What did we learn Saturday night?
That Stanford is a tough customer and Portland State is exactly what the Huskies hoped for when scheduling their “C” level non-conference game.
The Cardinal battered and rattled USC quarterback Matt Barkley during its 21-14 win over the Trojans on Saturday. Stanford comes into to town Sept. 27 for a nationally televised game against the Huskies.
But, back to Week 3. Each game, we’ll run through the units to look at the good, bad and intriguing. So, here goes from Saturday’s 52-13 beatdown of Portland State:
Keith Price was rightly called efficient by coach Steve Sarkisian. Price may want his opening pass to Kasen Williams back, but, beyond that, was crisp on a night he went 14 for 19 for 181 yards. It was interesting to see the Huskies open with a play-action pass, such an important facet of Sarkisian’s offense, though not surprising considering Washington likes to take deep shots from midfield, and the ball was at the PSU 46. The lack of a running game has nullified most of the play-action options for Washington. Exemplifying the point, Williams said postgame teams are just sitting on the pass game.
Which brings us to the backs. Despite 209 net yards rushing, Washington proved little about its ground game against Portland State. All three backs — Bishop Sankey, Erich Wilson II and Dezden Petty — had opportunities to turn five- or six-yard runs into 20-yard gains and often failed to do so. They need to get better as Washington heads into the harrowing portion of its schedule.
> Leading up to the game, Sarkisian said he thought Price and the receivers were a hair off with their timing. That wasn’t the case on a well-timed throw down the seam for DiAndre Campbell’s first career touchdown.
“The safety carried our inside seam, they were in two-high look, Dre ended up crossing … and he made a great play for me,” Price said.
That’s the kind of precision Washington expects from Price and his receivers. We saw a lot of it last season with the older guys. Not as much yet this year.
They held onto a 52-0 lead. Let’s keep the ticker tape in storage.
There were things to like: Two stuffs on fourth downs in the first quarter helped keep Portland State from ever getting started. Marcus Peters had a pick-six. And, Shaq Thompson.
Thompson had a voluminous night. He led Washington in tackles with seven and blocked the field goal that led to Tre Watson’s touchdown. With his dreadlocks hanging out of his helmet, “Predator” is a nickname starting to be attached to Thompson. That’s just what Washington wants him to be.
> Danny Shelton left in the first half because of what KJR-950 reported as a foot injury. Sarkisian said postgame the starting nose tackle will be “OK” and did not specify what the injury was. Shelton will be vital against Stanford, which just ran it down Washington’s throat last year.
> Justin Glenn joined Peters with an interception of his own.
“We set our goal to get three turnovers,” middle linebacker John Timu said.
They forced two.
Again, it’s difficult to quantify just how good Washington was here. Anthony Gobern had a nice day covering kickoffs — he had plenty of practice — and the Huskies blocked two kicks: an extra point and a 33-yard field goal attempt.
> The fake punt completed between kicker Travis Coons and safety Sean Parker on fourth and four was clever and effective. Couple things to note about that:
— It’s unlikely Coons and punter Korey Durkee grew up worshipping Lou “The Toe” Groza, though he’s a kicker of renown. Groza wore 46, but mostly when he was a tackle. The Browns retired his 76, which he wore during his kicking days. So, the fact Coons and Durkee are both draped in “46” and Coons was wearing high white socks, which cover an otherwise very noticeable tattoo on his leg which makes him easily distinguishable from Durkee, indicates a hope for deception. Coons is 6-2, 205. Durkee, from Gig Harbor, is 6-4, 222. We can’t ask either about the play because they are “newcomers,” which means they don’t talk to the media. There are just a lot of coincidences there.
But, we did ask Parker, who said he worked on the play “a lot” last week after practice with Coons. The duo stayed extra to work out the timing, which Parker said was good all week. Parker said he played just about everything at Narbonne High School in Los Angeles, including some receiver.
“I feel like I’m a natural,” Parker deadpanned.
> Marvin Hall, who was a bit of a surprise as a kick returner, almost broke one down the sidelines.