Huskies Pull Out Opening Day Win
In a game where the offense sputtered in the second half, the defense stepped up to lock down a 21-12 win on opening day at CenturyLink Field.
It was a game of ups and downs, but the Washington Huskies are 1-0.
Let’s break it down with Love ‘em and Hate ‘em.
It wins games, and the new-look defense under former Tennessee coordinator Justin Wilcox made big stops on the way to containing a surprisingly potent San Diego State offense.
A pick by Central Washington University transfer Tre Watson on the Aztecs very first drive set the tone for the night. Four turnovers and three sacks kept SDSU from ever really taking off.
The play of the night on defense was a 44 yard fumble recovery touchdown by junior safety Will Shamburger. It’s still early, but the year’s defense already looks leaps better than last year’s unit.
6 catches, 75 yards, and a touchdown don’t really sum up how good Kasen Williams is. Great size, elite athleticism, and soft hands combine to make the local product likely one of Price’s favorite targets this year.
With freshman Jaydon Mickens and Kendyl Taylor starting in a receiving core that was depleted by the losses of stud seniors Jermaine Kearse and Devin Aguilar, Williams will be the first option to stretch the field.
He looked more than ready Saturday night, even on a night when Keith Price was hit and miss.
With Husky Stadium under construction, UW kicked off their season in CenturyLink (formerly Qwest) field, home of the Seattle Seahawks and Sounders. The change of scenery didn’t seem to quiet a rowdy home crowd any.
It was good to see the sea of supportive purple that is such an advantage in home games.
Junior tailback Jessie Callier went down and didn’t get up in the first quarter.
He left the game, and will receive an MRI sometime in the next few days. Replacing the gamebreaking presence of Chris Polk was never going to be easy, but the Huskies had hoped to split carries between Callier and sophomore Bishop Sankey.
Sankey racked up 66 yards on 22 carries with a touchdown, but also fumbled the ball for a turnover on the San Diego State eight yard line late in the game. Tackle Ben Riva and cornerback Desmond Trufant also left the game and did not return, with a fractured arm and strained hamstring, respectively.
Their status is up in the air.
Injuries are the killer of many a good team. The Huskies need to stay healthy.
The Trick Play
Aztec quarterback Ryan Katz connected with wide receiver Tim Vizzi on the first play of the second quarter for a touchdown, in a trick play that caught the Huskies sleeping.
The Aztecs snuck Vizzi onto the field, Sark tried and failed to call a time out in time to alert the team, and Katz made the easy pass to a wide-open Vizzi for a touchdown.
Trick plays aren’t incredibly common, but it was just another reminder that even with an improved defense, the Huskies can’t get lazy.
Keith Price Getting Banged Up
Part of Keith Price’s mediocre second half (although a great first half put him at 25 for 35 overall, 222 yards, 1 TD) was the beating he was taking. He was sacked three times, and took a number of other hard hits.
That’s not a good sign in a preseason game.
With starting right tackle Ben Riva in question, the line will need to protect Price.
He simply cannot continue to take that level of physical pounding, especially with the murderous defense of LSU looming next week.
San Diego State ultimately played a very respectable game, but the talent and defense of the Huskies won the day.
LSU is waiting.