Washington Huskies Football: What We Learned from Week 1 Win over Aztecs
A win's a win's a win right?
The Washington Huskies (1-0) started their season off with a 21-12 victory against San Diego State (0-1) Saturday night.
The Huskies got off to a tremendous start defensively when San Diego State quarterback Ryan Katz's second pass of the game was intercepted by Husky cornerback Tre Watson, a former walk-on who just received a full scholarship this past week.
That turnover ended up in points for the Huskies as they ended the seven-play, 35-yard drive with a two-yard rushing touchdown by running back Bishop Sankey.
The newly revamped Husky defense played very well in the first quarter but kind of lost steam as the game progressed.
The next Husky possession ended with an eight-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Kasen Williams that capped off a nine-play, 62-yard drive putting the Huskies up 14-0 after the first quarter.
The second quarter started off badly for the Husky defense, which fell asleep at the wheel when Ryan Katz hurried his players to the line and found a wide open Tim Vizzi streaking down the sideline for a 41-yard score.
San Diego State head coach Rocky Long has been known for going for it on fourth down when his team has passed the midfield, so he decided to try and go for the two-point conversion, which failed after Katz was tackled before he could cross the goal line, leaving the score at 14-6.
The second quarter saw two Husky possessions suck up a bunch of time, but both ended in punts.
It was the Washington defense that ignited the Huskies next score when Talia Crichton, John Timu and Princeton Fuimaono knocked the ball out of San Diego State wide receiver Colin Lockett's hands. The ball was then swooped up by Husky safety Will Shamburger, who returned the fumble 44 yards, setting up a TD that stretched the Huskies lead to 21-6 early in the third quarter.
The Aztecs scored early in the fourth quarter on a one-yard touchdown run on fourth down by running back Adam Muema. The Aztecs again failed on a two-point conversion try when Husky safety Justin Glenn deflected a Katz' pass in the end zone.
The Huskies squeezed out a somewhat ugly victory, as they went on to run out the clock, punting on both of their fourth-quarter possessions.
Now what have we learned after this win?
The defense came into the game with tremendous energy, and it showed with three takeaways, two fumble recoveries and an interception. The D also put pretty good pressure on Katz in the first quarter but seemed to peter out as the game went on. Four different Huskies recorded sacks in the game, which was a good thing to see in the new-look defense.
But the Huskies also missed a bunch of tackles on Katz, who ran for 77 yards on 16 carries.
On offense, Washington quarterback Keith Price was very accurate for most of the game, especially in the first half. He ended the night 25-for-35 for 222 yards and one touchdown.
With his legs fully healed from last season, Price showed elusiveness on some runs, as he ran six times for 17 yards. Price would of had a better stat line if it weren't for an offensive pass interference call on wide receiver Kasen Williams late in the second quarter, which took points off the board for the Huskies.
As expected, Price's favorite targets were Williams and tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins. The two combined for 15 receptions for 157 yards. No other Husky receiver caught more than two passes in the game.
The injury bug struck again in the season opener as three Husky starters were sidelined during the game. Running back Jesse Callier left early in the first quarter after landing awkwardly on his knee. He was sidelined the rest of the game and was wearing a giant brace on his right knee.
Then starting right tackle Ben Riva went down with a broken forearm in the second half. Finally, senior cornerback and team captain Desmond Trufant left with an apparent hamstring injury in the third quarter.
Washington's injuries hit the team at positions where depth was already a question mark. True freshman Erich Wilson II had to step in for the injured Callier and Bishop Sankey got his most carries as a Husky as a he ran 22 times for 66 yards with a touchdown. On the offensive line, redshirt sophomore Mike Criste took over for the injured Riva and had several missed blocks in the game.
Will the Huskies beat LSU?
The special teams was very disappointing.
New junior kicker Travis Coons missed a 47-yard field goal wide left late in the third quarter. He was also disappointing on kickoffs, as none of them reached the five-yard line—let alone the end zone. And with teams now kicking off from the 40 this year, you'd think he could at least kick it to the goal line.
True freshman punter Korey Durkee had an up-and-down night. He punted five times for an average of 37.2 yards per punt. He will have to improve upon that average as the season progresses or the Huskies might be in trouble defensively.
The Huskies next week travel to Baton Rouge to play in probably the most difficult stadium in college football as they take on Les Miles and LSU.
It will take a heck of an effort in all three phases of the game in order for Washington to compete against the formidable Tigers.
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