Dawg Pack Perspective – Stanford

Like many other Husky games this one started off well. Two players in particular were stepping up and making plays in the first half. The only problem was that they were the guys that also ended up getting hurt. On offense David Freeman was able to rush for 63 yards on seven carries in just under two quarters.

On defense Donald Butler was able to rack up five tackles and force a fumble before he was taken out of the action.

Butler started showing what he is truly capable of doing. He was finding the ball and making plays; he wasn't lost. With his improved play the other team was finally starting to feel a little bit of the Huskies' force. Butler was able to knock the Cardinal starting running back Toby Gerhart out of the game. His play was cut short though by a concussion, leaving husky fans to wait at least one more week to find out if the true Donald Butler has emerged.

David Freeman, on the other hand, is a virtual unknown to everyone outside of his hometown of Inglewood, Calif. He wasn't the most sought-after recruit, but he has talent. Against Stanford, he was quick, shifty, and creative. He was doing everything right - blocking, finding the hole and playing older than a true freshman. He was making a name for himself. But an ankle injured slowed him down, leaving Brandon Johnson and Willie Griffin to replace him. As with Butler, Freeman's true capabilities will also be put on hold until he can play a full game, hopefully this coming week against Arizona.

Injuries aside, the Cardinal offense was playing head and shoulders above Washington's. Stanford quarterback Tavita Pritchard completed 16 of 24 passes for 222 yards and three touchdowns. His average per pass was 9.3 yards with a 66 percent completion percentage. The Huskies averaged 6.3 yards per pass and only completed half of their throws.

The difference between the two offenses? Time. And I'm not talking about possession. The Cardinal defense was able to constantly pressure Jake Locker and Ronnie Fouch, managing a couple of sacks along the way. The Husky defense again pulled a goose egg in the sack department, putting minimal pressure on the Stanford offense.

"That game was won upfront in the trenches," Pritchard said after the game. "The offensive line played tremendously. They gave me time back there and opened up the running game."

Proof of that came when Gerhart, Stanford's leading running back, was sidelined. His backup, Anthony Kimble, picked up the slack and scored two touchdowns, the second one covering 83 yards.

With the lack of disruption in the opponents' backfields, teams have been able to get comfortable and execute their offenses with ease, averaging 510 yards of total offense per game against Washington. That puts the Huskies 118 out of 119 Division-1 teams. By contrast, Washington's next opponent – Arizona – is currently ranked No. 2 at 222 yards per game.

"Getting the quarterback comfortable and smooth in the pocket, we were able to do that thanks to the line tonight, we played very physical and the receivers got open," said Cardinal head coach Jim Harbaugh when asked about the offensive keys to victory. With the offense clicking and the UW defense playing like well, their usual selves, Stanford was able to gain 466 yards.

Washington had two weeks to prepare for this game. TWO WEEKS. It was in their home stadium too! Yes, there were some unexpected injuries, but that is why teams have backups. "Things were clicking tonight, we had a great week of practice and that's where it starts. That was the biggest thing, winning this game started last Sunday," said Kimble. Gerhart's backup rushed for 157 yards, on top of his two touchdowns. He came in and picked up right where Gerhart left off.

Winning this game should have started two Sundays ago for the Huskies.

The lack of preparation was grueling to watch. The clock management was awful; timeout after timeout was burned for no apparent reason. When the Huskies got to the Cardinal one-yard line on a Devin Aguilar catch in the fourth quarter, spiking the ball would have been a great thing to do. Instead the offense decided to huddle, and as the saying goes - tick, tick, tick. Valuable seconds disappeared into the night.

Washington was able to score on that last drive, but couldn't recover the onside kick. Normally that wouldn't have been a problem, as most teams would have had their timeouts in hand. Two would have been okay, three would have been ideal. But zero? How many times can a team with two weeks of preparation need to call timeout because of confusion?

It was unbearable. As Washington Offensive Coordinator Tim Lappano said Saturday night, it's a distaster. Husky fans deserve better.

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