October 18, 2008

Rodgers brothers shine in Seattle

What to say? Another game, another loss for the 0-6 Huskies. This time, a 34-13 defeat at the hands of Oregon State. The loss, Washington's fifth straight to the Beavers, erased any hope for Head Coach Tyrone Willingham and his future with the Huskies.

"The game tonight was a game in which we didn't make enough big plays, gave up too many big plays, didn't create any turnovers and gave up turnovers," said Willingham. "Our football team fought to the very end and played hard, but didn't do enough of the right things to put ourselves in position to win the game. Oregon State did a nice job. They came in and gave us difficulty where we thought they would."

Oregon State's 21-point margin of victory over the Huskies is the biggest since 2001, when the Beavers won 49-24, and the biggest in Seattle since 1973, when Oregon State won 31-7. The win also marked the Beavers' first road win of the season. Oregon State had lost it's first three road games heading into the contest against Washington.

"If you want to have a good season, you have to win games on the road somewhere. To come up here and do that right past the midway point of the year when you have to start establishing your identity and who you're going to be, is big," expressed Oregon State Head Coach Mike Riley. "Offensively, nothing we did came easy. We got some yards and made some big plays. It was very competitive and Washington played hard until the end."

The game began well for Washington, with the Huskies scoring first on a 45-yard Jared Ballman field goal, the first of his career. However, the Beavers responded on their ensuing possession on a 52-yard James Rodgers touchdown run, to take a 7-3 lead with just under two and a half minutes to play in the first quarter.

After forcing the Huskies to a three-and-out on their next possession, Oregon State tacked on three more points early in the second quarter on a 37-yard Justin Kahut field goal, to put the Beavers up by seven. Following a Washington turnover near mid-field, Oregon State promptly marched 51 yards down field to go up 17-3 with 8:43 left to play in the first half. The drive was capped off by a dump pass from Lyle Moevao to James Rodgers, which he turned into a 33-yard scamper to the endzone. Moevao played a sound game for the Beavers, completing 18-of-22 passes for 191 yards and one touchdown with no interceptions.

The Huskies responded with a 49-yard drive to the Beavers' 23-yard line, but failed to score when Ballman missed a 40-yard field goal attempt far right. Washington stopped the Beavers near mid field on the ensuing possession and responded with a six-play, 47-yard drive, which was capped off by a 44-yard Ballman field goal, to cut the lead to 17-6.

Oregon State opened the second half with a methodical 10-play, 65-yard drive to put the Beavers up 24-6 at the 8:29 mark in the third quarter. The drive was capped off with a one-yard Jacquizz Rodgers touchdown run. Rodgers only had eight rushes for 28 yards at the half, but finished the game with 20 rushes for 98 yards. The Huskies missed their second field goal of the night on the ensuing possession, when Ryan Perkins' 36-yarder sailed far left.

The Beavers scored their fourth touchdown of the game when James Rodgers took a pitch right 55-yards down the sideline to put Oregon State up 31-6 with just under 13 minutes to play in the game. Rodgers finished the game with three rushes for 110 yards and two touchdowns, while also catching three passes for 53 yards and another score.

"It's really important that James' part of the offense and the receivers' part of the offense in general compliements what we do with the running game," explained Riley. "We knew going in, Washington would try to do what they could to slow down Jacquizz. That would appear to me to be a pretty good formula if you want to beat the Beavers. We had to have some other stuff going and we did, and that was good."

The Huskies responded less than a minute later when Terrance Dailey found pay dirt on a 59-yard run up the middle.

"The coaches said I need to hit the hole a lot faster, a lot harder," explained Dailey. "One of the things I was doing, I was juking too much in the hole. So that play, I just went straight, used my speed, got in between there and got a touchdown, so it was nice."

Dailey, who earned his first start as a Husky, did not disappoint, becoming Washington's first 100-yard rusher of the season, with 16-rush, 106-yard effort.

"The running game hasn't really been there all year," said Dailey. "Coach [Steve] Gervais said we need to work hard this weekend - it's time for the running backs to step up. He said somebody's got to do it, so I'm glad I could do a little something."

"The run by Terrance Dailey and what he adds to us are some real postiives," said Willingham. "We've been looking for a spark in the backfield and someone who could make something happen. I think on that run, he showed exactly what I thought he could do and what our coaches thought he could do."

Another positive for the Huskies was the play of wide receiver D'Andre Goodwin. Goodwin, who bruised his ribs in the game against Stanford and played sparingly two weeks ago against Arizona, caught five passes for 136 yards.

"I think D'Andre had a heck of a night," exclaimed Willingham. "Getting him back and getting him healthy was a plus in the lineup."

Ronnie Fouch, who made his second career start, completed 17-of-32 passes for 276 yards and no touchdowns with three interceptions. Those numbers make Fouch's play seem worse than it was, considering he was under pressure the entire night due to another sub-par performance by the Husky offensive line.

The Huskies must now turn their attention to next week's game against Notre Dame, in hope of getting their first win of the season, something that seems a distant dream with each passing game.

"There are still games on the schedule. If you're a competitor, you find a way to rise up, play your next game and meet your next challenge," explained Willingham. "If you're not competitor, then you wither. It becomes too heavy for you and you don't find a way to fight."

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