Nov. 6, 2004
By Jesse Hulsing
Despite a 23-13 loss to Arizona, Washington's defense once again had a strong game. Leading the Huskies was No. 27 Evan Benjamin, who recorded a team-high 12 tackles. Included in his tackle count was a key sack in the first quarter which forced the Wildcats to punt after driving to the Husky 30-yard line.
"I was excited that the coach made that call, and that they didn't get a block on me," said Benjamin. "But it was wide open, and I knew that I needed to make up for the misses I had last week against Oregon, so I made sure that I got the tackle.
On the drive following that play the Huskies drove deep into Arizona territory and scored on a rush by tailback Shelton Sampson.
Through the rest of the first half the Husky defense held the Wildcats to the nine points, which they had scored in the first four minutes. Benjamin, who always seemed to be at the right place at the right time, led the Huskies with seven first half tackles.
In the third quarter as Arizona approached Washington's red zone, Benjamin came up big again. With a powerful hit, he knocked the ball loose from Arizona tailback Mike Bell's grasp. Joe Lobendahn fell on the ball for a Husky recovery.
"I thought that was a big play in the game, it helped us gain some momentum," said Benjamin. "We knew where they were trying to go, and we had a lot of guys who helped out on that play. I just locked on the ball and fortunately it was knocked out."
Overall, Benjamin thought the Washington defense played well.
"I thought we played really well, except for that flea-flicker that caught us off guard. Besides that I thought we played good, we made some nice plays. It was a tough game, but overall I thought the defense played well."
Washington head coach Keith Gilbertson agreed. "We played well enough to win the game on defense. I think we did some nice things on special teams, got some kicks and some return yards. Offensively, we are just stuck in neutral."