After managing little production against the stingy LSU defense, coach Steve Sarkisian and his team are hoping to find a new rhythm quickly.
The hope for Washington in the aftermath of Saturday’s 41-3 loss to LSU is that the Tigers are really as good as they looked.
And that the Huskies are not as bad.
“The final score, it doesn’t reflect how we are as a team,” said safety Sean Parker. “I don’t feel like they are 38 points better than us. But we learn from things like that.”
And UW coach Steve Sarkisian made it clear that despite the blowout loss, the team’s goals haven’t changed.
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“At the end of it,” Sarkisian said after the game, “all this is (just) one of 13 games,” — the reference to a 13th game meaning a postseason game, as UW has just 12 on its schedule.
LSU certainly looked like a team capable of again playing for the national title with a clinical beatdown of the Huskies.
LSU scored on seven of eight possessions from the end of the first quarter to the beginning of the fourth while forcing UW to punt on seven straight following Washington’s field goal, which came less than a minute into the game after the Tigers fumbled away the opening kickoff.
The game was so bereft of drama that many fans left after halftime.
New Orleans Times-Picayune columnist Jeff Duncan called it “little more than an exhibition game” in a column Sunday, writing that the Tigers got no more competition from the Huskies than they had from North Texas in their opener.
“Definitely frustrating,” said UW senior cornerback Desmond Trufant. “You never want to get blown out; nobody wants to get blown out. We’re better than that.”
UW will have to wait awhile to prove it, however, as the Huskies next play Portland State, a member of the FCS Big Sky Conference which on Saturday lost to North Dakota, 45-37.
The Huskies have gone seven quarters since their last offensive touchdown, with the only thing preventing a shutout Saturday being UW’s early field goal.
“I think it’s crazy,” quarterback Keith Price said of the touchdown-less streak. “Stuff happens. It’s only the second game, so we just have to keep putting gas in the motor and keep pushing.”
The biggest offensive liability against the Tigers was an inability to run. The Huskies were held to 26 yards, and zero through the first three quarters.
Sarkisian knew it wouldn’t be easy to run against a perennially stingy LSU defense. But he had thought the Huskies could get at least enough of a run game going to take some pressure off Price.
“We just had a hard time on first-and-10,” he said. “It got really difficult for us. We were living in second-and-long, which in turn put us in a lot of third-and-longs, and against this team and their style of play it’s going to be a long day for you if you are living in second- and third-and-longs.”
Price completed 7 of 11 passes on first down for 55 yards and was sacked on two other attempts as the UW offensive line struggled to hold off LSU.
Price was sacked four times and has now been dropped seven times in two games — only eight teams are allowing more per game.
In more ugly numbers, UW ranks 117th nationally out of 120 in total offense, averaging 255.5 yards, and is 114th in rushing offense at 66 per game and 93rd in passing offense at 189.5.
Afterward, Sarkisian said the Huskies were still trying to find their identity offensively.
The hope is that it’s easier to locate away from the Bayou.