Washington Huskies Football 2011: What We Learned in Week 3
After the first play of the game, The Huskies defense was going to be in for a long day.
Quarterback Taylor Martinez connected on a 50-yard pass to wide receiver Kenny Bell which set up the first of many Nebraska touchdowns.
Washington came out of the gates quick and matched Nebraska with a quick touchdown drive which ended on a 38-yard reception by wide receiver Jermaine Kearse.
Nebraska then matched every move Washington made throughout the half and went ahead in the game 20-17 with a 35-yard field goal by Brett Maher.
It all went downhill for Huskies after the half.
Nebraska's defense came out ready to play and forced a three-and-out, and Huskies were forced to punt. Nebraska's luck was only getting started, after a 58-yard touchdown drive ending with a Rex Burkhead touchdown, the ensuing kickoff would only make matters worse for the Huskies.
Freshman running back Bishop Sankey lined up in the end zone alongside wide receiver Kevin Smith and muffed the kick, then kicked it out of the end zone and tried to fall on the ball but lost possession, and Nebraska fell on it at the 1-yard line. And just like that, Nebraska was up 34-17, and Keith Price's trademark smile was exchanged for a look of pure disappointment.
Nebraska then forced yet another three-and-out on the Huskies and drove down the field and ended the drive with a 29-yard field goal by Brett Maher. Nebraska led 37-14 going into the fourth quarter.
Nebraska drove yet again on the Huskies defense, and freshman running back Aaron Green took his opportunity to the end zone on a six-yard run.
All while this rout was happening, Huskies quarterback Keith Price kept on smiling on the sidelines.
After a 64-yard kick return by wide receiver Kevin Smith, the Huskies found themselves on Nebraska's 32-yard line. Five plays later, running back Chris Polk found the end zone, and the Huskies showed a spec of life dropping Nebraska's lead from 27 to 20.
The Huskies defense then forced their own three-and-out, and the Huskies offense was back on the field and ready to drive. After two long rushes by Polk, Price connected for another touchdown with wide receiver James Johnson. The Huskies erased Nebraska's big lead into a manageable one only being down 13.
However, Nebraska marched down the field for yet another touchdown—this one a six-yard naked bootleg by Martinez and put their lead back up to 20.
The next play for the Huskies offense needed to be great, and it was. Price threw a 40-yard bullet right on the money to James Johnson, and Johnson broke consecutive tackles and ran 12 yards into the end zone.
The Huskies defense finally showed some life after stopping Nebraska on fourth down. The next drive would end up being anything but good as a already banged up Price threw an interception and the game was over.
Now, what have we learned about the Huskies from this game.
The defensive line underperformed yet again. They could get no push on a line that started two walk-ons and a true freshman. Two top seniors on defense greatly underperformed all throughout the game. Most notably was senior defensive tackle Alameda Ta'amu.
Ta'amu was battling one-on-one on all of his matchups and was being pushed back most of the game. Second is cornerback Quinton Richardson. From the first play of the game where he was flat out burnt and gave up a big play, to when he let Aaron Green waltz into the end zone instead of laying a lick on him and denying the score.
Do the Huskies beat California?
Aside from the subpar defensive effort, things are looking up offensively.
Polk proves week in and week out that he is a problem for opposing defenses. Keith Price, if healthy, is becoming a above-average quarterback. At this rate, he will end the season with over 35 touchdown passes. And with the kind of targets he has to throw to, that doesn't seem too out of range.
Next up for the Huskies is the Golden Bears of California who just blew out Presbyterian 62-12 and didn't allow an offensive touchdown all day. However, they had a punt blocked and a pass intercepted and returned for a touchdown. California won't be easy, but I see the Huskies coming out on top at home.
This week's X-Factor—wide receiver Kasen Williams.
Williams had two catches for 24 yards including an impressive sideline catch that showed what kind of jumping ability he possesses.
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