One Rotten Apple: Huskies Coug it in the Palouse

A lot went wrong today. The Huskies came into Pullman riding a high after exiting the brutal part of their schedule and beating Oregon State, California, Utah, and Colorado. But they’d struggled on the road at times, including an ugly first half in a win against Colorado, and an ugly 60 minutes against California.

This team has struggles on the road. I don’t know why. They’re almost as bad as the basketball team in that regard. I mean, all teams are worse on the road, but this Huskies team may have the greatest gap between their home and road performance of any team I’ve ever seen.

The Huskies lost to the Cougars 31-28. What a terrible day. Like any rivalry game, many of us Dawg fans have a lot of atoning to do come Monday. We’ve made bets officially. We’ve wagered our ability to take shit from our coworkers, or in many cases our family members. My sister went to Washington State University, and we were bickering like toddlers over text message all game. Now I’m going to have to hear her and her pirate kitten brethren talking shit for another year. What a terrible day.

Keith Price has made some bad decisions this year. That may be evidence by his reduced production alone, though I certainly think there is something to be said for his offensive line being obliterated by injuries early in the season. However, there may have been no worse decision than the pass he threw on the first play of overtime, with a Washington State defender wrapped around his legs, making a desperate attempt to get the ball out into the flat.

That ball ended up in the hands of Kalafitoni Pole, who returned the ball down to near the goal line. Cody Bruns made a game-saving tackle when it looked like Bishop Sankey had given up on the play, and because of overtime rules the Cougars had to take the ball on their 35 yard line. It was a terrible pass, but hardly the first bad decision, or failed execution by the Huskies in this game.

In fact, on the drive that allowed the Cougars to tie the game John Timu missed a tailor-made interception. Jeff Tuel made an awful pass to Gino Simone, and it flew right through Timu’s hands. He just missed. That’s it. He did everything perfectly on the play but execute at the end.

The story of this game will be the Cougars amazing comeback, but between Travis Coons missed field goal at the end of regulation for the win, and the 17 penalties the Huskies incurred, it’s hard to say that the Cougars won this game, but rather the Huskies lost it. The Huskies Couged it.

Sure some of those penalties were probably marginal at best. At one point I even accused the referee of having crimson-colored lady’s underwear on. But much of the Huskies woes were self-imparted. They took Mike Leach’s stupid fucking pirate sword and cut themselves off at the knees.

Desmond Trufant made some crucial penalties, but like he has all season he played physical man defense. He’s my MVP for this team, this season. He made penalties today. He didn’t have his best game, but this game doesn’t fall on Trufant at all.

The Huskies need to figure out a way to move the ball. They took a minor step forward this year, and a bowl game may help that step, but they’ve got to be better offensively. With targets like Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Kasen Williams the Huskies should be dominating opposing secondaries, not running a series of smoke screens and shallow outs.

The Huskies didn’t earn a first down in the fourth quarter until the final drive that led to the Coons miss. They’ve had stretches like that all season, and that can’t happen if they’re going to be successful in an improving conference.

Keith Price was fantastic in 2012, but I said this earlier in the year, and I stand by it: the Huskies need an open competition at quarterback next year. An open competition led to Price pulling the job from what seemed like a lock for Nick Montana. An open competition is what is best for the Huskies. I want Keith Price to be successful, but my main interest is in the Huskies success.

I’d still rather be a Huskies fan and preparing for a bowl game, but this was a terrible day.