Saturday was as awkward as it was fun.
I’ve been an unapologetic Washington fan since I was in middle school, yet found myself walking through the UW tailgates clad in black and gold popping back at any UW fan who wanted to talk shit.
I was actually a little disappointed. Husky fans didn’t seem to care. I guess it’s understandable. Idaho isn’t a threat, and Husky fans are generally tame compared to some of their Pac-12 counterparts.
I found an Idaho tailgate (shout out to the Thrasher family), sat in section 101 surrounded by all of my fellow Vandals and enjoyed watching my Vandals throw a couple punches in the first quarter.
And then shit got real.
Idaho very well could’ve been knotted up 7-7 with a top 10 team in the nation going into the second quarter had the ball bounced the Vandals’ way. But that’s football. Washington recovered two fumbles, including one as Idaho tried to score.
And then the Huskies started to look the part. A defense with upwards of half-a-dozen National Football League players collectively pummeled Linehan. Three of his four sacks occurred in the quarter. He was pulled after being popped in the early fourth quarter. Why he was even in the game in the fourth quarter is a question in of itself.
And then there’s Jake Browning. Have you not heard of Jake Browning? You should probably check out this Jake Browning kid. He’s played all of four quarters of football this season and has 581 passing yards on over 10 yards an attempt.
Imagine if Kellen Moore could throw down the field worth a shit. You get Jake Browning, and he had five touchdown passes at halftime.
The fact Idaho threw enough punches on defense to keep Washington at seven points after one quarter of play, manufactured when Idaho muffed the opening kickoff, is impressive enough.
Rutgers was down 21-0 after the first quarter in week one, all on passes deep down the field.
So, maybe Idaho’s defense isn’t a complete dumpster fire any more!
And Linehan? He largely corrected his accuracy issues, going 19 for 29 while having to throw into tight windows defended by multiple high-graded NFL prospects.
The most impressive thing about Washington was just how motivated the Huskies were in the second quarter to not just pull away, but beat the living hell out of Idaho in the process.
It has nothing to do with Idaho, and everything to do with Washington’s position as a College Football Playoff contender and in being one of the most well-coached teams in the nation. They’re going to do the same thing to Portland State next week.
They didn’t take Idaho lightly, and it’s the only reason we weren’t able to make a breakthrough in the latter part of the first half. Washington’s mentality is if it takes Idaho lightly, what could happen on the road at Arizona? Tip your cap to that level of attention to detail.
This week we play at Washington State.
Washington State is a good Pac-12 football team. But, Washington State does not have the overwhelming plethora of talent, speed or concentration that Washington has. No offense to our crimson neighbors, but this is what the first two weeks of college football has told us.
Does that make this game any more winnable? Not if Washington State plays its best football. Washington State has played some of its worst football in recent memory lately. I could be eight Rainiers deep at the Club and manage a clock better than Mike Leach did at Boise State.
But there is hope!
Washington State’s defense is playing like shit, is dealing with arrests and potential arrests and in Mike Leach’s archaic and borderline misogynistic opinion, his team is playing like a bunch of girls.
— Evan Closky (@KREMEvan) September 12, 2016
He doesn’t think his team is tough enough, he doesn’t think his team is tackling well enough, he doesn’t think they’re executing well enough.
If yards after the catch are possible, if closing down Wazzu’s receivers is possible, if finding plays down the field is possible, then an upset is not impossible even if it’s not likely next week. Talent level matters more than anything in college football. Washington State has more of it. But the gap will not be nearly as insurmountable as it was at Husky Stadium.
This means we’re going to find out a hell of a lot more about this football team this weekend in Martin Stadium.