Washington can’t get anything going on offense in 20-13 defeat against Stanford
Huskies held to just 179 yards total offense, and no points in the second half
Seattle Times staff reporter
The game ended with Cyler Miles going down again. It was fourth-and-18, 14 seconds left, and the Huskies’ sophomore quarterback was flushed from the pocket, scrambling ahead, hoping, lunging for, well, something.
He was stopped 13 yards short.
And so the Washington offense was sunk. It just had to be the Stanford defense coming up with one more stop, and one more hit on Miles, in handing the Huskies a 20-13 defeat in their Pac-12 Conference opener Saturday afternoon before a crowd of 66,512 at Husky Stadium.
On a day when their defense played well enough to win, the Huskies (4-1, 0-1 Pac-12) lost their first game of the Chris Petersen era and lost any sense of direction on offense. Stanford (3-1, 1-1) limited UW to 179 yards of total offense, the Huskies’ lowest output since gaining 107 yards in a 41-0 defeat against Stanford in 2010.
“We’ve got to go back to the drawing board,” Petersen said. “We’ve got to try get our quarterback some answers.”
Stanford, which entered the weekend ranked No. 1 in the nation in scoring defense, passing defense and total defense, sacked Miles four times. It felt like much more. Miles, in his fifth career start, and first against an elite defense, was harassed and hit throughout the afternoon. He completed just 15 of 29 passes for 98 yards and one touchdown, and his 14 rushing attempts (including sacks) netted 1 yard. One.
The Huskies managed just 81 yards rushing on 38 attempts.
“It was frustrating at times, especially at the end, ending like that,” Miles said.
Stanford broke a 13-13 tie on quarterback Kevin Hogan’s 5-yard run with 4:29 left, a drive set up by the Huskies’ failed fake punt at the UW 47-yard line. Petersen took the blame for that. He was trying to force something, anything, on special teams, in the absence of any production on offense.
“It’s a work in progress, no question, in the passing game,” UW offensive coordinator Jonathan Smith said. “We knew it was going to be tough against Stanford … but we’re not there yet.”
Still, the UW defense forced a three-and-out to give the Huskies one last shot, down by 7, from their own 48 with 1:49 left. Miles threw three consecutive incompletions before connecting with DiAndre Campbell for 11 yards on fourth-and-10.
Miles then scrambled 13 yards to the Stanford 28. He followed with an incomplete pass, an intentional-grounding penalty and then a 4-yard pass to tight end Darrell Daniels. That set up fourth-and-18 with 14 seconds left. Stanford’s strong pass rush never gave Miles a chance.
“I tip my hat to them. They have a great defense,” Miles said, adding, “There might have been a couple times I could have hung in the pocket and continued to make reads instead of getting out of there. That’s just something I’ve got to continue working on.”
Shaq Thompson continued to shine for the UW defense. The junior linebacker stripped the ball away from Cardinal running back Remound Wright late in the second quarter, scooped up the loose ball and ran 32 yards for a touchdown to tie the score at 13. He bowed to the UW student section in celebration after his third defensive touchdown on the season, fourth overall.
Washington’s defense forced three turnovers — including a second forced fumble by Thompson, and an interception by Marcus Peters — and UW’s offense didn’t commit a turnover for the fourth time in five games. In most games, that plus-three turnover margin would be enough to win.
But UW’s offense scored only one touchdown, a 25-yard pass from Miles to Jaydon Mickens on a corner route in the second quarter.
Stanford’s defense has allowed just two touchdowns in four games this season.
“They’re in process right now,” Stanford coach David Shaw said of the Huskies. “They’re putting some guys in positions where they weren’t recruited to play. This is a talented team, and this is a team you’re glad to play early. You play them late and they could be on a roll.”
As UW prepared to enter its bye week, Miles took more hits on social media. Redshirt freshman Troy Williams, UW’s third-string quarterback, was trending locally on Twitter after a game in which he didn’t even play.
Petersen was careful not to be overly critical of Miles — noting that the offensive line needs to protect the quarterback better and the running game needs to move the ball better — but UW’s coach didn’t shoot down the idea that the quarterback competition could be reignited.
“We’re always going to re-evaluate everything. There’s no question about that,” Petersen said. “So we’ll take a look and whoever gives us the best chance to win, we’ll do that.”
|Hitting new lows|
|The Huskies had season-lows in a number of offensive categories Saturday:|
|Net rushing yards||81|
|Avg. per rushing att.||2.1|
|Net passing yards||98|
|Avg. per pass att.||3.3|
|Total net yards||179|
|Average gain per play||2.6|
Adam Jude: 206-464-2364 or firstname.lastname@example.org