Top 3 Takeaways From Week 12
The Washington Huskies survived Corvallis and the Oregon State Beavers with a 22-20 victory to improve to 11-0.
What did we learn about Washington on Saturday?
Washington’s Defense Saved the Day
Facing a torrential downpour, chilly temperatures, and an offense capable of possessing the ball for large chunks of time on each possession, the Washington Huskies’ defense had to step up and lock up a victory. While this unit is still not one that would be called a strength, the UW defense was good enough on Saturday night and played a significant part in keeping the Huskies unbeaten. Defensive back Jabbar Muhammad was the standout, with two interceptions and several pass breakups. He was playing with contagious confidence, and Washington survived despite an anemic second-half offensive showing and thanks to a late stop by the defense while the Beavers were driving to win the game.
Michael Penix Has to Be Better
The weather was terrible, and the opponent was formidable, but those are excuses. The reality is that for Washington to win the PAC-12 and have a shot in the College Football Playoff semifinals, Michael Penix Jr. must play better. The offense started great, marching the ball down the field with explosive plays on the first drive, and Penix capped off the drive with a beautiful touchdown pass to Rome Odunze. The Heisman Trophy contender then had a streak of ten straight incompletions and ended up just 13 for 28 for 162 yards. The offensive line protected Penix well and did not surrender any sacks against the Beavers (who averaged more than three per game). Still, he could not find a connection with anyone other than Odunze. For Washington to beat Oregon, they will need a much better performance from Penix Jr.
Time of Possession Concerns
The game plan for the Oregon State Beavers was simple and predictable. Keep the ball on the ground, churn out long possessions that maintain possession, and keep the Washington offense on the sideline. It didn’t work in the first half but was on full display in the final 30 minutes and nearly resulted in a Beaver win. In the second half, Oregon State had drives that lasted 16 plays and 9:56, ten plays and 4:42, and 11 plays and 5:47. Oregon State executed the plan nearly flawlessly. It was “nearly flawlessly” because they could not finish two of those drives with points. The Beavers do not have enough difference-makers at receiver, and quarterback DJ Uiagalelei was less than stellar, completing only 15 of 31 passes with two interceptions. The blueprint was good, and teams like Oregon, Michigan, Georgia, or Ohio State could hand Washington a loss if the Huskies fail to make adjustments.
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