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Quarterbacks: This is what you get when you play a true freshman. Jake Browning had looked mature beyond his years in the first three games, but on Saturday, he looked confused, he made some bad decisions and throws and he generally looked more like a freshman than he has all season. He accounted for three turnovers -- a fumble and two badly thrown interceptions -- and he held the ball too long on a couple of plays, taking sacks when he either should have thrown the ball away or checked things down quicker than he did. The freshman finished the game 17 of 28 for 152 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions, so his numbers were way down from the past couple of weeks. As we’ve been saying, things will be rocky this year as Browning continues to grow into the role of a starter in college, but in the long run, he gives UW the best chance to win, both this year and moving forward. Grade: D.
Running Backs: Dwayne Washington had 109 yards and a touchdown, but he only had 10 carries. Why the lack of touches? As the game progressed and the Huskies got down by multiple scores, they had to go to the air much more. However, the frustration from many came when the Huskies went away from the run after shredding the Cal defense on the ground one drive to passing it on nearly every play the next. Freshman Myles Gaskin didn’t do much on his five carries, totaling just 16 yards on five totes. Grade: C.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends: The tight ends had a solid day catching the ball as Josh Perkins (five receptions for 55 yards) and Darrell Daniels (three receptions for 30 yards) led the team in that category, but, along with the receivers, the tight ends did a poor job of blocking on the perimeter and that cut down on any chances the Huskies had of getting a consistent ground-game going. The receivers accounted for just six catches on the day and freshman Isaiah Renfro Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE ’s fumble and Marvin Hall’s lackadaisical play on a poorly thrown pass that resulted in a pick were killers. Grade: D+.
Offensive Line: Yes, the pass protection broke down at times, but overall, this unit didn’t have a terrible day, especially when you consider that they were starting a true freshman and two redshirt freshman. Kaleb McGary was beaten badly on the sack that resulted in a fumble deep in Husky territory and there were several times that Browning had to escape the rush instead of letting a play develop, but for the most part, the young offensive line held their own. Grade: C-.
Defensive Line: DT Elijah Qualls had his best game as a Husky. He finished with four tackles, two sacks and two tackles-for-loss and generally wreaked havoc along the line of scrimmage. Taniela Tupou put up seven tackles while Joe Mathis got several quarterback hurries and finished with six tackles. The players who rotated in also had solid days. Grade: B+.
Linebackers: When you look at their stat lines, you would come away thinking the linebackers had a solid afternoon. Keishawn Bierria and Azeem Victor led the Huskies with 12 tackles each and Cory Littleton had six tackles and a sack. Travis Feeney also had four tackles and a sack. However, the hidden stat you need to take into consideration when giving out a final grade is the missed tackles, at least 20, and a lot of those fall at the feet of the linebackers. Grade: C.
Secondary: Like the linebackers, the defensive backs were responsible for multiple missed tackles. However, with that said, Sidney Jones had his best game of the season thus far, knocking down a couple of passes, forcing and recovering a fumble and then returning it for a touchdown. Without Budda Baker, the coverage was lacking a couple of times, but overall this was not a terrible game for the secondary. Grade: C+.
Special Teams: P Korey Durkee wasn’t booming punts like he typically does, but he still had a solid afternoon, averaging 38 yards on three punts and forcing two fair catches. K Cameron Van Winkle hit from 36 yards out, his only attempt of the day and Tristan Vizcaino also had a solid day. The coverage units looked good, but the missed opportunity on the pooch kickoff where the ball sat on the ground with several Huskies around it really hurts the overall grade. Grade: B.
Coaching: One thing a game like this should help you understand -- this team has completely bought into things. With Cal up 27-7 early in the third quarter, this looked like a game that was fast getting away from the Huskies and, in past seasons, it felt like those contests that resulted in 20 or 30 point blowouts. However, the coaches were able to keep the players focused and playing hard and that mentality alone gave the Huskies a chance to win the game at the end. That being said, you have to look at the coaches when it comes to the missed tackles and you also have to question why they didn’t continue to run the ball earlier in the game when going right at the Cal defense was paying huge dividends. Grade: C+.
The Bottom Line: With Washington currently at 2-2, this is a season on the brink. Most people felt if the Huskies were going to make a bowl game, a win over Cal was a must. Since that didn’t happen, the Huskies need to find a way to get a win off of a team that most would consider an upset. The road to get to the post-season will be tough, but that won’t be the focus as head coach Chris Petersen said, the Huskies are still focused on themselves and improving every day rather than worrying about what other teams are doing.