OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME – It’s hard to say a running back should be “player of the game” when he only carries 12 times for 60 yards. It’s also hard to say a running back who scores four touchdowns shouldn’t be considered for player of the game. And when a receiver catches eight passes for 147 yards, that deserves attention, too. But winning always helps a player’s cause, so Myles Jack, whose four red-zone touchdown rushes helped UCLA maintain a healthy lead for most of the game, gets the slight nod over UW receiver Damore’ea Stringfellow.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME — Eric Kendricks had a strong game for UCLA, recording nine tackles, including a sack. UW’s Danny Shelton also had a big game, making 10 tackles (including one for loss). Hau’oli Kikaha got another sack. Anthony Barr had seven tackles and a sack for UCLA. Call it a multi-way tie.
PLAY OF THE GAME — The Huskies drove into the red zone with under two minutes remaining in the first half, with a chance to score a touchdown and cut UCLA’s lead to 27-21. Instead, UW settled for a field goal, as Keith Price threw incomplete on third down. But that play was significant for another reason — Price took a big hit, one that helped knock him out of the game with a shoulder injury.
STAT OF THE GAME — 14. The number of points by which the Huskies fell behind in the game’s first six minutes. The teams ran the same number of plays. UW had 26 more yards. The difference was turnovers, and the Huskies’ first two led to two easy touchdowns for UCLA.
QUOTABLE — “It’s frustrating. We can’t turn the ball over twice on the first two possessions of the game. I don’t think I’ve ever even seen anything like that. It was crazy. But we overcame it. We narrowed the lead to 10 points in the first half. It was just unfortunate. I thought we were getting in a good rhythm passing the ball. I thought we thew the ball very well in the first half.” — UW quarterback Keith Price
WHAT IT MEANS — All that talk about “the next step” again rings hollow. It is still mathematically possible for the Huskies to improve upon their run of 7-6 seasons, but it will require a victory in a difficult setting next week at Oregon State and a win over Washington State in the Apple Cup. And then who knows what the bowl game will hold? Depending upon who the Huskies play in that game, their most difficult matchups may be behind them. If that’s the case, UW finishes the season with an 0-4 record against teams that are currently ranked, and that’s not the mark of a team that’s ready to take the next step, regardless of what the final record reads. This might have been the Huskies’ last chance to prove they can beat a team perceived as being among the nation’s best. And again, they failed.
UP NEXT — A 7:30 p.m. game at Oregon State on Saturday, Nov. 23.
Christian Caple can be reached at email@example.com. Twitter: @ChristianCaple