Huskies Insider Blog

Tale of the tape: Washington 38, Colorado 23

FROM BOULDER -- A little late, but here it is nonetheless, our postgame tale of the tape from Washington's 38-23 victory over Colorado earlier today.

OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME -- Pretty much has to be Shaq Thompson, who for a second consecutive game played only running back. And he played it well, carrying 15 times for 174 yards and a touchdown, while also catching two passes for a total of 41 yards (and all of that came on one play). Thompson had runs of 56, 39 and 24 yards, plus the 41-yard catch and run that set up UW's touchdown in the final minute of the first half. He was exactly what the Huskies needed with Lavon Coleman and Dwayne Washington apparently still banged up.

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME -- Travis Feeney had a big pick-six, intercepting a Sefo Liufau pass and returning it 30 yards for a touchdown. Freshman cornerback Sidney Jones led the Huskies with 12 tackles, all solo, though UW would obviously prefer that its leading tackler not be a defensive back. Andrew Hudson had six tackles, all solo, including two tackles for loss, a sack and a fumble recovery.

PLAY OF THE GAME -- Feeney's was pretty big, but Dante Pettis' 87-yard punt return for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter really felt like the score that put the game out of reach for Colorado. And it was UW's first punt-return touchdown since 2003.

STAT OF THE GAME -- The Huskies averaged 7.5 yards per play, and Cyler Miles averaged 10.8 yards per pass attempt. Those numbers are both well above UW's season averages.

QUOTABLE -- “He’s a ballplayer. Y’all know that. Everybody knows that. Shaq’s gonna do his thing no matter where you put him at. I’m glad to have him on my side.” -- UW quarterback Cyler Miles on Shaq Thompson

WHAT IT MEANS -- First and foremost, it means offensive and defensive coaches are likely fighting over Thompson, who says he's still a linebacker at heart but is OK with helping out the offense if they need it. And the Huskies needed it on Saturday. When the year started, the thought of Thompson at running back was presented more as a once-in-a-while luxury, because Coleman, Washington, Jesse Callier and Deontae Cooper were thought to be a pretty formidable stable in the backfield. But with Callier's career ended by an Achilles injury, and Washington and Cooper still apparently too injured to play, the Huskies seemingly need Thompson's talents at running back more than they do at linebacker. Thompson said after Saturday's game that he wanted to sub in at linebacker in the first half when the Huskies were missing tackles all over the place, but after spending the last two weeks practicing with the running backs, defense wasn't really an option. So we know he isn't going to be a two-way player. And after what Thompson did with the ball in his hands on Saturday, it would be hard to imagine the Huskies taking him out of the offensive gameplan with UCLA coming to town ... but on the other hand, you probably want your top linebacker on the field against an offense led by Brett Hundley. That quandary continues. As for the game itself, improving to 6-3 and winning on the road was good and everything, but Colorado isn't a team the Huskies should lose to. So outside of Thompson's performance, the continuing emergence of Pettis, and a fairly consistent passing game from Miles, there probably aren't a whole lot of big-picture takeaways from this one.

UP NEXT -- UCLA at Washington, 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 8 at Husky Stadium (FOX Sports 1)

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

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