UW/Oregon State Game - Position Grades

When Washington took the field against Oregon State on Saturday at Husky Stadium, no one knew what to expect. Would UW come out fired up and ready to play or have their collective heads down after a tough loss to Arizona the week before? They answered the bell Saturday night in front of their home crowd and came away with an impressive 37-13 win over the Beavers...

Quarterbacks: Cyler Miles looks more and more comfortable every week. He finished with just five incompletions (18 of 23) while throwing for 253 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. Miles also kept his eyes up and didn’t look to take off too early, choosing to move around and make plays with his arm instead of worrying about the rush. One great example of Miles’ maturity as a quarterback was in the second quarter, with enough room to make a first down running the ball, the sophomore quarterback decided to draw the defender in the flat to him and then dropped the ball deftly over his outstretched arms into the hands of Dante Pettis who went for 25 yards, putting Washington in the redzone. Grade: A.

Running Backs: The Husky tailbacks rushed for 175 yards and had the one long touchdown by Dwayne Washington. If you really look at it, Lavon Coleman actually had the better night. He ran tougher, didn’t fumble (Washington’s fumble in the third quarter could have really turned the tide of the game in Oregon State’s favor) and he gained positive yardage on nearly every carry. The Huskies seem to have found a rhythm with the amount of carries that they want to give Washington and Coleman and they both have the ability to punish defenses. Miles was sacked just once and some of that can be attributed to the backs, including Deontae Cooper, picking up the blitzes that the Oregon State coaches threw at them. Grade: B+.

Wide Receivers: This was likely Jaydon Mickens’ best overall game as a Husky. He had the big touchdown reception on the first series, showing his experience and moxie by subtly getting himself some room to make the catch and then diving for the pylon. He finished the day with five receptions for 84 yards and the score. He also had a big touchdown in the fourth quarter, a 36 yard scamper around the right side that essentially salted the game away for the Huskies. The receivers didn’t catch many other passes as Miles did a good job of spreading the wealth, but they blocked well and overall had a solid evening. Grade: B+. Tight Ends: It was nice to see Darrell Daniels get involved and it was a perfect play call by Jonathan Smith as Miles rolled right and found Daniels wide open behind a linebacker on an arrow route the other way. He showed great speed in out-racing the OSU secondary to the endzone. Michael Hartvigson was used extensively as a blocker and he had a solid night while Josh Perkins continues to be one of the most productive offensive targets in Washington’s attack, finishing tied with a team-leading five receptions. Grade: A.

Offensive Line: I think everyone can agree that, at least off of the results from this game, that the move of Mike Criste back to center was a positive one. There were no bad snaps and, for the most part, the offensive line kept pass-rushers at bay and opened a few things up for the running backs including Micah Hatchie who collapsed his side to open things up for Washington’s long touchdown run. Grade: A-.

Defensive Line: Andrew Hudson probably had his most impactful game as a Husky on Saturday night, registering two sacks and generally was a nuisance to Oregon State QB Sean Mannion when he dropped back. The Huskies allowed just 78 yards rushing – 47 was the official total, but that included the 31 lost yards on sacks – and a lot of that had to do with the play of Danny Shelton and Evan Hudson in the middle of the line. Joe Mathis also had a solid evening contributing two tackles and a sack. Grade: B+.

Linebackers: Probably the biggest play of the game was turned in by Travis Feeney when he made the leap to pick off Mannion, returning the ball 59 yards to the Oregon State 29. At the time, Washington’s lead was just 17-7 and Oregon state appeared to have quite a bit of momentum, but that was the last real scoring threat by the Beavers. Shaq Thompson had the biggest hit of the day, breaking up a pass to a running back in the flat, while John Timu led the team with 10 tackles. Overall, it was a solid performance from this group. Grade: B+.

Defensive Backs: Other than a busted coverage (a 72-yard completion to Victory Bolden on 3rd-and-25), the secondary had a solid evening. Mannion ended up throwing for 314 yards, but a lot of that was underneath stuff. Sidney Jones and John Ross held their own outside vs. the OSU receivers and Kevin King generally made his presence felt as well. Grade: B.

Punting/Kicking: Korey Durkee had only three punt attempts and none of those were returned. He averaged 44.3 yards and had one touchback. Cameron Van Winkle was perfect on the night, hitting on all three of his field goal attempts – 34, 41 and 26 – and all four his point after tries. Grade: A.

Coverage/Return Teams: John Ross’ kick returns were pedestrian until his 38-yarder in the fourth quarter that seemed to give the Huskies a shot in the arm. Dante Pettis continues to frustrate with his bad decision-making on punts inside the 10 yard line. Late in the first half, the freshman decided to field a punt that was likely headed into the endzone at the five and, after retreating, was tackled at the Husky two yard line. That put Washington precariously close to their own goal line with :32 seconds left on the clock and Oregon State appearing to have some momentum. It turned out okay, but Pettis needs to make better decisions. The coverage units were outstanding for the most part although they did allow a 39-yard return from OSU kick returner Malcolm Marable. Grade: B+.

Offensive Coaching: The past two weeks have seen solid efforts and game plans from the offense. Smith had some really good play calls on Saturday night, including the touchdown call to Daniels, and he stuck with the run. The receivers were solid most of the night and the offensive line had one of its better games. Grade: A-.

Defensive Coaching: It appeared as if the Huskies stacked the box early to keep the Beavers from running the ball and that allowed them to really get after Mannion when he dropped back to pass. Aside from the one busted coverage by Baker, the secondary did what they were supposed to do and kept pretty much everything in front of them. The front seven kept the OSU running game in check and harassed Mannion enough to keep him from having a really big day. Grade: B+.

Overall Grade: The Huskies, and their fans, needed this game. The team appears to be hitting its stride at the right time and they have to be heading into the Apple Cup feeling pretty good about how they are playing. The players played fast, they played hard and they played with emotion. It was nice to see. They have set themselves up nicely for their annual rivalry game with Washington State this coming weekend and if they can continue to play loose and run around like they have been the past couple of weeks, they can beat almost anyone. Grade: A-.

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