Washington Chris Petersen was direct during his Monday press conference while talking about his team’s 30-22 loss to Stanford last Friday at Stanford Stadium.
UW (8-2, 5-2 Pac-12) was able to score early but Stanford was able to keep the Huskies’ offense in check for most of the game. The Huskies’ defense found it hard to get off the field which led to the Cardinal finishing 10 for 18 on third down.
Petersen looked back at what went down against Stanford while looking ahead to the 7:30 p.m. Saturday kick against Utah at Husky Stadium.
AFTER FURTHER REVIEW
Petersen said he was happy with his team’s effort against Stanford but then admitted to being a “bad loser.”
“That’s a flaw that I have. I am always like, even when we win, I can’t wait to get a hold of the tape, to figure out what went wrong,” Petersen said. “When you lose, you always think you didn’t play hard enough or our energy was not right. Those kids play hard and my hat’s off to them.”
After the game, Petersen said Stanford did a better job executing its scheme than UW did with its plan. He stuck to that Monday. Petersen would later say Stanford’s approach is to limit teams when it comes to chunk plays and overall offensive series. He said Stanford kept UW to a season-low 10 drives with three of them ending on a three-and-out. Stanford, on the other hand, finished 11 drives and only one three-and-out.
Petersen continually credited Stanford for how it won and praised Cardinal star junior running back Bryce Love.
Love tore through UW for 30 carries, 166 yards and three touchdowns.
“First of all, I think you’re talking about an All-American, Heisman Trophy candidate,” Petersen said. “Everybody throws that stuff around lightly. That dude is for real just like the guy last year (former Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey) that probably should have won the Heisman.”
MOVING THE CHAINS
The focus eventually shifted to the Utes. Petersen said Utah was the second-toughest game UW had last season with the first being its loss to Alabama in the College Football Playoff.
UW came away with a 31-24 win last season at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City.
Although Utah (5-5) has struggled at times, the Utes have reason for optimism as it relates to sophomore quarterback Tyler Huntley. A former Gatorade Player of the Year in Florida, the former South Florida prep star has thrown for 1,953 yards and 13 touchdowns. Huntley has also ran for 432 yards and three touchdowns.
“I don’t think we’ve seen a quarterback like this,” Petersen said. “You talk about creating plays, this guy, can create plays. That’s the scary thing. You cover good, do all your stuff and he can still get some things done. Probably got if not the best, one of the best receivers in the conference.”
Utah senior receiver Darren Carrington II has 58 catches for 830 yards and six touchdowns on the year.
Carrington is a big piece but he’s not the only weapon in the arsenal.
Huntley has a familiarity with running back Zach Moss and receiver Demari Simpkins. All three were teammates at Hallandale High (Fla.) just south of Fort Lauderdale.
“I think the longer you are with your guys and that always kinda helps,” Petersen said. “Might even be more than playing, it has to do with chemistry and those types of things.”
THE RED ZONE
The last few weeks have seen Petersen receive an increase in questions related to either the CFP or where the Huskies see themselves by season’s end.
Losing to Stanford means UW needs California to beat its Bay Area rival Saturday. Then, it means the Huskies would need to win its remaining two games to reach the Pac-12 Conference Championship Game.
“Yeah, I didn’t even know that,” Petersen said. “So, here’s my thing. I know this is never going to make sense to you guys. Had we won this game, everybody’s got us outside and not even in the talk of any sort of big-time postseason, tournament type stuff.
“If we win that game, we’re back in that talk. I know that.”
Since the CFP started, there’s never been a two-loss team to reach the semifinal. Although many pundits believe a two-loss Auburn could be the first should it be able to end the year with wins over Alabama, Georgia and capture the Southeastern Conference Championship.
Petersen did not advocate or suggest anything further about his team’s CFP chances.
He did say because there’s still two weeks left, there’s a chance the landscape could change between now and the end of the month.
“It doesn’t matter what happens. We have no say over that. All we can control is playing as hard as we can,” Petersen said. “Let’s play this week. Let’s get to the following week and if we could beat these two, really tough games, I know this, we can feel really good about ourselves if we get that done.
“These are going to be tough challenges. Then we look up and say, ‘now what?’ But for us to sit here and worry, that has nothing to do with the mindset we have around here.”
Ryan S. Clark: @ryan_s_clark