The Huskies rebounded from last weeks dismal 12-10 loss to the California Golden Bears with a hard-fought 27-23 win over the Stanford Cardinal to keep their Pac-12 Title hopes alive. Here are sights and sounds from that contest.
Washington Head Coach Chris Petersen
Finally, we won that turnover battle. Proud of the guys for that. Proud of them on offense for not giving it to them and proud of our defense for finally getting them. That was a huge part of the game as well as getting great field position in the first half. Second half we didn’t quite get that field position and then you get a couple three and outs and things get tight. But I’m really pleased and happy for our guys, obviously, last week was a hard week, but those kids don’t flinch. They come to work hard, and it was hard going through it. That’s how it goes, last week we lose a tough one, this week we win it, it’s a game of inches. There’s some good, hard lessons in there, and that’s how it is in this league.
Did you expect to be able to lean on Myles as much as you did tonight?
You never really know, he had a lot of time off, so we felt good about that. We really rested him to make sure we weren’t going to put him in jeopardy. He’s a tough kid, it’s nice to have number nine back, he’s a game changer. He’s got tremendous vision, is a patient runner, and can finish runs with the contact and finish forward. We have a lot of guys who are really fast and they hit the holes too fast and don’t let things develop. Myles is one of the best at taking his time and letting guys get to the right spot. Very few times when we question what he is looking at, he usually finds where he is supposed to go.
How did you think Jake responded?
I thought Jake did a great job, I knew he was going to respond like that. He didn’t flinch throughout the week, he’s a competitor, and I was really pleased with how he played.
How did the wind affect the game?
We actually don’t practice in weather like this as much as you would think. We’ve been trying to get out in it but it goes away at practice time. I think they get it more from walking to class. The wind affects the game much more than rain does for sure. That was a difference at the end of the game.
How did the offense play tonight?
We are still interesting on offense. At times it clicks and looks easy and we are physical, and at times it’s one thing here and one thing there and we go in spurts. Sometimes we are really smooth, and sometimes we trip over ourselves. That first half was really good and I thought in the second half we could have been a bit cleaner. One thing I’ll know is we will keep working hard to clean that up, and I think I was we go down the stretch here it will really matter. I though Stanford did a decent job of pushing the pocket, they weren’t letting Jake stand back there and keep the ball. It wasn’t where they had more than us, but they were putting a little more heat on us than we’d like.
What are your thoughts on some of the younger defensive backs stepping into larger roles?
I thought Elijah did really well. He didn’t miss a beat today. Those guys are hard to defend, they are 6’7” receivers is what they are, and those guys worked their tail off. We don’t have anyone 6’7” to emulate that, but we knew what was coming, they’re pretty skilled with those back shoulder throws. Keith Taylor did a great job, he’s come a long way and he’s a long corner that’s making good plays. I mean it’s next man up and I thought they did a great job. I think it will be good game 10 to get a bye. It’s hard to get a bye after 10 weeks of going hard, but we’ve got it now and everyone’s got guys banged up so it will help us. We will practice about two or three times, and then give them a couple days to not think about football.
Were you happy with the plan for getting Hunter involved?
Yes, I was. He’s been practicing for a couple of weeks, we’ve been bringing him along slowly, the last two weeks he’s been solid and this last week we got him into the game plan, but it’s not like going out there full speed and having guys hit you. I thought how much we used him was a good way to get him back into the mix and that he’ll only gain confidence going forward.
How did Jake respond after being upset about last week?
If he wasn’t upset and really pissed he got pulled out, I probably wouldn’t have wanted to put him back in. That’s Jake, he’s a competitor and fighter. That’s happened to me back in the day, I know what it feels like and it’s different than the safety or tackle getting pulled out. He understood what I was trying to do, it wasn’t necessarily about him, we were trying to make something happen and I know our offense is capable of scoring more points than last week. I’m pleased with him but I knew he would respond like this. I saw him practice last week and he’s a competitor and just goes.
How hard was it to bounce back after last week?
That last week was really hard. There’s no doubt about it, when you lose any games it’s hard. On top of not scoring many points, all the offense, the players, the coaches, felt the weight of the world on their shoulders. They get it, it’s hard, you want to get it fixed, to go play and try to get it right. We made some strides tonight.
DB Byron Murphy
How did you feel on the last play?
I just knew one of us was coming down with the ball so T-Rapp made a great play to seal the win for us.
How did you feel after?
I was definitely relieved and it was great to see one of the guys from our room get the pick and winning the game for us.
DB Keith Taylor
On playing with injured players in the secondary…
Coach Lake always preaches about carrying the flag. Whoever goes down, next man up. I just tried to play regularly. I just trusted my technique.
On the team’s defense performance…
I think we played really well. We still have to fix small details as always.
On other members of the secondary stepping up…
We just went out there and played, it was nothing different. We go out there and play with the same technique that our coaches teach us.
On matching up against Stanford’s big receivers…
It’s really strength on strength. I always have to prepare against any receiver that I lineup against. It goes back to technique and whatever Coach Lake teaches us. We play to our technique.
DL Greg Gaines
On if he’s ever caught an interception before…
Never. Not in high or Pop Warner. Nothing.
On what was going through his head when the ball was in the air…
I think the wind helped me out, coming back to me a little bit. I didn’t think I was going to catch it, it was kind of like a dream that it actually came towards me.
On the emotion after his interception…
It was one of the greatest feelings of my life. It was cool, my teammates were running off the sidelines, I thought we were going to get a penalty because everyone was running on the field. But we lucked out there.
On Stanford’s offensive output in the second half…
They have great coaches over there, it’s tough to hold a team that’s good to zero points. They have good coaches and they figured out a game plan that works against us.
On the final play of the game…
We were just thinking we have to stop them. This is the game we knew they were just going to throw it up. We went to our victory formation and left it up to the DBs.
OL Kaleb McGary
On his thoughts during the final play of the game…
I had faith in our boys, if they threw the ball up, I knew we were going to bat it down. I of course was nervous, as was everyone else. It was a good feeling. It was a good feeling knowing this is it.
On mindset running the ball in the fourth quarter…
We need to make some magic happen. That was kind of our thing ‘here we go boys’. The last few quarters hadn’t been good enough on our part so whatever it is, we need to pick it up. We need to figure it out and we did. I think at the end we did a good job.
Stanford Head Coach David Shaw
Once again, an outstanding effort by our guys in the second half. Problem is we dug ourselves such as big hole that we can’t get out of it. Didn’t get enough stops on defense in the first half. I think we only made them put once in the first half. Offensively, I mean, a couple of third and shorts that we can typically convert and we couldn’t convert those. And against a good team, in their house, they have momentum, it’s hard to dig yourself that kind of a hole. Where we don’t stop them and we don’t convert. We go into halftime down 21 and it’s happened a couple of times this year and we’ve got to find a way to change it. There was absolutely no panic at halftime. None. Because we know we hadn’t played well. So the key is, we get down, we play extremely hard and extremely well. Come out on defense and get stops. Come out on offense and march the length of the field and score touchdowns. The key is to find a way to do that at the beginning. Lean on our seniors, lean on our older guys, lean our guys who can step up and make sure that we play that way. Now, I don’t want to make it sound like I’m putting it on the players cause it’s on me. I’ve got to find a way for us to do that. When we play well we have not been stopped on the offensive side.
Defensively, when we play at a high level and tackle, we’re as good as anybody. First part of the season we saw that. Now the key is for us to play our best football and that’s the charge. That’s the charge. Regardless of our records, regardless of bowl games, any of those things. From kickoff to the end of the game, our challenge is to play our best football. Now, JJ was injured. Couldn’t finish the game. We’ll find out what the diagnosis is after this. Jet, Jet has been battling for weeks, and he just couldn’t get warmed up, couldn’t get loose, so Jet Toner couldn’t play in the game. Thought maybe Nate Herbig was going to be ready to play. Couldn’t quite get there. Devery Hamilton came in and was playing really well and then we lost Devery for part of the second half. That’s just what happened. Bryce, in and out as usual. I mean, he’s in pain, but the guy is just one of the best running backs in America. One of the best we’ve ever had and he still goes out there and breaks tackles, and makes big plays, and makes runs, and picks up pass protection. And that’s another guy to point to say what’s right with college football. We’ve got a lot of things to point at to say what’s wrong with college football. Bryce Love is what’s right with college football. He’s not risking his draft status, he’s not risking long term injury, he loves this football team, and he wants to play his best for this football team.
How much did the loss of Arcega-Whiteside effect your offense?
Very significantly. Very significantly. JJ is an All-American. He’s one of the best if not the best receiver in America and when a guy like that is not on the field, you miss him. That being said, I love the guys that we have. Connor Wedington stepped up, made some plays for us. Trent Irwin all season long, you know, we just give him opportunities to make plays. Kaden Smith, another big time game for Kaden as well. But probably the guy who had to change the most as we missed JJ, was Colby Parkinson. We had to put Colby outside for a couple of things, inside for a couple things. He’s a bright guy. He’s going to be a superstar in college football, sooner than later. He stepped up, made some big time plays, big time catches. So, I love the guys that we have. The charge to me, and to our coaching staff, is to get us playing at a high level at beginning of the game. Cause we missed JJ, we saw those other guys, and bunch of guys who couldn’t play and went out there in the second half and played great. So we miss the guys with injuries, but we’ve got great guys on this football team that stepped up and made plays.
Can you talk us through the final drive and the substitutions?
Yeah, and that’s tough. That’s tough. We’ve got a running back with an ankle. We had to try to get him out. And also not everybody that played was one hundred percent either. So we had to take a couple guys out and put some guys in for specific plays. So those are decisions that I had to make. And right or wrong, that’s fine. You know, we got to a position where we had a shot at the end zone and guys made some plays for us to get there. We lost some seconds, but at the same time, we had to take them. We took the timeouts to get the ball back.
QB K.J. Costello
Does this loss feel similar to your other loses this season?
It dawned on me when I looked at the schedule earlier this week, that we have been losing a lot. We are so week to week preparation focused that we don’t pay attention to our record. It hit me hard, I realized that this is just not us. The Stanford football I know never loses games back to back, let alone three or four times in a five game stretch. We have had this feeling a lot in the past month. It is a feeling that no one wants to have. These guys have so much passion and response to adversity, and that is what is keeping us up.
Can you take us through the final drive?
I love those situations, I am in control out there. The clock completely disappeared, as a quarterback I am trying to manage the situation in the game, and that is a lot harder without the clock. We were substituting and the ref was doing a good job in terms of holding until the other team substitutes. I think we did a pretty good job with no time outs. I wanted to get down there on the 20 or 30 line for that last play. It didn’t happen, at the point a miracle has to happen, and it didn’t go our way.
What is keeping this team from starting out well?
I would love to tell you the answer to that question. The reason why I wanted to come to Stanford is the tradition that I saw in the past ten years where we win football games. In my view, we win football games because we dominate situations, we are not dominating situations that win you football games week in and week out.
LB Jordan Fox
What do you see as the biggest difference between the first and second half?
In the first quarter they scored 21 points. We need to start fast when we come out on the field. That first drive, we need to get after that, and not spot them 21 points in the first quarter.
What is contributing to the missed tackles?
Guys are just leaving their feet instead of running through tackles. That is something that we need to work on. Coach pointed that out to us after the game and that is something that we are going to work on at practice.
TE Kaden Smith
What do you want the team’s mindset to be heading into the end of the season?
At this point we just have to play for each other. Our older guys are leaving and this might be the last time they ever play football. We just have to keep pushing and fighting. It doesn’t matter who we are playing, we have to come together and play like a family.
How do you feel about making a comeback in this game?
It’s cool that we made a comeback, but at the end of the day, we didn’t win. We can’t put ourselves in a deficit like that, we need to come out faster and stronger on both sides of the ball. I’m proud of my team for fighting through the adversity that we faced, we need to continue to do that and play for each other.
What was it that kept your offense from coming out in the first half?
It was just all the little things. We can’t have a third and one and end up having to punt. We were playing well but it was just little mistakes here and there that add up. I think the fight was there but there were just too many mental errors.