Game Analysis - Arizona

A look at what went right and what went so wrong as several Husky miscues, including three fumbles, led to 17 Arizona points as Washington fell to 6-5 on the season with an altogether frustrating 27-26 loss to Arizona...

Turning Point/Play of the Game: After picking up a first down on 3rd-and-3 from their own 40, all Washington had to do was kneel on the ball three times and they could have run out the clock. Arizona had only one time out remaining and, at the very least, the Huskies could have punted after running time down and given Arizona the ball deep in their own territory with only seconds remaining. Instead, the Huskies decided to hand the ball off to Deontae Cooper who had the ball stripped by Tra'Mayne Bondurant and, after a scrum, it was eventually recovered by the Wildcats. After reviewing the play, the ruling on the field was allowed to stand and Arizona had the ball with 1:23 remaining on the clock and the ball at the Husky 44.

Offensive Player of the Game: RB Dwayne Washington had his best day carrying the ball, toting the rock 19 times for 148 yards and two scores including one that he went 66 yards to pay dirt in the first half. Washington did have some drops in the passing game that were pretty significant, but you can't overlook his overall contributions to the team and putting them in a position to win.

Defensive Player of the Game: CB Sidney Jones had two interceptions, his first two picks as a Husky, and four tackles on the day. What was most impressive was how the freshman bounced back after getting beaten Samajie Grant for a long-gainer setting up Arizona's first score of the afternoon. After the first quarter, Jones was rarely beaten and always seemed to be right where he was supposed to be to make a play.

Handouts to the standouts: You could easily have given DT Danny Shelton the nod as the DPOG as he finished with nin tackles, one sack and 2.5 tackles-for-loss; DE Andrew Hudson was a whirling dervish most of the day as he got pressure several times and got great penetration into the Wildcat backfield, finishing with seven tackles, one sack and two tackles-for-loss; freshman S Budda Baker had one of his better games totaling four tackles, a pass breakup and a forced fumble on Arizona's first drive of the second half. Baker also had a nice breakup of a pass on 4th down, appearing to give Washington the ball back, but a holding penalty on Brandon Beaver gave the Wildcats new life and led to a touchdown four plays later; he didn't have a huge impact from a number standpoint, but it was nice to see Kasen Williams get a lot more attention from the offensive coaches and Cyler Miles. The senior wideout finished with a game-high five receptions for 39 yards with two going for first downs; I know it's impossible to forget about his two fumbles, but as a passer, Miles was mostly solid hitting on 20 of his 29 attempts for 223 yards. Miles also converted several big third downs including one the play before the Cooper fumble that appeared to put Washington in position to win the game; Joshua Perkins had four receptions for 55 yards and a touchdown, getting Washington even with Arizona 7-7 midway through the first quarter; Jaydon Mickens had the biggest play in the passing game, hauling in a 48-yard reception. The junior wideout finished with four receptions for 69 yards on the day.

Stat of the game: Two stats stood out - penalties and turnovers. Washington finished with 13 penalties for 111 yards, some on key third downs, and their three turnovers, all fumbles, were just brutal and led to 17 points for Arizona. Chris Petersen's response when asked about the penalties was one word "painful".

Needs work: The two areas that seem most obvious to this observer are the two stats above (turnovers and penalties), but you also have to look at the other miscues that led to problems as well. Terrible snaps from Colin Tanigawa for the third or fourth week in a row, the bad snap by LS Ryan Masel on an extra point that wound up being the difference in the game, the turnover by Miles when the ball inexplicably dropped out of his hand and was recovered by Arizona deep in Wildcat territory, the fumble by Cooper are all good areas to focus on.

Bottom line: Bad teams have quirky things happen to them. The ball bounces wrong, nothing goes your way, you try harder and make stupider mistakes, it's just a vicious cycle. The team showed a ton of heart and guts and their defense played one of it's overall best games in a decade. Sure, they have had better statistical games, but those were typically against inferior opponents. The defense shut down one of the best offenses in the country and gave this team every chance to win the game. The job of the upper-classmen and coaches is to get the team focused again to win two imminently winnable games to close out the season and set themselves up for a bowl game to give them momentum heading into the offseason. Can they do it? We'll find out pretty quickly starting next weekend when Oregon State comes to town.


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