Sick of cliche game recaps that rely on buzzwords like “poise,” “missed opportunities,” “punched in the mouth,” “set the tone,” “momentum,” “Willie Taggart’s jock strap,” etc? Of course you are; everybody is! Post-game recaps are the cottonmouth hangovers of college football: they’re an inevitable happening the morning after and you feel like rotting trash while experiencing one.
Well lucky for you, we’re here to fix this evil via a healthy dose of tom-foolery, Washington football, and… uh… that’s it, really. Enjoy.
An Abridged (and Completely Unbiased) Version of What Went Down
Oregon started with the ball.
The conditions were delightful: an ambiguous snow/rain combo, PNW-grown apple hot toddies and the Jimmy Fallon of college football commentators calling the game. I’m speaking, obviously, of Danny Kanell.
At quarterback for the Ducks was, to the surprise of no one, not their local boy Justin Herbert, who was still recovering from an exploded clavicle or something. Instead, it was true freshman and Harry Potter-worthy name-haver, Braxton Burmeister.
Oregon drove down the field. At this point, Washington’s defense still were under the impression that the forward pass was legal in Oregon and, subsequently, gave the run game plenty of room. Either that, or they were distracted by Burmeister’s surprisingly perfect eyebrows.
Then, in Washington-defense-on-its-first-drive tradition, Oregon got a field goal.
With the ball back, the Dawgs marched down the field efficiently. Aaron Fuller made a butt-kicking catch before getting it called back before making an even better catch one play later for a 40 yard gain. Unfortunately, it was then revealed that the Huskies thought, falsely, that this was not football but rather a game of charades, and they had drawn “Washington’s kicking game from three weeks ago.” Subsequently, they then went for and missed a field goal. Not good for the score, but a performance that will certainly earn Oscar nominations.
Ahead 3-0, one could see the hope in Oregon’s eyes. Royce Freeman stood ominously in the backfield. Braxton Burmeister’s shiftiness threatened to frustrate. Jacob Breeland also was a human who was there. So naturally they fumbled and Keishawn Bierria recovered the ball in what looked like a sure scoop-and-score, only for him to display straight-line speed roughly as fast as your grandma in the carpool lane.
While the Dawgs didn’t get a touchdown on this drive, they got something even better: Tristan Vizcaino kicking a field goal and then clobbering the ever-loving snot out of the returner on the following kickoff. What a lad.
It was at about this time the entirety of Husky Stadium realized they would absolutely watch a buddy cop show starring Greg Gaines, Vita Vea, and Vizcaino.
Anyhoo, Oregon got roughly three yards on that drive and followed it up by making a dumb decision. A very dumb decision. The dumbest decision that’s been made since someone decided to invade Russia in the winter.
They punted to Dante Pettis.
Which, as we all know, is incredibly stupid.
Because sometimes you punt to Dante Pettis and he’s like “I should probably return this for a touchdown this time,” and then he catches the punt and is like “Hmm, should I?” and then he jogs out a few yards and is like “Yeah I think today’s a good day to break the all time NCAA record for punt return touchdowns,” so he returns it for a touchdown because it’s been a few weeks since he last did that and we were all getting a bit anxious.
On the other hand, when Husky Stadium realized he was gonna do it: Oh my God. They lost their God-damn minds.
Then Oregon got the ball back, went like, three yards again, then punted — without making the same mistake twice — and the Huskies had the ball. There was some punterific hot potato between the two for a couple drives before Myles Gaskin put his foot down. “Enough with this madness!” he legally declared, before running it into the endzone from 34 yards out.
A few inconsequential shenanigans passed, and it was halftime.
The third quarter started with a Washington ball, where Jake Browning subsequently became a mean mean dude by throwing a 50 yard touchdown pass to Dante on 3rd and 1.5. On play action, nonetheless.
If there was ever any doubt before, the game was over.
Ben Burr-Kirven continued his ascension to “Bro, I’m like a really big deal”-status, Greg Gaines decided to dispel any remaining rumors that he’s nice by routinely beating the tar out of Oregon’s offensive line, and Taylor Rapp and Jojo McIntosh kept hitting like they had given up being physically comfortable for Lent… in November.
On offense, it went something like power run, power run, play action, power run — zone run? No those are lame — try to throw it long and fail, power run, screen to Lavon Coleman and look it’s a touchdown.
Things had all but fizzled out. There was some punting by Oregon, an interception by Tevis Bartlett, and a general air of satisfaction over Montlake.
Then, while folks were busy with their apple toddies, Salvon Ahmed scored on a 50 yard run.
The band played Tequila! and everything was — for the second year in a row — right in the world.
Actual Non-Malarkey Takeaways
- Oregon fans do not seem to like Burmeister, to put it politely. It makes sense, he’s not a world-beater, but the magnitude of how poorly they view him surprised me. The basic criticisms of him are completely valid: not a great arm from the small sample size, has yet to become a high-IQ reader of defenses, yet to be trusted for big downfield throws… pretty much just “he’s a true freshman.” But with him under center, he’s essentially been asked to run a zone read offense combined with some almost Georgia Tech-ian option stuff, and seems perfectly okay at it for a true freshman going up against the second best scoring defense in the country. Basically, there’s a reason we saw the Oregon offense do much better the first couple drives than people were expecting. Once — over the next couple years — Burmeister grows mentally and intellectually, thus being able to stretch the field and have defenses respect the vertical game, Oregon’s offense could be scary. Of course, Herbert will be back long before then so this is all irrelevant… But still, the level of criticisms thrown at him I think are a bit harsh.
- It sucks that Trey Adams got injured three weeks ago. So freaking much. If there’s a silver lining, it’s that the offensive line looks much better in pass protection this week than they did against UCLA, where they had Andrew Kirkland at left tackle and Jesse Sosebee at left guard. Although it’s a small sample size, shifting Kirkland in and putting Luke Wattenberg at tackle looks like a way better combination — all this against Oregon’s pass rush, which is far better than UCLA’s, as well.
- In the running game, there were plenty of attempts that were garbage but this was an Exhibit A in patience and trusting your offensive line and running backs to get it right more often than not. And, even though there were many attempts for no gain, lo and behold, the run game got it right a lot.
- On the defensive side, every week I become more enamored with the Huskies’ outside linebacker play. Ryan Bowman started the season with many people confused at his presence before exploding, and this game was just another step forward. Bartlett also started a bit slow but is one of the few people I’ve seen out-maneuver an offensive tackle and have a rather athletic interception all within one game.
- This is nitpicking but probably the most important piece of analysis you’ll hear all week: the commentators made the lethal mistake of referring to this game as a “Pac 12 After Dark” matchup, which is false. To the uninitiated, Pac 12 After Dark is not simply dependent on whether the sun is above or below the horizon. Pac 12 After Dark is a state of mind where magical chaos happens that should never ever happen and last Saturday was about the least Pac 12 After Dark-ish game that could occur in the Pac 12, after dark. For whatever reason, the After Dark gods didn’t bless Oregon with their magic; hence it is important — so freaking important — that we remember: It is not enough to be dark, for it to be Pac 12 After Dark. That is all.
That’s it for this week. Next stop: Stanford.
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