Washington coach Chris Petersen had plenty to say about Washington State and all that comes with The Apple Cup. He also discussed quite a bit about what happened in UW’s 33-30 thrilling win against Utah last Saturday at Husky Stadium.
The Huskies (9-2, 6-2 Pac-12) fell into a 30-23 hole with less than 11 minutes left. UW pieced together a lengthy drive which stalled when Jake Browning was stopped short on fourth-and-8 with a 6-yard run.
UW rallied to score 10 points in the game’s final two minutes which was capped when Tristan Vizcaino drilled a 38-yard field goal as time expired.
OT WAS NEVER THE FIRST CHOICE
UW’s final drive began on the Utes’ 21 with 29 seconds left.
Petersen called for a run which gave the initial impression the Huskies were playing for overtime. After the run, UW moved the ball down field on the strength of two Browning passes to set up Vizcaino’s game-winning kick.
“We’re thinking we were going to see what this run does,” Petersen said. “If we pop a run, we’re going right back on the ball and we were going to go. We didn’t really pop it and they called time out.
“And so, we said, let’s see if we can hit something here.”
Petersen said he understood why Utah called a timeout.
If the Huskies commit a turnover, it gives the Utes favorable field position and a chance at a game-winning field goal attempt.
The next play saw Browning throw an 18-yard pass to Dante Pettis. That set up another 31-yard strike to Andre Baccellia. It put UW on the Utah 21 with 17 seconds left and a chance at taking one more shot at the end zone before attempting a game-winning field goal.
“They’re thinking just like we are,” he said. “They’re thinking let’s get this ball back and if we get good field goal position, then we got a shot at a field goal.”
ON THE TARGETING CALL
UW’s comeback was mounted without the assistance of safety Jojo McIntosh. He was ejected early in the second quarter for targeting.
Because McIntosh was ejected in the first half, he missed the second half of the Utah game, which means he’s eligible to play Saturday against WSU.
At first glance, it appeared McIntosh made a legal but hard hit on Utah quarterback Tyler Huntley. Replays showed McIntosh launched from his feet and led with his helmet while going for the ball.
“He hit the ball, that’s where it went but I think everybody is really sensitive when your head goes down and your eyes are down and you’re leading in that way,” Petersen said. “So, I always kind of have a hard time with, we’re all trying to make sure this game is safe for our kids.”
Petersen said the rule is also in place for players like McIntosh who he described as having “no fear.”
A reporter mentioned how more players are taught as youths to lead with their helmets. Petersen said he and his staff are teaching players to not lead with their helmets so they can make a safe yet effective tackle.
“I think that’s what needs to change to not teach them at an early age to put the head on the ball,” Petersen said. “That’s not what we wanna teach. I do think that. Now exactly what the rule is ... it is what it is.”
VICTOR STILL SUSPENDED
Petersen said redshirt senior linebacker Azeem Victor is still indefinitely suspended leading up to Saturday’s 5 p.m. kick against the Cougars.
Victor has not played since recording a sack in UW’s 30-22 loss Nov. 10 at Stanford. Two days later, he was arrested for driving under the influence after a Washington State Patrol officer observed him going 76 miles per hour in a 60 mph zone.
The school announced last Wednesday that Petersen indefinitely suspended Victor, who did not play against Utah.
Ryan S. Clark: @ryan_s_clark