Huskies Come Back to Beat the Bruins

Richard BowlerSenior Analyst ISeptember 26, 2006

The University of Washington Huskies prevailed against the UCLA Bruins to open the PAC Ten season. The Huskies recovered from a dismal first half and out scored the Bruins 29 to 3 in the final thirty one minutes. The Bruins dominated the beginning of the game, rushing out to a sixteen point lead, but UCLA did not capitalize on their opportunities and ended up kicking field goals when they should have scored touchdowns. The Bruins had a chance to put the Huskies away early, and simply did not get the job done.

The UCLA Bruins looked unstoppable for the first twenty five minutes on offense, defense and special teams. The Bruin's defense was flying around everywhere, stifling the Husky offense that could not get anything going. The Husky rushing attack was the best in the PAC Ten coming into the game, but UCLA stuffed the running lanes and kept that potent running game in the backfield for most of the first half. The turning point in the game was when the Bruin's defense had the Huskies pinned on the six yard line in a third and long situation, and Husky QB Isaiah Stanback completed an eighteen yard pass to wide receiver Quentin Daniels for a first down. That play opened up the flood gates and the Huskies marched ninety plus yards to score a touchdown. The Bruins stopped putting pressure on Stanback, giving him time to throw the ball vertically. On offense the inability to put the ball in the end zone really hurt the Bruins. The Bruins seemed to be clicking, both running and passing the ball until they got into the red zone where the offense seemed to stall. Then in the second half the Bruins began to turn the ball over and got out of the rhythm they had established during the beginning of the game.

The Washington Huskies looked dead in the water in the first half. They had trouble getting positive yardage and they were routinely going three and out and giving the Bruins good field position. The defense gave up a lot of yards and first downs, but they seemed to tighten up in the red zone. In the second half the Husky defense stepped up the pressure and caused UCLA QB Ben Olsen to rush his throws. The Huskies capitalized by causing key turnovers. The game was iced by an interception returned for a touchdown by Husky defensive back Dan Howell. On offense, the Huskies showed a better than expected vertical passing game. Receiver Sonny Shackelford had a monster game, catching seven balls for over a hundred yards and two touchdowns. Quarterback Isaiah Stanback managed the offense well and spread the ball around to different targets. The Husky running game for the second week in a row was unimpressive, and the offense was forced to rely on the passing attack. The Huskies showed that they have an offense that will take what they are given and put points on the board.

This win should propel the University of Washington on their quest for respectability and will give them a chance to play in a bowl game. This win will be big for a team trying to rebuild, and should give them momentum going into next weeks' clash with Arizona. For the UCLA Bruins, this defeat will derail the team's momentum, and they will have to regroup quickly or run the risk of digging themselves a huge hole in the race for the conference title.