1. C-Dub in the House: Curtis Williams was in the press box during the game and talked to the press prior to kickoff accompanied with his brother. It was the first game he'd been able to attend a game since he came to the Huskies' Rose Bowl victory over Purdue on January 1. He was all smiles, looked very well, and had a message to Husky fans: "Thank you for all the support." It was awesome to see Curtis today, he looks well and it was very much the highlight of the trip to sit with him.
2. First-time sackers: Welcome Tui Alailefaleula and Josh Miller. Each of the freshman got their first sacks of their careers today. In an effort to extend the lead with the Bruins up 28-6 midway through the third quarter, UCLA went for it on fourth-and-goal from the two. Alailefaleula didn't think it was a good call, and came up with a sack on Bruin quarterback Cory Paus for a loss of 11. Husky ball! Miller notched his sack in the second quarter for a five-yard loss, and was greeted with a chest-butt from the leader of the defensive line, Larry Tripplett, as he came off the sidelines.
3. Tough as Nails: Despite battling injuries and temperatures in the low 90's, Omare Lowe and Taylor Barton both fought through adversity to play well. After being visibly shaken up on the sidelines at several different times in the game, Lowe still managed to blanket his receivers and pull off a fake punt for a Husky first down. Barton, in his first start, had to run for his life all day trying to elude the aggressive Bruin defenders. On seemingly every pass attempt, he stood bravely in the pocket and got belted immediately after releasing the ball. He paid the price and had a noticeable limp by game's end.
4. Hands O'Plenty: The one area on the field today where the Huskies didn't look completely overmatched was at receiver, where Reggie Williams, Paul Arnold, Todd Elstrom, and Wilbur Hooks all caught the ball well. Unfortunately, it was out of necessity as the Huskies found themselves down 21-0 before the first quarter had expired and had to air it out in attempt to close the gap. Barton had to hurry a lot of his throws, finishing 22-44 on the day, but his receivers came up with some big-time catches. Elstrom had six receptions for 112 yards and a touchdown to lead Washington. Arnold pulled down six receptions for 74 yards, and Williams notched four catches for 61 yards.
5. When It Counts: On two separate occasions, the Husky coaching staff made calls on fourth down that resulted in big plays. The first came in the final minute of the first half, with Washington down 0-21. Needing three yards for a first down, Barton dropped back to pass, pump-faked, and perfectly lobbed a pass into the hands of Todd Elstrom for a 39-yard touchdown. The play sent the Huskies to the halftime with momentum in their favor. The second well-timed call came in the third quarter after another Husky drive had stalled at the UW 40 yard line. Derek McLaughlin went back to punt, but Omare Lowe took the ball on a fake and scampered all the way down to the UCLA 36 before getting creamed out of bounds.
6. Rose Bowl Mystique: It would have been hard to ask for a better setting for today's matchup. The game-time temperature reached 93 degrees, the field was in perfect shape, and the 70,377 fans in attendance were rocking the joint.
1. Foster, Australian for Unstoppable: Any time an opposing tailback rushes the ball 31 times for an average of 9.7 yards-per-carry, it isn't a good sign if you're the Huskies. We'll do the math for you, it adds up to 305 yards. DeShaun Foster single-handedly broke down the Husky defense with an incredible ability to run over would-be tacklers for big yardage. Coming into the game, the Washington defense hadn't allowed a rushing touchdown all season, yet today the senior tailback managed to run for four himself. The Huskies had no answers, giving up rushing scores of 5, 21, 1, and 92 yards to the bruising back. Foster shattered the Washington opponent single-game record for rushing of 243 set by Charles White.
2. Laundry on the Field: Washington hurt themselves all day with costly penalty calls. In all, they were penalized seven times for 60 yards, and that gave the Bruins the opportunity to run away early. A late-hit call, a pass interference, and a tripping penalty early on extended two Bruin drives and stalled one for the Huskies. In the second half, the yellow flag came up to bite Washington again. With UCLA at the Husky 1 yard line and on the verge of going up 28-6, the Huskies recovered a fumble and looked like they had regained possession, but it got called back on an illegal substitution penalty. On the next play, Foster rumbled into the endzone to give UCLA a 22-point advantage.
3. Wrapping Up: Husky tackling left much to be desired all game long. On each of Foster's first two touchdown carries, he had to barrel over Husky players en route to the endzone – and did. It wasn't a pretty sight. In the Bruins' first offensive play of the second half, Foster went off tackle around the left side of the line and shook cornerback Chris Massey's grasp to get all the way to the UW 1 yard line for a 64 yard gain. The Huskies knew coming in that they'd need to contain Foster to have a chance to win, and quite simply said, they didn't.
4. O-Line Woes: After putting together their finest performance of the season last week against USC, the Husky offensive line took a big step backwards today. The young linemen were dominated by the experienced front seven of UCLA in every facet of the game, the biggest concern being their inability to open any holes for the runningbacks to run through. It was ugly from the kickoff until the clock struck 0:00. The box score says it all. Rich Alexis finished the game with 7 carries for –18 yards. Willie Hurst faired no better, 10 carries for 20 yards. Had it not been for the 24-yard run by Omare Lowe on a fake punt, the Huskies would have had –8 yards on the ground for the day. That won't get it done.
5. Backed Up: Field position killed Washington virtually the whole game. Much of that is due to the fabulous punting of UCLA punter Nate Fikse, who finished the averaging 47.2 yards on his six punts. Pinned back in their own end of the field, the Huskies were forced to run a conservative offense while a loud Bruin crowd made their presence felt. That was a recipe for disaster. Once, it resulted in a blocked punt for a touchdown, but more frequently than not it ended with Husky punter Derek McLaughlin heading back on the field to punt the ball away.
NOTES FROM THE PRESS BOX
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