Huskies Insider Blog

Tale of the tape: Stanford 20, Washington 13

OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME -- Not many standouts here, but Ty Montgomery did make a pretty impressive play to score Stanford's first touchdown (pictured above). His 62-yard kickoff return set up the Cardinal's first field goal, and he tallied 67 yards from scrimmage on four catches and three rushes.

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME -- This is tough. Stanford has a handful of candidates, and really, the Cardinal's defense was so good that someone like James Vaughters (nine tackles, two tackles for loss and a couple pretty big hits on Cyler Miles) or Peter Kalambayi (three sacks) probably deserves the nod. But UW linebacker Shaq Thompson was as important to the game as any Huskies player, for the obvious reason that he scored one of their two touchdowns to tie the game in the second quarter on a strip and fumble return. But, ultimately, we'll give it to Kalambayi, because his team won and he was a big part of a supremely disruptive Stanford pass rush.

PLAY OF THE GAME -- Chris Petersen's decision to run a fake punt on 4th-and-9 from UW's 47-yard line midway through the fourth quarter stands out as a pretty critical moment, particularly because it failed and led to the game's deciding score. It was an especially curious call because of how well Korey Durkee had been punting all game, and you had to figure with only 53 yards between him and the goal line, Durkee stood a pretty good chance of giving Stanford at least an 80-yard field to work with. And it seemed like the Huskies' defense played well enough to believe they could stop the Cardinal if Stanford got the ball back at, say, its own 15-yard line. Instead, Petersen gambled -- UW's offense was so bad he felt like he had to -- and it backfired.

STAT OF THE GAME -- Any stat that portrays Washington's offensive futility. But the Huskies' 2.6 yards-per-play average tells the story pretty well.

QUOTABLE -- "We’re going to practice a couple times and we’re going to certainly, as coaches, go back and analyze every piece of tape we can get our hands on and really try to simplify some things to get our offense more in a groove where it can latch onto something and have some success with certain things. And figure out how to make that quarterback successful.” -- Chris Petersen on how UW will spend its bye week

WHAT IT MEANS -- If you just look at the scoreboard, this doesn't feel like all that bad of a loss. Stanford won the last two Pac-12 championships and has one of the best defenses in the country. So, a 20-13 defeat, on its face, isn't the end of the world. But it's how incompetent the Huskies were offensively that is most alarming. There were questions going into this game about Miles' ability to throw the ball downfield, and about his decision-making in terms of knowing when to hang in the pocket and when to scramble. He did a lot of that against a Stanford defensive front that shredded UW's offensive line, shut down the Huskies' running game and forced a whole lot of bad throws. Stanford might be the best defense UW sees this season, but it won't be the only good one. There was no semblance of an intermediate or vertical passing game for the Huskies on Saturday, and that has to be considered a major concern. John Ross and Kasen Williams are two of the best players on the team, but if the Huskies can't figure out how to throw them the ball, those are two pretty big playmakers to let go to waste. We wrote before this game that Stanford was the first team on UW's schedule capable of bringing out the real Huskies. And if that's truly who they are, there is much to fix during the bye week.

UP NEXT -- Washington is idle next Saturday. The Huskies play at California on Oct. 11. The Golden Bears are 3-1 after outlasting Colorado, 59-56, in overtime on Saturday.

Christian Caple can be reached at christian.caple@thenewstribune.com. Twitter: @ChristianCaple

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