The UW Coug'd it. Who knew? You had to guess that this Apple Cup rivalry would end in fireworks, but maybe not with a dust-up at the fifty yard line after the gun had sounded. Coach Ty Willingham said he was "very disappointed, to the point of being embarrassed by the aftermath of that football game." and he went on by saying "There should be no place in this program, and no place in college football for that." The details are fuzzy, much like a cougar's fur, but apparently there was a ruckus over some fancy footwork going on at the big "W" after the game, but it wasn't done by Dawgs, as they lose today 26-22, on the final drive of the game, which went 8 plays, for 80 yards with 1:20 to go.
After the press conference, I overheard Willingham say he was ready to "sleep away the pain" of today's loss. It wasn't the Huskies finest hour, but they hung tough in-spite of giving up big yards to the super talent from the Palouse, Jerome Harrison. In order to win, they had to contain the run, but gave up 283. Harrison did not practice much this last week due to a bad ankle, but still chewed up 207 yards, and scored once on the day. It was his 14th straight 100-yard game in a row. Alex Brink, the poised junior QB, ran for 45 yards, but did a number on the secondary, threading the needle to the tune of 283 yard, and 2 touchdowns. He spread the ball around to six receivers, and the final pass of the day went to Trandon Harvey, his only catch on the day - for 30 yards and the winning score.
WSU coach Bill Doba was ecstatic afterwards, "Our kids hung in there and finally got that thing turned around. We moved the ball and we missed some field goals, but he made some too..."
Loren Langley missed three field goals in the game. His 48-yard field goal late in the first half gave WSU a 13-7 lead, which is how the first half ended. Doba also said "I'm sorry about what happened in the middle. I don't know who started it, it doesn't matter. Our kids are out there on that "W" and they shouldn't do that.That will never happen again, I can promise you that.It was unfortunate that had to happen"
Sonny Shackelford had a productive day with four catches and 121 yards, and caught a 65-yard pass from unlikely thrower Kenny James. This was Kenny's second career pass completion, in two attempts. The passing game deserves mixed reviews, Isaiah Stanback didn't really look like he was in control of the game, due in part to the fierce pass rush, but also Isaiah's habit of throwing to receivers who are not open continued, as did Chambers and Russo dropping passes that were very catchable. Isaiah did some running, but in predictable situations. He called his own number a few times, but broken plays caused most of his scampering. Stanback was 12-26, 163 yards.
James Sims gained 53 yards on 13 carries, and didn't get it going until the second half, but had to leave the game in the fourth quarter, and the Huskies ground game was done for he day. They made some adjustments, and moved the ball better, but overall, didn't get the job done. "It's on us," said Anthony Russo, "They (the coaching staff) make the calls, and we didn't execute, so it's on us. We're getting better, we're gelling more as a team, but I haven't been on this close a team-as a unit before, so there's good things to come, but we need to execute - finish. We still have work to do."
Greyson Gunheim led the Dawgs with 3 tackles for loss, but Evan Benjamin led the team with total tackles with 14, and 2 for loss.
Looking ahead to next year, coach Tim Lappano said the team would get back to work after the Thanksgiving break, and detailed a few of the needs the program has to fill in terms of the recruiting process.
"The recruiting phase keeps going. We need to get some help offensively in a couple areas, we need someone who can stretch the coverage at receiver, we need someone who can run fast, we'll be looking for that. We have a need for another tight end and probably another offensive lineman or two, so we'll get busy recruiting - the winter program starts with weight training and all that kind of stuff, they probably get a week or two off then you're right back to it trying to get this thing going the right way, in the right direction."
It's going to be a big job for the men of Montlake in 2006. There will be a lot going on behind the scenes between now and the next real kick off, and I for one am disappointed this season has come to an end. Husky Digest will be digging into the recruiting phase now too, as the "winter" season kicks off - and the wheel goes round, and round again. It has been a thrilling ride, dear readers. Hold on on though, there's much more to come.