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5 takeaways from 21-16 win at Arizona

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A further quarter rally turned disaster to victory as the Washington Huskies beat winless Arizona 21-16. Here are our biggest takeaways.

The Washington Huskies avoided disaster Friday night in Tempe, Arizona. They trailed winless Arizona by nearly two touchdowns at the half. A fourth quarter rally, propelled by a pair of UW touchdown passes, was enough for the Huskies to eke out a victory. Here are our four top takeaways from the Huskies 21-16 win.

Tale of two haves

Once again, the Washington Huskies had trouble getting off to a good start. It’s a situation that started with the opening game loss to Montana. in the opening game of the season.

Washington’s offense was flat in the first half. Quarterback Dylan Morris was six for ten passing but only totaled 35 yards. Unfortunately, their running game wasn’t much better, if at all. At halftime, the Huskies trailed 13-0

After the break, UW was much better. Morris completed 7 of 11 for 181 yards and two touchdowns, including a 51-yard scoring strike to Terrell Bynum. Kamari Pleasant and Cameron Davis did a bit better carrying the ball.

UW Defense was bad, until it wasn’t

Down to their third quarterback, the Huskies relied heavily on their running backs. They ran 40 times for 218 yards (5.5 yards-per-carry) and a touchdown. Even without Arizona’s top two rushers, the Huskies defense had difficulty stopping them.

Again it was better following the break. After three quarters, Washington trailed 16-7. Two minutes later, defensive lineman Tuli Letuligasenoa intercepted a pass that led to Cameron Davis’ touchdown. His pickoff totally changed this game as the Huskies seized momentum. On their last three possessions, Arizona ran 11 plays for 24 total yards.

Hopefully, they can carry that spark forward for the rest of the season.

Let him play

Early on, Morris constantly looked over to the sidelines before running a play. In the second half, Morris didn’t seem to get nearly as much direction from the coaches, and the offense ran more smoothly. It’s understandable that the coaching staff, burdened by the weight of failing expectations, would micro-manage their players.

By giving Morris more autonomy, they may have stumbled upon something positive. He’s been much more tentative this year, and the Washington Huskies’ offense struggled.

Injuries

Five Huskies players didn’t make the trip, including linebacker Eddie Ulofoshio and defensive back Cam Williams. During the game, they lost safety, Alex Cook. In the first quarter, he was carted off the field with an apparent neck injury and taken to a local hospital but was released in time to travel home with the team. Washington’s defense has enough problems without missing so many key players.

The hotter seat

The game did nothing to help embattled offensive coordinator Jim Donovan. Scoring 21 points on 305 yards against a winless team will only further incite an upset fan base. Barring a huge turnaround, sooner or later, head coach Jimmy Lake will have to cut him loose. The longer Washington struggles, the bigger the risk Donovan takes him down as well.

Next up is the Stanford Cardinal on the road. Go Dawgs!

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