Weekend Observations - UW/Pac 12 (Week 11)

After 11 weeks, the Huskies sit at 6-4 and ahead of them lie three opponents who present different challenges. Before we look ahead though, we need to look back at the weekend and gather our thoughts on what we saw on the field, both at Husky Stadium, but also what we saw throughout the rest of the conference this past weekend...

UW/UCLA Observations

-- You could certainly tell the difference when Hau’oli Kikaha left the game. The Huskies just couldn’t muster much of a pass-rush once the senior BUCK left the game.

-- Actually, this was probably the best game I’ve seen the Husky receivers play this season. They got open pretty consistently and I liked what the youngsters – Brayden Lenius and Dante Pettis – brought to the passing game. I expect to see more and more of them over the next three weeks.

-- Hopefully the coaches will stop using Shaq Thompson on sweeps and instead pound him up the middle. I don’t have a carry chart, but I would be most of his yards happen inside rather than outside.

-- I’m not sure if it was the fact that they played zone coverage more than they normally do or what, but the defense just did not look that aggressive. Over and over the receivers were willing to let the ball be caught in front of them and Brett Hundley was more than happy to dump the ball off to his check downs rather than throwing the ball down the field.

-- Korey Durkee and Cameron Van Winkle both had great games. Durkee has been much more consistent this year, aside from the ASU game, while Van Winkle just continues to be a consistent kicker who seems almost unshakeable right now. One of the concerns I heard about Van Winkle before he enrolled at UW was his lack of mental toughness. I think he’s proving that concern to be completely misplaced.

-- Very nice to see John Ross get his kick return for a touchdown, but he still dances way too much on most of his returns or when he touches the ball.

-- Brian Clay just destroyed a UCLA player on Ross’ return for a TD. His block is really what sprung him as he cleared out a huge path on the right side.

-- Anyone else sick of watching Myles Jack pose and preen for the cameras when he plays UW? I sure am. His family sure showed their lack of class too on the broadcast. They looked absolutely silly.

-- Despite what people on the boards think, this team is improving. I saw them come out and not get down on themselves. I saw them play hard all the way until the end. I saw better run-blocking from the offensive line. I saw the receivers getting some separation. They are closer than you think. It’s just going to take longer than anyone hoped.

Pac 12 Observations

Arizona State 55 Notre Dame 31
-- Hey ASU…the game isn’t over at halftime! The Sun Devils went into halftime up 34-10, but when they returned, they seemed to have let up on the gas and almost gave up the lead, allowing the Irish to get within 34-31, but then two Notre Dame errors led to points for the Sun Devils and the game was done.

-- Taylor Kelly still does not look right to me. He’s much more inaccurate and his decision-making is much slower than it had been before he was injured.

-- ASU picked off four passes, returning two for scores, and that’s a big reason why they won the game.

Washington State 39 Oregon State32

-- The thing that stuck out the most to me when I watched this game was the lack of speed for Oregon State. None of the defensive backs or linebackers showed any speed and they were slow reacting to the ball.

-- Yeah, Luke Falk looked good in his first start at quarterback for the Cougars, but let’s see what he looks like when teams gameplan for him specifically and what he looks like when he’s smacked around by the pass-rush.

-- It’s always interesting to see what receivers wind up being the top targets for each quarterback that comes in and plays. Of course, Vince Mayle has been a stalwart all season, but Tyler Baker has been a guy that seems to be a favorite of Falk.

Arizona 38 Colorado 20
-- The Buffs gave Arizona a run for their money, but when Sefo Liufau went down with an injury midway through the fourth quarter, any hope they had of an upset was dashed.

-- Anu Solomon just continues to get better and better. His combination of passing and the ability to run and keep plays alive with his leg have really wreaked havoc on defenses this season.

Oregon 51 Utah 27
-- I about threw up in my mouth watching Kaelin Clay, who I covered when he was at Mt. San Antonio JC, drop the ball at the one yard line instead of taking it in for the touchdown and then watching Oregon pick it up and run it back 99 yards for a score. Utah would have been up 14-0 at the start of the second quarter, but Clay’s gaffe just opened the floodgates to a huge second quarter that saw the Ducks score 24 points and essentially put the game out of reach for the Utes. Brutal!

-- Marcus Mariota appears to be back to his running ways. He picks and chooses his spots and he’s flawless when making reads on the zone-option that Oregon loves to run.

-- Oregon’s defense is starting to play better. They held Devontae Booker to just 65 yards on 18 carries on the night. The Ducks are one of the few teams to stop the Utes' top runner.

-- Booker did show his versatility though by catching a game-high eight passes for 110 yards and a touchdown.

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