Game Analysis - Arizona

Washington got their Pac 12 season off to a great start with a 31-13 win over Arizona in a torrential downpour for much of the game. Here's a closer look at the turning point in the game, who stood out and maybe one or two things that still need to be fixed going forward...

Turning Point/Play of the Game (Part 1): It might seem like an innocuous play, but in the long run, it was huge. Facing 3rd-and-7 from their own 42 yard line in the opening drive of the second half, the Huskies had a decision to make, throw the ball or play for field position. Arizona had stifled the Husky offense at the end of the first half, so it was hard to have a lot of confidence if they decided to pass. However, showing confidence in his senior signal-caller, head coach Steve Sarkisian called a pass play and Keith Price found Kasen Williams for a 15-yard gain, extending the drive and, eventually scoring a touchdown to put the Huskies up 18-6 lead.

Turning Point/Play of the Game (Part 2): With 7:36 left in the fourth quarter and trailing the Huskies by a score of 25-13, B.J. Denker drove the Wildcats to the Husky 42 where they had a first down. Should they have scored, they could have kept themselves within one score and made the Huskies sweat a little. However, Denker rolled to his left and the lefty threw it back across his body and was picked off by CB Marcus Peters, essentially ending the scoring threat and putting the game out of reach for the Arizona.

Turning Point/Play of the Game (Part 3): Arizona got the opening kickoff and ran the ball twice, setting up a 3rd-and-8 from their own 27, Denker dropped back to pass and threw the ball about five feet over his receivers' head and into the waiting arms of Sean Parker who returned it eight yards, to the Arizona 35 and four plays later, Price hit Kevin Smith for a touchdown and the Huskies were off to a great start.

Offensive Player of the Game: When you tote the rock 40 times for 161 yards and a score, it's tough to choose anyone else, so our Offensive Player of the Game is Bishop Sankey. It was tough sledding at times, but he always seemed to find a crease and get those extra yards and he punished Arizona S Jourdon Grandon on one run, showing some outstanding power.

Defensive Player of the Game: I'm going to go outside the box and give this one to Danny Shelton. The early going for one of the best running backs in the country, KaDeem Carey, was brutal and, even though he did get over 100 yards in the game, most of that was on outside runs. Shelton finished the day with six tackles (four solo), but it was how he stuffed the inside runs that really made him the Defensive Player fo the Game.

Handouts to the Standouts: Price battled the entire game and he did it not just with his arm, but also with his legs. He completed 14 of his 25 attempts for 165 yards, two touchdowns and one interception while rushing for 29 yards including a 13-yarder that saw him make five Wildcats miss and got the Huskies a first down deep in Arizona territory; Kevin Smith had a big drop late in the first half, but he rebounded and finished with four receptions for 68 yards including one he hauled in for 49 yards that set up Washington's third touchdown of the day. He also had the touchdown reception from Price on Washington's first drive; Of Williams' five receptions four went for key first downs, extending drives and giving the Dawgs a chance to score; Princeton Fuimaono and Shaquille Thompson had 13 tackles each and were generally always around the ball; Marcus Peters had a bad pass interference penalty, but overall he had a solid night finishing with six tackles and the interception; Parker had the pick plus five tackles and he also had a key pass breakup in the second quarter; Big Evan Hudson had two tackles (one solo) and one tackle-for-loss (it should have been posted as a sack) and generally held up well against the run and helped contain Denker on his scrambles.

Stat of the Week: 10-of-22. Washington held Arizona to less than 50% of their third down conversion attempts, but most of those stops were in the first half. Another stat was that Arizona was 2 of 5 of fourth down and both of them were because of blown assignments. One last one to keep an eye on is their penalties. Unlike the first three games where they averaged 12 penalties per game, the Huskies were flagged "just" seven times for 73 yards and one of them was a very questionable pass interference penalty called on Greg Ducre. It's not completely fixed, but it's a definitely a huge improvement from what he had seen in the non-conference schedule.

Needs Work: The plan was obviously to contain Denker instead of getting quick pressure on him, but still, a zero in the sack column is still not what you want to see.


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