Washington Huskies' Bowl Hopes Nearly Disintegrated in Loss to Oregon
After a pathetic effort on Saturday against Oregon, it's clear the Washington Huskies will have a very tough time making it to a bowl game this year.
Currently with three wins, Washington will need win three of their last four to be bowl-eligible. With the way the defense played and the offense made mistakes in the red-zone, this is going to be a difficult task.
It was evident early and often that Oregon's offense was far better than Washington's defense. Oregon running back LaMichael James shut the Dawgs down, while quarterback Jeremiah Masoli ran for two touchdowns, throwing for another.
It's going to take virtually the polar opposite of the Washington team we've seen for the past two weeks to show up next Saturday against UCLA if the Huskies want a shot at a bowl bid.
The regression of this team versus Arizona State, Oregon, and even Arizona (barring an improbable finish) almost leads to the conclusion that the Husky team we saw against USC was a fluke.
The defense has primarily been the issue throughout the season, but it now seems that Washington needs more production from their offense as well.
In Jake Locker's time in the Tyrone Willingham era, he was a mobile quarterback—to say the least. New coach Steve Sarkisian has shied away from this quite a bit.
There were numerous times in the Oregon game where I badly wanted Locker to tuck that ball and take off. Perhaps if this approach had been taken in the red zone and on the goal line, Washington's two interceptions and inability to convert on 4th-and-2 would have resulted in some points.
A bright spot in the offense against Oregon was running back Chris Polk, who went for 108 yards and a touchdown. Polk's efforts will be needed, along with a bit more running from Locker if Washington wants to win three more games.
Washington has played poorly in the third quarter of nearly every game this year. This trend continued against Oregon, as the Huskies allowed 21 unanswered points. Arizona put up 17 points at Husky Stadium this year.
Bowl teams don't have statistics like this.
The past month of Husky football is a not-so-friendly reminder that the futility of 2008 was only a year ago. This was supposed to be a rebuilding year for Washington, and for them to be in the bowl bid discussion alone is a good thing.
All hope is not lost yet for the Huskies, but it's awful close.
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