Originally posted on SeaTown Sports  |  Last updated 11/27/11


 Photo source: Sportspress Northwest

 

Poor, unfortunate Nolan Washington.

Remember this from 2010? Well, the sophomore corner from Seattle didn’t fare much better in his second Apple Cup.

First, this happened.

Then this, and ultimately this.

Then he tried to go low on the man with the 4A state record in the triple jump. Mistake. True freshman Kasen Williams gave Nolan Washington the Goomba treatment, embarrassing the Kennedy grad on a play that exemplified the Huskies’ 38-21 victory over their cross-state rival.

A big day from Williams, coupled with a season-high seven sacks from a fired-up defense, helped the Washington Huskies soundly defeat the rival Washington State Cougars to improve to 3-0 in the Steve Sarkisian era.

Saturday’s game never quite got out of hand. Early momentum, however, pointed straight toward a Husky blowout, as Washington State’s first two drives could not have gone much worse. Read more after the jump!


 

 After a miscalculated fair catch set the Cougars up at their own 21 (a backpedaling Leon Brooks failed to realize that he had at least 10 yards of greenery in front of him), center Matt Goetz somehow jumped offside before his first snap of the game. This was just as well for the Cougars because Goetz’s snap on first-and-15 went over Lobbestael’s head and the ensuing intentional grounding resulted in a 9-yard Princeton Fuimaono sack. Fuimaono then blew up an interior screen pass as the Cougars managed to lose yardage on second-and-24. A big gain on third down brought out the punt unit, which failed to block Husky linebacker Thomas Tutogi as he slashed through and casually reached across his body for a backhand block of Dan Wagner’s punt. Husky tailback Jesse Callier picked up the loose ball at the 2-yard line and walked into the end zone.

Washington State’s ensuing three-and-out lost 8 yards and a 34-yard Wagner punt gave the Huskies excellent field position. A bit of wind left the Husky sails when an unnecessary tripping penalty on injury replacement Nick Wood wiped out a 15-yard Keith Price-to-Jermaine Kearse pickup on third-and-10 in Cougar territory, but it returned on their next possession when a big Cougar personal foul and a 30-yard Callier run set up Price’s pretty 16-yard front-shoulder bullet that eked past Nolan Washington and into the arms of Kasen Williams.

The Cougars fumbled on their subsequent possession and only a rare hook of a 37-yard Erik Folk field goal attempt kept the Huskies’ first-quarter lead at 14-0.

Cougar quarterback Marshall Lobbestael caught fire in the second quarter, hitting on eight of nine passes as the Cougars gained 156 yards and erased the 14-point Washington lead.

But the Huskies stormed right back before halftime, going 61 yards on seven plays in just 1:35, culminating in Williams’ second score of the half.

The Dawgs never relinquished momentum after that. Price’s school-record 29th passing touchdown of the season found Chris Polk on a 22-yard wheel route and pushed the lead to 14. A big-play defense and several heaping spoonfuls of Polk preserved the lead.

The Huskies finish the regular season at 7-5 and now must await bowl placement next Sunday. Stanford and Oregon appear headed for BCS bowls, meaning the Huskies are most likely destined for the Alamo Bowl December 29 in San Antonio. The Alamo Bowl has first pick of non-BCS Pac-12 teams (likely either Washington or Utah) and second pick of non-BCS Big 12 teams (possibly Baylor, Kansas State or Texas).

If the Alamo Bowl chooses Utah or Oregon loses to UCLA in the conference championship game, the Huskies will either head back to the Holiday Bowl (vs. Big 12 No. 3/4) or travel to El Paso for the Sun Bowl (vs. ACC No. 4, likely Georgia Tech or Florida State). Bowl execs tend to shy away from repeats, so Sun may be more likely than Holiday.  

Notes and Observations

  • Josh Shirley, Alameda Ta’amu, Danny Shelton, Everrette Thompson and Andrew Hudson were arguably the most important players in Saturday’s win. Their constant backfield presence allowed the defense to rack up 12 tackles for loss, tied for the most by any Pac-12 team in a conference game this season. Shirley sliced and sped through blocks for 1.5 sacks and a forced fumble. Shelton moved to nose guard and ate space, freeing Ta’amu to dominate one-on-one matchups and rack up two sacks. Thompson recovered a fumble and Hudson added a sack and a half.
  • Fuimaono finished seemingly every tackle for the Dawgs, accumulating 9 stops, four of them for loss. At least three of his tackles for loss resulted from defensive line bull rushes, though a second-half strip of tailback Carl Winston was his alone. Fuimaono deftly scraped the ball away from Winston, but cornerback Quinton Richardson whiffed when he tried to scoop the loose ball instead of diving on it and the Cougars recovered.
  • The Washington State defense keyed on Polk all day and, with the exception of a 34-yard fourth-quarter scamper, contained him effectively. Polk finished with 100 yards on 22 carries, 2 receptions for 36 yards and 2 total touchdowns. He needs 205 yards in the bowl game to eclipse Napoleon Kaufman (4,106 career yards) as the Huskies all-time leading rusher.
  • Callier had an excellent all-around game, carrying four times for 44 yards, catching a pass, scoring on the blocked punt return and making a very nifty ankle tackle on a kickoff. He is running much harder since recovering from his hamstring injury; we saw a stiff-arm, a couple of spins and several broken tackles. A fifth carry went for 5 yards and a first down but was called back on a Senio Kelemete hold.
  • Price finally looked himself again, though he certainly was less than 100 percent healthy. He showed excellent pocket awareness and made several excellent throws. He finished 21-of-29 for 291 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. The redshirt sophomore’s decision making is about three levels higher than Jake Locker’s ever was.
  • A thumb cramp forced Price out for a series—Nick Montana replaced him and led a quick three-and-out. Price has now suffered injuries to both knees, both ankles, his right shoulder and his right thumb. Think he’ll welcome the month-long break before the bowl game?
  • Cougar secondary came out hitting. Casey Locker and Deone Buccanon each had a lick on 6-foot-7 tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Buccanon nailed Kearse after a big pickup. Seferian-Jenkins finished with 4 catches for 62 yards; Kearse had 5 for 62.
  • Wood had a tough day at left guard filling in for the injured Colin Tanigawa. Undersized Cougar tackle Brandon Rankin absolutely worked him several times, including a stunt fake that shook Wood so badly that he tried to chop to the wrong side and had to swing his legs out to trip Rankin. The play drew a 15-yard penalty and wiped out a big third-and-long conversion.
  • The Husky punt unit had one of its best games of the season. Kiel Rasp averaged 46 yards on his six punts and Will Mahan’s only punt was masterfully deflected at the goal line by Desmond Trufant and downed at the 3. The only blemish was a coverage breakdown that allowed Deone Buccanon to tip a Rasp punt; the tipped punt still went 34 yards, however.
  • Trufant and Sean Parker combined for a sweet interception on a trick play from the Cougars. Lobbestael gave a stretch handoff to Winston, who wheeled and threw back to his quarterback. Lobbestael then delivered a vertical strike to Marquess Wilson, but Trufant got up over him and tipped the pass to Parker, who caught it and took it back about 15 yards. Parker is a special player. Both he and Shirley impressed me with their desire today—each had a play in which they missed a tackle but kept their feet and composure in order to finish the play. Parker also had a nice read on a deep Lobbestael pass, traversing the field to bat it away. Safety Nate Fellner looked tentative for much of the game.
  • No action for Bishop Sankey or James Johnson today.
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