Oct. 29, 2012
|WASHINGTON at CALIFORNIA
Friday, Nov. 2 | 6 pm | Memorial Stadium
Gameday Central | TV: ESPN2 | Radio: KJR (Affiliates)
Oct. 29, 2012
SEATTLE - The Huskies did it again. They toppled a top-10 team for the second time in five weeks.
Saturday was the first time they've beaten two in the Associated Press top 10 in the same season since UW won a national championship in 1991.
Yet by now, it's what fourth-year coach Steve Sarkisian expects.
"You immerse yourself in this thing to the point of you just want success for your players and your kids because they work so hard. And then when they achieve it, when they get it, I won't let them breathe a sigh of relief, because that's not OK," Sarkisian said Monday, two days after Washington (4-4, 2-3 Pac-12) followed last month's win over eighth-ranked Stanford by beating previously undefeated, No. 7 Oregon State 20-17.
"The expectation level is to go win that ball game," Sarkisian said of the season-reviving win. "Now, we have to recreate that. And you can't recreate that if you are basking in the glory of one win. You have to move on."
The Dawgs already did that Sunday with a team meeting and night practice. Their usual "24-hour rule," win or lose, was more like 18 this time. That's because their next game is on Friday, at California (3-6, 2-4).
The ESPN2-arranged 6 p.m. national telecast will be the first time since 1944 that UW has kicked off twice in fewer than seven days.
The shortest Huskies week in 68 years is following what felt like their longest ones in eons. That was the result of the blowout loss at Arizona extending Washington's now-gone losing streak to three.
"That was a long week," Sarkisian said. "It had been a long month.
"This is what we do. This is our lives. I don't know anything different. It's unfortunate, I love watching our other sports and I had to ask (UW volleyball coach) Jim McLaughlin five minutes ago how they did last week ... so you get immersed in this."
What the coaches and players are specifically immersed in this short week: righting a still-inconsistent offense; and playing with more discipline.
The Huskies ended Oregon State's best start to a season in 105 years because they intercepted eventually replaced Sean Mannion four times while committing only one turnover themselves. UW was minus-7 in turnover margin during its three-game skid.
The Dawgs did not beat the Beavers because of its offense. Washington was out-gained 427-293, converted just two of 12 third-down attempts and punted seven times.
After Marcus Peters intercepted Mannion's final pass of the night in Beaver territory with the game tied at 10 midway through the fourth quarter, Keith Price made the game's two biggest completions. He lofted a ball Kasen Williams seized with a leap on the sideline for 29 yards to the 1 to set up Bishop Sankey's second score. Then after Oregon State retied the game at 17, Price again gave Williams a jump-ball, back-shoulder throw on the sidelines. Williams snared that one while absorbing a big hit to covert a third-and-7 play from midfield. That set up Travis Coons' winning field goal with 80 seconds left.
Yet the continued lack of dependable pass protection forced Price into more one-step throws and bubble screens rather than Sarkisian's preferred, down-field throws. He threw for just 194 yards, lowering the Huskies' pass-offense average to 196.1 yards per game. That's 11th-best in the Pac-12, ahead of only Utah.
"It's all on us. It's on us," Sarkisian said. "We just -- granted we have played some pretty good teams -- but our inconsistency is just glaring to me."
The coach included his own play calling in that lack of consistency.
"I know that we are better than the way we have been playing," he said. "I'm waiting for the game to come where we put it all together and play consistently disciplined and executing plays down after down after down because when we do we'll be pretty good. ... There will come a game when we'll hit the stride and we'll get rolling, and we'll close out the season.
"I just hope that that game starts this week, and not later."
The other thing Sarkisian wants to see start this week: The end of penalties, especially personal fouls.
Washington would have been leading 17-10 earlier Saturday on an interception return by John Timu - except Danny Shelton needlessly leveled a Beaver that was standing still 10 yards behind and out of the play during Timu's return.
That was one of three 15-yard penalties on the Huskies. A personal foul by Talia Crichton during Peters' interception return pushed a drive start from the Beavers 15 to the 30. UW also had a running-into-the-kicker penalty, holding calls, illegal motions, defensive holding - all kinds of stuff among the 14 flags it got. Oregon State accepted eight of those.
Sarkisian called that "an amazing amount of penalty flags." The Huskies average 7.5 penalties accepted against them per game, sixth in the conference.
"The discipline in which we played was a little disappointing and something that has already been addressed and will be addressed," Sarkisian said. "That's getting addressed already."
So apparently he's addressing that.
Then there's a theme likely to be replayed from now through Friday's 6 p.m. kickoff - and until Washington wins away from Seattle. The Huskies are 4-1 at home. But they have lost all three of their road games -- at then-No. 3 LSU, at then-No. 2 Oregon and at Arizona - which is now in the top 25 of the Bowl Championship Series rankings - by a combined 145-41. It's been seven trips since the Huskies last won on the road, Oct. 1, 2011, at Utah.
Asked if he's going to change any of the road-trip routine for this Cal game, Sarkisian said without elaborating, "We've got a few things."
The coach said he wants his Huskies to "embrace" its recent history away from home, not shy away from it.
"It's a challenge for us if you look at our history on the road and what we've (done) - more so what we've not been able to get done -- on the road," he said "(It is) really what's being addressed in our approach, our focus."
INSIDE THE DAWGS: Sarkisian doesn't think the rare short week will be a factor. "It's not going to affect us too much because it's a night game there Friday night." UW will practice as usual Tuesday and Wednesday mornings, then have a lighter-than-normal Thursday practice before the flight to the Bay Area. The team will do its normal Friday walkthrough practice Friday morning in Berkeley. "So we should be OK," Sarkisian said. ... The early forecast for game night at the newly remodeled Memorial Stadium in Berkeley: temperatures in the upper 50s, only a 10-percent chance of rain.