Washington Huskies Football 2011: What We Learned in Week 7

Brandon StewartContributor IIOctober 23, 2011

Washington running back Chris Polk ran for 144 yards on 15 carries and reached the end zone twice against Stanford on October 22, 2011
Washington running back Chris Polk ran for 144 yards on 15 carries and reached the end zone twice against Stanford on October 22, 2011Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The defense is an absolute joke.

Stanford (7-0, 4-0) ran a clinic over the Washington Huskies (5-2, 3-1). Amassing 615 yards of offense; 446 of which came via the run, as they cruised to an easy victory 65-21.

Even against a player like Andrew Luck, the defense did not come ready to play 60 minutes of football.

The Huskies had a chance to turn the tide of the game early when cornerback Desmond Trufant dropped a catchable interception in the end zone. That was Luck's only mistake on the day where he overthrew tight end Zach Ertz, and the Huskies corner could not capitalize. Granted it was a tough catch, but the fact that nobody was within ten yards of him makes it that much harder to watch.

The strength of the Huskies defense, if any, was the ability to stop the run coming in to this game.

That was not the case in this game however, as Stanford running backs Stepfan Taylor, Tyler Wilkerson and Anthony Wilkerson had their way with the Huskies defense. Combined they ran for 348 yards, made four trips to the end zone and averaged over 10.5 yards per carry. When a defense is giving up first downs on every run, its hard to stay in the game.

Fans like myself did not expect to stop Andrew Luck, we just hoped to at least contain him and give our offense a shot to score points and force a shootout.

And after two brilliant runs by running back Chris Polk, the fans were getting what they wanted, at least for a little bit.

Polk busted out for runs of 46 and 61 yards on his way to the end zone and the Huskies were right with Stanford 14-17 early in the second quarter.

But after the first play of Stanford's next drive, the rout was underway.

Stepfan Taylor went 70 yards untouched on his way to the end zone and the Cardinal were back up by 10 and never looked back.

The Cardinal had five straight drives that ended with points, putting them up 48-14 at the end of the third quarter.

Quarterback Keith Price was on his back most of the game and threw an interception that was taken back to the end zone 62 yards by safety Michael Thomas. That was Price's fifth interception on the year and his second that was taken back for points. The other was against Hawaii in Week 2 which was taken back 98 yards.

Price did throw one touchdown pass to tight end Evan Hudson early in the fourth quarter, but it didn't matter as the Cardinal outscored the Huskies 27-7 in the second half.

Perhaps the most shocking stat of the game, or perhaps the non-stats by senior defensive tackle Alameda Ta'amu. He failed to get himself in the stat book, no tackles or assists. When one of your leaders on the defensive side isn't getting in on plays, at least one, you have some huge problems. 

Now what have we learned after this painful loss?

The defense is laughable. The keys coming in to the game were to contain Luck and bounce back from big plays. After Stanford's first play that covered 45 yards on a double reverse run by wide receiver Chris Owusu, the defense did not come prepared and were in for a long, long day.

The defense allowed the most points since 2001, when Miami dominated the Huskies 65-7 in Miami.

Defensive coordinator Nick Holt has just glued himself to the hot seat after that atrocious defensive effort. 

This game was a definite wake up call for the Huskies and it seems like the program has taken two huge steps back.

Next week's game at home against Arizona should not be titled a guaranteed win by any means. Arizona trounced UCLA 48-12 last Thursday and quarterback Nick Foles seemed back to his usual self after throwing for 291 yards and three scores.

The upside for the Huskies is that Arizona will be without four players on the defensive side, including starting cornerback Shaquille Richardson. The rest ironically, are also defensive backs. Keith Price could be drooling at the mouth when his receivers line up against second and third team defensive backs.

This weeks game is definitely winnable for the Huskies based on their talent on offense. But they cannot look over the Wildcats, or any team for that matter, going in to the future.

Offensive X-Factor: quarterback Keith Price.  Price needs a comeback game after a poor performance against Stanford, and this game could prove to be a big one (statistically) for him.

Defensive X-Factor: Anyone on the defensive line; after getting man-handled by Stanford, this group needs to come out with a fire under them. Foles has been sacked 14 times this year, which ranks third in the Pac-12. The defensive line will definitely have their chances to get to Foles as he is averaging 45.7 attempts per game this season.