Sunday, November 18, 2007

Dawg Day Afternoon

Washington finally played like Washington for the first time in five years with a dominant win over California in Husky Stadium yesterday. The Huskies marched up and down the field the entire game on the ground putting together one of the better days in Washington history running the ball. This wasn't one of those days when the QB scrambles for 150 yards trying to save his life. This was a day when Washington dominated the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball.

This was a true Dawg Day Afternoon. This was a throwback to the days of old when the Huskies used to physically beat up their opponents on Saturdays. This was the Husky football we all know and love.

This will also be marked as the day the program finally turned the corner.

UW had every reason to pack it in after letting a couple slip away against Arizona, and Oregon State. The coaches and players had their backs against the wall. The teams star Jake Locker was going to have to sit the game out, and nobody was giving this Husky team much of a chance to win against explosive California. you have to hand it to the coaches for keeping these kids together under a lot of pressure, scrutiny, and adversity.

This actually reminds me of 1989 when the Huskies lost to Arizona State in Husky Stadium to ASU 34-32. The Huskies were 5-4 at that low point. That team responded by blowing Oregon State out the next week. They followed with an Apple Cup win over WSU. Finally the season was capped off by beating Florida and Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith in the Freedom bowl to cap the season. The rest of the story is the young nucleus of that team went on one of the greatest runs in Husky history culminating with a national championship.

The Huskies are getting better, and they beat one of the better teams in the Pac Ten with a power running game that lacked perhaps the best player who will ever button up a chin strap in the purple and gold. Beat California without Jake Locker? Beat California with Jake Locker? It was as an impressive victory as we have seen this decade.

So what now?

Even though these Huskies won't go bowling they have a very good chance of winning the next two games against WSU, and Hawaii. Finish the season by winning three in a row and the team will build a lot of momentum towards bringing in a great class during the crucial December recruiting period.

Only last week it looked like UW was going to lose some of that coveted in state class, but one week means a lot when you are talking about 17 year olds. Win three in a row, and they can visualize themselves playing behind a rapidly improving offensive line with Jake Locker calling the signals for perhaps the next three years. They can visualize coming in as freshmen in 2008 and making a difference.

Only last week Oregon was on track to win the national championship and have the Northwest's second Heisman Trophy winner. This week it is doubtful they will win their two last remaining games. Kearse, Ta'amu, Bruns, and Middleton are going to get a good look at Oregon's future without Dennis Dixon, and Jonathan Stewart. It won't be pretty.

California, and Oregon are Washington's main competition in recruiting on the West Coast. With a decisive win over California yesterday, and a rapid fall for Oregon, Washington is in a position to make up some serious ground over the next few weeks.

For Willingham it wasn't the signature victory the program has been lacking. Lets face it, California was beat up coming into this game. Their heads were certainly not in the right place from the moment they hit the field and bungled the coin flip. Still it was a powerful win over an opponent that is better than us on paper.

Ty needs to beat WSU next week to come back next season, and I am pretty sure he and his team are going to do it. Knock Hawaii out of a BCS Bowl the following week, and he just might have the opportunity to retire at Washington.

This team is getting better, and next year if they can fill some holes on the defensive line they are going to be pretty damn good.

What a difference a week makes.


t9odawg said...

I feel a lot better about our chances in the Apple Cup after yesterdays game.

The biggest surprise to me yesterday was the way the Dawgs beat up on Cal, it was a major mauling.

The Hawaii game will be a huge test for the D.

Cal used those 7 and 8 yard passes all day but the turn overs killed them.

I think June Jones will have Baer spinning in circles by half time trying to figure out what's going on

John Berkowitz said...

Hawaii is a WAC team which means any Pac Ten team should be able to grind them down physically. Big difference between the Pac Ten and the WAC. Hawaii while good wouldn't be bowl bound if they played a Pac Ten schedule this year. UW will be the best team they have played all year by quite a margin.

prrbrr said...

JohnB, it was as you said, a return to the old classic huskies. Cal has quit, they will need an attitude adjustment to beat Stanford. The practice I attended on Thurs they ran a lot of plays, but didn't need to use them Lappano said the basic run was working so well he just called it over and over.
I really thought I was watching the huskies this past two years while seeing Cal. Mental errors, ball bouncing the wrong way, poor tackling, etc.
WScU got creamed, I wished Brink would have saved that performance for us, maybe he will have another in his bag.
I actually hope Boise beats UH before us, not because i don't want us to be the ones, but for my own safety. Did you read the Fresno St fans account of what happened to them all at Aloha stadium, with no police presence. I dread being there if UH is still undefeated, and worse yet when we knock them off. With the night game the drunks andd hoodlums should be in fine force.

prrbrr said...

Sorry John, but I did want to mention this and forgot in the glow of the victory. Near end of the first half after the reversal by replay. 2 timeouts left, we complete to Russo who goes out of bounds, stopping clock. Cant decide on play with clock stopped so have to use TO for 25 sec clock. Carl then scrambles on pass but gets caught so have to use last TO. Reeses TD ends discussion, but we could easily have blown even getting 3 points since we had no way to get FG team on field after a normal lineup. Game day management again, Not only drives me nuts but my wifee too.

t9odawg said...

Maybe the UH fans were returning the favor to Fresno fans. I've heard Frenso fans can be hard on visitors as well.

I'll find out soon enough how we're treated over there. First the Apple Cup, then I'll worry about Hawaii.

John Berkowitz said...

I am actually going to the UH game, a surprise B-day present from my wife. She also bought a bunch of Husky gear for the game...I told her it might not be wise to wear it till we are seated because the Warriors have a pretty tough crowd.

Greg O'Byrne said...

I have an interesting aside.

At the start of the season the Husky's schedule was thought to be one of, if not THE toughest in the nation. If you go take a look at Sagarin's rankings at the end of this week you see that with all the games that have been played this year their schedule is turning out to be the toughest.

And fairly amazing that at 4-7 the computers still spit UW out at the 44th best team in the nation.

Not sure how much to make out of it, but to say it was going to be a brutal season from the start to the finish.

dadcojohn said...

Prrbrr, I thought the same thing about the out of bounds play but was wrong about what happened. In college if your forward momentum is stopped and then you go out of bounds you are still in. The ref initially signaled for the clock to run and then stopped it for the first down. Once the chains move the clock was to begin again. They had to call a time out.

John B, I think much progress has been made. I am very excited about next year but still feel a DC change is in order. Great strides though have been made with recruiting ( many young guys are standing out) and the offense looks good for the future. Plus you have a guy who is the best thing ever too happen to the dawgs. What an inspiration Jake is.

prrbrr said...

Dadcojohn, thanks for that explanation on clock. BTW, I just got back from Eastn Wash BBall game, that was ugly and another story. What I did find curious was Ty escorted a large kid and his family to court around halftime, everybody was happy and slapping each other. Will have to ask fetters if he knows who the kid was.

topdawg said...

A very strong old school Husky victory!

I think Ty saved his job...Turner I think is already a dead man walking.