USA Today Sports

Game Analysis - UW/Arizona

Here's a look at what went right, what went wrong and what needs work as Washington survived to beat Arizona 31-28 in Tucson, ending their 10-year losing streak in the state, and getting to 4-0 as they head to their big matchup with Stanford on Friday night...

Turning Point/Play of the Game: Washington stopped Arizona on 4th-and-10 from the Husky 11 in overtime to beat Arizona despite yielding 475 yards of offense and 28 points to a team struggling with injuries.

Another play that could have been selected was Jake Browning's four-yard touchdown pass to Dante Pettis for the touchdown in overtime on 3rd-and-goal. Had they not made that play, they likely would have settled for a field goal and Arizona wouldn't have had to go for it on their own fourth down and maybe we're still playing the game.

The last play that was a candidate with the Huskies stuffing Arizona on 4th-and-goal from their two stopping what could have turned into an Arizona runaway early on.

Offensive Player of the Game: There shouldn't be a question here since Lavon Coleman had a career night rushing for 181 yards and a touchdown.

Defensive Player of the Game: This was one of the worst Husky defensive performances in recent memory, but, that being said, defensive lineman Elijah Qualls finished with six tackles and one tackle for loss while clogging up the inside running lanes in the second half of the game.

Handouts to the standouts: Browning finished 14 of 21 for 160 yards with two touchdowns and in interception; the Husky offensive line, which has been a huge question mark so far this season, really stepped up and opened holes for the running game; Jake Eldrenkamp and Shane Brostek each had great games as they pulled and got blocks in space; John Ross III didn't put up big numbers, but he still scored twice and set the tone early for the Huskies. Ross finished with one carry for 32 yards and a touchdown while hauling in four-receptions for 28 yards and another score; Pettis had just three catches, but they were all big as two went for key first downs while the last one was a four-yard touchdown reception to win the game in the first overtime; Budda Baker had 10 tackles on the night, but his big misjudgment of Dawkins' "Hail Mary" pass on 2nd-and-25 with Arizona QB Brandon Dawkins under heavy pressure; Azeem Victor totaled 10 tackles as well and he also forced a key fumble; CB Kevin King had a key interception stopping an Arizona scoring drive.

Stat of the game: Eight penalties for 63 yards really stands out. Several of those penalties came on offense which killed drives and there were two pass interference penalties on Darren Gardenhire, one of which was legit, the other was a bit ticky tack, that also extended Arizona drives. One false start negated a first down run on fourth down during Washington's first drive of the game. The penalty resulted in a Husky punt.

Needs work: You can't allow a running quarterback like Brandon Dawkins hurt you that much on the ground -- 176 yards and two scores -- especially when he didn't have a valid option next to him for most of the second half. You absolutely have to clean up the penalties including the false starts and the secondary has to be better when the ball is in the air.

Bottom Line: Sometimes it's hard to get the monkey off your back. On paper, this game really shouldn't have been close. Dawkins is a one-dimensional quarterback who is elite as a runner, but below-average as a passer, but Washington allowed him to make plays with his arm at important times. The Huskies played a sloppy game with too many penalties and missed opportunities, but they still came away with a win in place they hadn't won since 2006. Does this game show Washington's flaws or is it the outlier? We'll know more come Friday.


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