So where do we stand?
Lets talk about UW first so we can clear the decks and analyze SC.
They came to play pure and simple. They were not intimidated by SC and hung in there the whole game. Stanback played a great game and even after getting a hip pointer stayed in the game and kept UW in it till the end. Except for the lack of communication on the last drive he really moved the ball for them today. The TD that put UW within 3 points was an absolute bullet.
They will be a tough team to play as the season goes on. The way the were hanging with us today they will do much better in the Pac 10 than they were expected to do. Willingham can coach no question. The opening onside kick was a perfect call followed up by a great reverse.
Now on to USC
That was a very uncomfortable feeling watching that 4th qtr. The Huskies came to play. They gave the Trojans fits by holding them on defense and always finding a way to make a play.
The Running Game- Moody and Washington really came to life today. They both had some great runs. Washington had a killer run for 60 yards that was called back on a block-in-the-back penalty. Moody really has some moves and has really separated himself from the pack as far as the freshman go. Washington is showing why the Trojans were so high on him. He made some great runs for some first downs that kept some drives alive.
There was not enough of this...
Photo: Alex Gallardo- LAT
Patrick Turner- He really stepped up today and made some great catches. I am still a little uncomfortable with the way he runs after he catches the ball, his cut backs sometimes takes him behind his forward progress. He had 12 catches for 116 yards and 1 TD. He will be the man next week against AZ St.
John David Booty- JDB went 23 for 40 and 1 INT. He made some great throws but had a few dropped passes and a couple that could have been INT's. He had one deflected into Fred Davis' hands in the end zone but he was unable to hold on. Booty also had a couple of other potential TD passes dropped or batted away near the goal line. The one that hurt the most was the pass that Smith caught for a TD that was called back on a penalty. It was a perfect strike. Over all it was a productive day but not spectacular.
The Offensive Line- Booty had time to throw for a good part of the game. He was pressured a few times but no sacks.
Special teams- As usual, Danelo was there when we needed him with 4 field goals. VanBlarcom continues to boom his kickoff's. The returns were productive and there were no fumbled kicks. The fake field goal was perfectly executed and saved another stalled drive.
The Defense- They held them when they had to but they had some scary moments. The blocked punt was fantastic. More below.
...and a little too much of this
Photo: Alex Gallardo- LAT
Lack of a pass rush- The defensive front again did not have any sacks but they did get pressure on Stanback but because of his speed he was able to either run the ball or throw the ball for a completion. Because of a lack of penetration it made it difficult to convert turnovers with all the bad snaps that UW had and we all know that turnovers are game changing.
The Secondary- I felt at times that they gave the UW receivers a little too much cushion that turned into catches for long gains and first downs. They did break up some plays but giving the UW receivers that much room was a little concerning.
Dwayne Jarrett- This is in no way a shot at DJ but it was ignorant to think that he would be ready to play tonight. Going out of the game to have his shoulder iced down shows me that he was not ready to play and that he should have sat out the game in order to avoid re-injuring his shoulder. Someone on the coaching staff should have cautioned against it. As it turned out we won without him, albeit closer than we would have liked but we will REALLY need him in the final stretch so why not sit now in order to avoid further injury.
Penalties- While it was better than last weeks performance we had a couple of costly penalties that turned big plays into stalled drives. I realize that this is a young team but we really need to pay better attention to detail and keep focused. The one late hit penalty on the defense after Stanback started his slide was a joke.
No Turnovers recovered- See lack of pass rush.
We still have some work to but things are starting to come together. The running game is coming together with both Washington and Moody really stepping up. The O line is doing a good job of protecting Booty and will only get better if they stay healthy. Booty had another good game and made some great passes and didn't get rattled when he was under pressure. The pass to Smith, though called back was perfect as was the TD catch by Turner.
The defense bent but didn't break. They had a couple of drives where it looked like they gave the UW receivers too much room. When Stanback did get free they did break up a number of plays and stopped some runs. Special Teams really bailed us out with a fake FG and a blocked punt. The receiver situation is a big concern with Smith having a possible Achilles injury so Turner now has more prominence in the offense.
So it was a win but there are some questions that need to be addressed. UW came to play and gave us all we could handle. Lets see what the coaches say about the win next week.
Zach over at U Dub Dish and I will have a little post game wrap in the next day or so. It should be fun