Washington defense comes up big
Their four defensive stars — the ones projected as first-round picks in next year’s NFL draft — shined bright on a sun-splashed Saturday afternoon at Husky Stadium and yet Washington lost 20-13 to No. 16 Stanford.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Its four defensive stars — the ones projected as high-round picks in next year’s NFL draft — shined bright on a sun-splashed Saturday afternoon at Husky Stadium and yet Washington lost 20-13 to No. 16 Stanford.
• Junior linebacker Shaq Thompson stripped Stanford 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 13-13. It was Thompson’s third defensive touchdown this season.
• On third-and-two at Washington’s 23, junior defensive end/outside linebacker Hau’oli Kikaha sacked Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan for a 6-yard loss. The Cardinal missed a 46-yard field goal on the next play.
• Embattled junior cornerback Marcus Peters, who didn’t start due to a team-imposed penalty, intercepted Hogan at the Washington 35 midway through the third quarter. It was his third interception in the past two games.
• And senior nose tackle Danny Shelton recovered a Hogan fumble at the UW 16 early in the fourth quarter for the Huskies’ third turnover.
“Without the turnovers,” Stanford coach David Shaw said, “I don’t know if this game is a one-score game.”
Washington coach Chris Petersen added: “They held a good offense to 20 points and that should be good enough to get some things done.”
On a day in which the Huskies (4-1) managed just 179 total yards against a Stanford defense ranked first in the nation in yards allowed and points, Washington’s defensive coaches and players refused to lay the blame for their first loss on the offense.
“There’s a lot of things we can do,” defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski said. “Tackle better. It’s a team sport. Games like that we’ve got to find a way to help the offense out as much as we can. We’re in this thing together.”
Washington was forced to rely on a makeshift secondary at times because an illness forced sophomore strong safety Kevin King to miss the game. Trevor Walker made his first start this season at safety while freshman Naijiel Hale started for Peters.
“We just had to mix things up a bit,” said Thompson, who also played a couple of series at strong safety and finished with seven tackles.
Washington surrendered 364 yards — 186 rushing and 178 passing — but often times the Huskies forced a turnover when they needed it. Stanford drove inside the red zone five times, but came away with just two touchdowns.
The Huskies’ major blemish came early in the second quarter when Ty Montgomery ran over Peters and freshman free safety Budda Baker before carrying Walker into the end zone on a 17-yard touchdown reception that put Stanford ahead 10-0.
Shoddy tackling — particularly on an 11-yard Hogan scramble — also helped Stanford’s other touchdown midway through the fourth quarter. The Cardinal was also assisted by a 15-yard facemask penalty on Shelton on the drive.
“That last quarter we were just trying to hold them,” said Shelton, who had seven tackles. “We didn’t want to give up any yards. We just kept wanting to fight.”