Despite two straight losses, UW’s Hau’oli Kikaha says players will keep it together
The Huskies hope to snap this losing streak when they play Colorado this Saturday.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Washington @ Colorado, 10 a.m., Pac-12 Networks
Hau’oli Kikaha was emphatic.
“No. No,” Washington’s senior defensive end said, when asked if after two consecutive losses there was concern that UW players were starting to lose faith, too. “Our guys are tight and we’ll stand by each other regardless of what happens. That’s not just lip service.
“In the past, that may have been a problem. But now, it’s really solid. It’s just … frustrating, obviously. But I do feel like we’re going to keep this thing together and moving forward. Progress has to be made, and we know that.”
The UW offense, limited by several key injuries, took another step back in Saturday night’s 24-10 loss to No. 14 Arizona State. Redshirt freshman quarterback Troy Williams, in his starting debut, committed three turnovers and led the offense to just three points while playing in severe wind and a steady rain that made passing (and punting) an adventure.
After losses to ranked foes Oregon and ASU, the Huskies (5-3, 1-3 Pac-12) hope to snap this dire streak in Saturday’s 10 a.m. game at Colorado: In every season since 2004, the program has had a losing streak of at least three games.
“As long as we stay together — offense, defense and special teams — then we’ll be able to get out of this rut and finish strong,” Kikaha said.
The Huskies play five games in November, including three on the road, starting with this week’s trip to Boulder. After that, they host No. 25 UCLA, travel to Arizona, host Oregon State and then close out the regular season at Washington State.
Sophomore Cyler Miles, who sat out practice last week while recovering from a concussion, is expected to return as UW’s starting quarterback against Colorado (2-6, 0-5), UW coach Chris Petersen said.
The Huskies have won all five meetings against the Buffaloes since 1999. Colorado lost at home to UCLA, 40-37, in double overtime on Saturday.
Even with star linebacker Shaq Thompson switching sides, the UW defense produced more points than the Husky offense against Arizona State, thanks to John Timu’s 63-yard interception return for a touchdown. Those were UW’s first points of the game, coming with 4:13 left in the third quarter. It also gave UW its sixth defensive touchdown of the season — four from Thompson, two from Timu — a school record dating to 1951.
“It was awesome,” Petersen said. “I think the kids really felt like we were going to win the game.”
The Huskies had a goal-line stand in the third quarter — stuffing ASU on four consecutive plays from the 1-yard line — and sacked ASU’s Taylor Kelly seven times.
In the fourth quarter, UW’s offense drove to the Arizona State 2-yard line before settling for a 23-yard field goal from Cameron Van Winkle. That tied the score at 10-10.
The Sun Devils scored the go-ahead touchdown with three minutes left on Kelly’s 7-yard pass to Gary Chambers. On a fourth-and-25 attempt in the final minute, Williams threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown for ASU’s final score.
Playing without Dwayne Washington (chest) and Lavon Coleman (shoulder), the Huskies relied on Thompson and senior Deontae Cooper at running back. Thompson, who played only one snap at linebacker, had 21 carries for 98 yards and Cooper had 11 carries for 70 yards in his first career start.
UW junior left guard Dexter Charles sat out with an apparent foot injury.
Overall, the Huskies managed just 3.3 yards per rushing attempt against ASU, which takes into account five sacks of Williams. The Huskies rank last in the Pac-12 in total offense, passing offense and 10th in scoring offense.
“I just know our run game needs to be more effective and efficient for us to do what we need to do on offense, which is score more points,” Petersen said.