Sept. 19, 2009
If you didn't have a good time at last Saturday's game vs. Idaho, you either weren't here, or you were rooting for the Vandals.
For one, it was as nice a day as you could ask for on a Saturday afternoon in Seattle. After a light layer of haze over Lake Washington lifted prior to kickoff, it was a glorious, sunny, summer afternoon in one of the nation's most scenic football settings.
Secondly, the Huskies put on an offensive display the likes of which haven't been seen in some time.
Most importantly, and most notably, the Huskies won, beating Idaho 42-23. From a Husky standpoint, and looking forward, we can all be glad to say that the Dawgs are on a one-game win "streak."
Washington put on a terrific display offensively. The Huskies scored a touchdown on each of their first five possessions, something that hasn't been done by a UW team in at least 15 years.
After a solid showing the previous week vs. LSU, the Dawgs' third-down offense was spectacular as they converted 11 of 14 third-down attempts. On one of those three missed conversions, Washington went for it on fourth down and made it.
The Huskies didn't need to punt until late in the third quarter (and when they did, new punter Will Mahan continued to show off his powerful leg). Washington spread the ball around as five different UW players scored a touchdown and nine different players caught a pass from Jake Locker (17-for-25, 253 yards, no interceptions and three passing TDs), who was efficient, accurate and clutch.
The offense didn't turn over the ball and, even when the Huskies did fumble on a kickoff return, the Husky defense got the ball back three plays later on a long interception return from linebacker Mason Foster.
And finally, the Dawgs were great in the red zone, an area in which Coach Steve Sarkisian said they fell short in the opener vs. LSU. The Huskies scored touchdowns all five times they ventured within their opponents' 20-yard line.
During his time as offensive coordinator at USC, critics sometimes wondered about whether Sarkisian was simply the benefactor of superior athletes. Meanwhile, his offenses regularly scored 30, 40 and 50 points and were always among the nation's best, statistically.
Now, through only two games with Washington, it seems more and more clear that Sarkisian is a superior offensive coach and play-caller. The evidence is plain for all to see.
HERE COMES USC
When Sarkisian was named Washington's head coach last December, a lot of folks ran to their copy of the 2009 schedule to see when the Huskies were slated to face USC in the coming season. Today's the day.
Prior to moving north to Seattle, Sarkisian had been a coach for nine seasons, and seven of those nine were spent at USC, working with Pete Carroll.
In his seven seasons, Sarkisian helped the Trojans to the Pac-10 title six times. Working his way from offensive assistant to quarterbacks coach, then offensive coordinator and eventually assistant head coach, Sarkisian was a key cog in the Trojans' recent dominance.
So today, Sarkisian and the other staff members who came with him from Los Angeles, will do their best to treat the game like any other, but will see a lot of familiar faces on the other sideline.
The "teacher vs. pupil" angle is a common one in college football. It happens all the time. But, this is the first time in many years that a Husky head coach has faced an opposing coach under whom he previously worked, so it's a special day for that alone.
Welcome to Husky Stadium! Here's hoping that this Saturday afternoon is as enjoyable as the last one.