Baylor. Washington handled the Bears most of the first half and even looked like they might have figured out how to limit RG3's effectiveness by getting pressure off the edge. However, Ganaway just blew the doors off the Dawgs in the second half with scoring runs of 89, 1, 1, 4 and 43 yards and finished the night with 200 yards and five touchdowns on 21 carries.

Handouts to the standouts: Price's big day was complemented nicely by Polk who, sans his fumble, played nearly a perfect game rushing for 147 yards and one touchdown, a 56-yard beauty with less than a minute to go in the first half; WR Jermaine Kearse had a huge night finishing with five catches for 198 yards and one touchdown that covered 80 yards on the third play of the second half. However, he missed most of the rest of the half due to a reported ankle injury; WR Devin Aguilar finished the game by posting five catches for 90 yards and two touchdowns; The entire offensive line played one of their better games, not allowing a sack and getting good push at times; Shirley and Hudson were the two best defensive players in a very poor effort by the unit.

Needs work: Defense, defense, defense. To score 56 points, hold the ball for nearly 32 minutes, put up 620 yards of offense and still lose by 11? Something has to change. Is it the coaches? Is it the talent on the field? Is it merely confidence? Who knows? All we can do is sit back and wonder what will happen to most or all of the defensive coaching staff in the coming weeks and months. Only time will tell, but if this doesn't get fixed, head coach Steve Sarkisian's tenure could be a short one.


Dawgman.com Top Stories