It was like someone kidnapped the team that lost to Stanford and replaced them with the team that, well, hammered the Cougs like a nail over the past few years.
Clearly, there has been a shift in the philosophy of the offense. The Huskies have morphed into a running team where instead of leading with the pass, it's relied upon mostly to keep the defenses honest.
Jack looked better Saturday. He made some fantastic plays when he had to... but seemed to screw up a couple of passes unnecessarily. Still, he was confident and in command, It was a thing of beauty to watch.
Of course, the loss of the number 1 receiver (The brilliant Dante' Pettis) and a short time later, the number 2 running back (The steady and talented Lavon Coleman) were flattened by severe ankle sprains, casting something of a pall on the faithful... which was soon lifted by the amazing work of the inimitable Myles Gaskin (5 miles rushing and 4 touchdowns) ably supported by the talented Salvan Ahmed, freshman heir apparent to the running duties for future years to come.
The defense was simply exceptional. The defensive line, typically a 3 man rush, overwhelmed the Cougs offensive line much like they were playing for a JC. Luke Falk, world record holder in passing yards and touchdowns, was beaten like a rented stepchild. Coug receivers, with a single exception, had snow shoe hands and made a whole lot of "business decisions" to avoid getting blasted. The Cougs finished the game with -21 yards rushing, a masterful performance in ground defense, and even the passing yardage by Wazzo wasn't that great, considering Falk's passing numbers (37 of 55/369/1TD/3INT) and 5 sacks from the stifling Husky pass rush (Vita Vea, 6-5, 340) was a man playing against children; even double-teams couldn't stop him) resulting from the absence of a ground game.
As I sat in the East End Zone, I kept asking myself where these guys were in Stanford and Arizona.
They were not just good... they were astounding, particularly considering the many critical injuries suffered both throughout the year and in the Apple Cup itself.
An absolutely amazing game... and even though we were soaked after 3 hours of sitting in the rain, poncho or no, it was worth every minute of it.
Memo to Mike Leach. Using your time outs at the end of the game in the last minute was a low-class stunt, scumbag.
My Huskies are 10 - 10.5 point favorites over the higher-ranked Cougs.
I believe that whoever set that line is on dope.
The biggest problem appears to be psychiatric. The Jake Browning we used to have, the fearless, laser throwing gun-slinger who threw for 43 touchdowns last year is no more.
His QB rating has fallen from 167 to 139 this year. He has yet to make half of last year's production, throwing for 18 touchdowns against 10 interceptions... when last year, his ratio was 43 to 9.
There have been some key injuries as well. The O-line has been badly hurt by the loss of our starting blind side tackle.
Washington's inexplicable loss to Arizona killed the season and losing to a fired up Stanford team buried it. Now the Dawgs are just another bowl-eligible team like any other 6 win outfit.
The Cougs, on the other hand, have a LOT to play for. If they win today, they win the North and have a chance to win the PAC12 by going up against USC.
The Dawgs, on the other hand, are looking at the Tire-Retread Bowl in Pawtucket or some such other meaningless result.
Leach's crew is hungry and motivated. The lackluster offense of the Dawgs simply isn't enough.
I will be stunned if the Cougs don't win today. I'd take them and the points.
Last year's Dawgs would have been another matter. But this isn't last year's Dawgs. And the spread on this indicates that whoever set the points doesn't seem to understand that.
WSU 27, UW 20... depending on which Jake shows up today.
I hope I'm wrong... but I've seen these guys sleepwalk through the first quarter to the first 20 minutes of too many games, too many times... and Taylor Rapp can't be everywhere in the secondary against Falk.
See you at the game.