Cleat Geeks

Pac-12 Game of the Week Review: Washington vs. Auburn

It was the game of the week on week 1 of the college football season, involving two of the top 10 ranked teams in the nation. The Washington Huskies faced off against the Auburn Tigers, in Atlanta.

Image result for jarrett stidham auburn

Photo by; Zimbio

Huskies fans were seriously outnumbered in the stands and Washington was outmatched on the field, with the Tigers edging this one 21-16.

This was a battle between two senior quarterbacks who will both have aspirations of going to the NFL after this season. Auburn’s Jarrett Stidham is being talked about as a candidate to be the first QB off the board in a convoluted class where the cream has yet to rise to the top.

However, the Kentucky native came out of the traps all guns blazing with a long string of completions. Browning on the other hand, couldn’t buy a completion out of the gate and from the first drive the Auburn defense looked hyped up as they were flying towards the ball, backed by a deafening crowd from Alabama in the most part.

That defense was lead by tackle, Derrick Brown who did a great job of plugging up the middle and at times was even chasing Browning to the sidelines on the hunt for a sack.

Anyway that’s enough about SEC guys, let’s break the game down from a Washington perspective.


So what went well for the Huskies?


Defensively, I thought the Huskies did pretty well. They contained the running game very well, limiting the Tigers to 3.3 yards per carry.

I also felt that the coaching staff made some nice adjustments which helped stem the tide once Stidham got into his rhythm. This was mainly done by rushing 3 up front and dropping 8 guys into coverage and asking Auburn’s QB to find a pass; which usually led him to rolling out towards the sideline to buy time and throwing the ball out of bounds.

Washington worked well in the red zone, bending but not breaking on most occasions which allowed them to keep this one close and they were leading until they were breached by JaTarvious Whitlow up the middle for the game winner.

Image result for myles bryant washington vs auburn

Talking less generally, I thought that defensive back, Myles Bryant did a nice job. The sophomore had 4 tackles and 4 assists and was used intelligently as a blitzer from the nickel spot, registering 1 sack.

Other standout individuals were defensive tackle Greg Gains, linebacker DJ Beavers and Safety Taylor Rapp.


How did this one get away?


Well much like Auburn, once Browning found his range, the Huskies found it relatively easy to move the ball down the field. That was until they reached the 20 yard line and then it was Auburn’s turn to exhibit some excellent red zone defense.

It was on one such drive that Jake Browning gave up a back-breaking fumble on an attempted pitch. It was a drive that would have given Washington a healthy lead and you would have backed them to take the W back to Seattle.

Image result for Jake Browning washington vs auburn

Photo by; Zimbio

Alas no, Browning himself recognizing his error, acknowledging that he should have taken the sack and just have his team put up an easy 3 points. The QB said, “I just gotta take the loss there and kick an easy field goal. The turnover killed us.” An opportunity missed.

Speaking of opportunities missed, freshman kicker Payton Henry missed one if his 4 kicks whilst Auburn kicker, Andrers Carlson missed 2 of 5 in what was an iffy showing from both young men. Whilst you may think missing one kick is no big deal, you’d be correct but when taking into account that one of Henry’s successful attempts went through off the goal post, it leaves more food for thought. Maybe just a case of debut nerves, or so we all hope…

Back to Browning; it wasn’t all bad for the quarterback. He delivered a gorgeous throw to Quinten Pounds for what could have been the catch of the weekend and will be up there for catch of the season when it’s all said and done. Browning showed excellent ball placement and Pounds brought it in, one handed after a nice fade route on the outside.

Now for the elephant in the room. Myles Gaskin. After going for more than 1,300 yards and averaging no less than 5.7 yards a carry throughout his time in Seattle, the Senior was limited to just 75 yards on 17 attempts as he was bottled up by the Tigers. They will need much more from Gaskin in the coming weeks, and he’ll know that. Gaskin has a chance to be the first back off the board in the spring. I’m sure he’ll have better days very soon but these tight games are where big time players make big time plays… no dice this week for number 9.


So where does Washington go from here?


Well, onwards and upwards. Auburn is the best team that they’re going to face this year and this loss isn’t terminal. The Huskies went on the road, across the country and came up just short against the 9th team in the nation. It obviously gives them less margin for error moving forward but I still expect Washington and their star men to have better Saturdays, for my money, they’re still one of the better teams in the PAC-12.

Maybe even the best.

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