Final | Colorado 20, Huskies 17

Noon | Folsom Field | Boulder, Colorado

TV: Pac-12 Networks | Radio: SportsRadio 950 KJR

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Instant analysis: Three impressions from UW’s frustrating 20-17 loss at Colorado

The Huskies have put together their share of stinkers this season. And while it’s not the worst loss of the year, their 20-17 loss at Folsom Field very well may be the most frustrating of a season that has epitomized the very word.

From the Huskies’ fumbled snap at the goal line on their opening drive, it was clear this would be one of those games that leaves Husky fans with ground down molars and chewed fingernails. 

Here are three impressions from yet another tough game for the Huskies.

—Sean Quinton
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Repeated offensive implosions negate an impressive defensive performance in UW’s 20-17 loss to Colorado

BOULDER, Colo. — First, Ralphie ran.

Jack Lamb followed, football in hand.

On Saturday, at 12:06 p.m., Ralphie VI — Colorado’s latest live buffalo mascot, an 18-month-old, 500-pound female — made her traditional trot around Folsom Field, bounding between four black-hatted trainers before pulling a hard right at midfield and retreating back into the end zone.

Twenty-six minutes later, Lamb — a 220-pound linebacker — produced a similar sprint.

Trailing 3-0 with 2:51 left in the first quarter, UW quarterback Dylan Morris attempted to take a snap from center Luke Wattenberg on first-and-goal from the 3. Instead, the ball fell fatefully to the turf and was booted backwards, before Lamb retrieved it and took off at the 12-yard line.

He bolted untouched into the end zone 88 yards later.

That fumble was the first of repeated Washington offensive implosions.

Which is how the Huskies out-gained Colorado 426-183 … in a 20-17 loss.

Read more.

—Mike Vorel

Final: Colorado 20, Huskies 17

UW turns it over on downs in four plays

The drive: Four plays, 5 yards, 0:44.

The story: Dylan Morris completed his first pass and then threw three straight incompletions. That's the ballgame.

Time left: 1:16 in 4Q.

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UW defense gives Huskies one last shot with 2 minutes left

The drive: Three plays, 7 yards, 0:30.

The story: UW's defense gives the Huskies a chance to tie or win this one with 2 minutes left. UW starts at its own 17.

Time left: 2:00 in 4Q.

Not over yet: UW strikes quickly for 55-yard touchdown

The scoring play: Dylan Morris hits WR Ja'Lynn Polk for a 55-yard touchdown to bring this one back within 3 points.

The drive: Five plays, 75 yards, 1:35.

The score: Colorado 20, Huskies 17.

The highlight:

Colorado scores late touchdown to extend lead to 20-10

The scoring play: Brendon Lewis kept it to rush for a 2-yard touchdown to the right.

The drive: 14 plays, 90 yards, 6:23.

The score: Colorado 20, Huskies 10.

The highlight:

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Dylan Morris throws second interception

The drive: Nine plays, 47 yards, 4:07.

The story: It's comical at this point. UW is again driving just outside the red zone — and the Huskies again turn the ball over. This time, it's Dylan Morris' second interception, in the end zone for a Colorado touchback.

Next possession: Colorado starts at own 10 after penalty.

Time left: 10:28 in 4Q.

The highlight:

Colorado re-takes the lead on a FG

The scoring play: Cole Becker hits a 22-yard field goal.

The drive: Four plays, 3 yards, 1:50.

The story: UW's defense again holds, leaving Colorado to settle for a field goal despite great field position off the Huskies' fumble.

The score: Colorado 13, Huskies 10.

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Third-quarter observations

To return to the theme: UW has outgained Colorado 299-104.

The game is tied at 10-10, and the Huskies are about to trail.

That’s thanks to a pair of lost fumbles, an interception, several disastrous sacks and a missed field goal.

In all, UW’s repeated offensive implosions are threatening to negate perhaps the Huskies’ best defensive effort of the season. Colorado is 0-8 on third down and has rushed for just 36 yards and 2.6 yards per carry.

—Mike Vorel

Colorado recovers UW's bad snap at Huskies' 7-yard line

The drive: Two plays, minus-3 yards, 0:43.

The story: What else is there to say? On their second play of the drive, following a 2-yard pass, UW fumbled a bad snap and Colorado recovered at the Huskies' 7-yard line.

Next possession: Colorado starts at UW's 7.

Time left: 1:25 in 3Q.

UW defense keeping Huskies in this one, forcing another Colorado punt

The drive: Four plays, 3 yards, 1:47.

Next possession: UW starts at own 10.

Time left: 2:08 in 3Q.

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Peyton Henry misses from 49 yards out

The drive: Nine plays, 34 yards, 4:39.

The story: Dylan Morris took an 8-yard sack on third-and-7 at the Colorado 23, forcing the Huskies to settle for a field goal ... and Peyton Henry missed from 49 yards out as a result.

Next possession: Colorado starts at 31.

Time left: 3:55 in 3Q.

Dylan Morris intercepted on tipped pass at Colorado 28

The drive: 12 plays, 39 yards, 4:58.

The story: UW's five-minute, 12-play drive to open the second half comes up empty on Dylan Morris' tipped interception, despite the Huskies driving close to the red zone.

Next possession: Colorado starts at own 28.

Time left: 10:02 in 2Q.

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Halftime observations

UW has outgained Colorado, 214-87.

At halftime, the game is tied 10-10.

That’s thanks to an 88-yard fumble return touchdown by Colorado linebacker Jack Lamb. Otherwise, the Buffs have gone 0-6 on third down and rushed for just 30 yards and three yards per carry, with three consecutive three-and-outs.

On the other side, UW quarterback Dylan Morris has completed 18 of 25 passes and thrown for 183 yards and a touchdown – relying heavily on short passes to his wide receivers and running backs. Running back Cameron Davis has contributed 60 total yards as well.

In truth, UW is a fumble away from leading 17-3. The Huskies will receive the second-half kickoff in a tie game instead.

—Mike Vorel

Halftime: Huskies 10, Buffaloes 10

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Dylan Morris hits Rome Odunze for game-tying touchdown

The scoring play: Dylan Morris passes left to Rome Odunze, who jukes between two tacklers for an 8-yard touchdown to tie this one up.

The drive: Seven plays, 40 yards, 2:48.

The score: Huskies 10, Buffaloes 10.

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Three straight three-and-outs for Buffs

The drive: Three plays, 4 yards, 2:15.

The story: Make that three straight three-and-outs for Colorado.

Next possession: Huskies start at Colorado 40.

Time left: 4:59 in 2Q.

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Another three-and-out for O'Brien

The drive: Three plays, 9 yards, 1:33.

The story: Another three-and-out for Patrick O'Brien.

Next possession: Colorado starts at 15.

Time left: 7:14 in 2Q.

Colorado goes three-and-out on second straight drive

The drive: Three plays, 6 yards, 1:16.

Next possession: UW starts at own 22.

Time left: 8:47 in 2Q.

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UW goes three-and-out in Patrick O'Brien's first drive at QB

The drive: Three plays, 0 yards, 1:37.

The story: Patrick O'Brien came in at quarterback for the first time this season ... and proceeded to go three-and-out without gaining a yard. He attempted two passes, completing one, and was sacked on third-and-9.

Next possession: Colorado starts at own 33 off 23-yard punt return.

Time left: 10:03 in 2Q.

UW defense forces three-and-out

The drive: Three plays, 1 yard, 1:06.

The story: Huskies get a much-needed stop on Colorado's second possession.

Next possession: UW starts at own 33.

Time left: 11:40 in 2Q.

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Huskies cut into Colorado's lead with FG

The scoring play: UW kicker Peyton Henry hits a 30-yard field goal to cut into Colorado's lead.

The drive: 12 plays, 59 yards, 4:43.

The story: After a disastrous first possession, the Huskies were able to bounce back and put together another drive into the red zone. But they came up short, having to settle for a field goal from the Colorado 12.

The score: Colorado 10, Huskies 3.

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First-quarter observations

It was a 97-yard swing.

Trailing 3-0 with 2:51 left in the first quarter on Saturday, UW quarterback Dylan Morris took a snap at the Colorado 3-yard line.

Come to think of it, he never TOOK the snap.

Instead, the delivery from center Luke Wattenberg was fumbled, kicked into the air and recovered by Colorado linebacker Jack Lamb, who sprinted untouched the other way for a 97-yard touchdown.

It was UW’s first time not scoring in the red zone this season, following 31 successful trips. The Huskies were the only team in the nation to enter the game having scored on 100% of their red zone trips.

So that’s how the Huskies finished the first quarter leading in total yards 90-48, while trailing 10-0.

—Mike Vorel

End of first: Colorado 10, Huskies 0

Colorado recovers Dylan Morris fumble, returns 88 yards for a TD

The scoring play: Dylan Morris fumbled on a keeper at the Colorado 3 ... and the Buffalos' Jack Lamb returned it 88 yards for a touchdown. Brutal.

The drive: 12 plays, 63 yards, 7:15.

The score: Colorado 10, Huskies 0

The highlight:

UW wins toss and defers

Ralphie ran

No signs of RB Sean McGrew or DL Faatui Tuitele

No sign of WR Terrell Bynum

QB Dylan Morris working ahead of Patrick O'Brien in warmups

No sign of TE Cade Otton in early warmups

What to watch for when Washington hits the road to take on Colorado, plus Mike Vorel’s prediction

Stuffing the run

Here we go again. UW surrendered 286 rushing yards, five yards per carry in last weekend’s 35-30 loss to Arizona State. To date, the Huskies rank 10th in the Pac-12 in opponent yards per carry (4.86) and 11th in rushing defense (204.8 yards allowed per game). UW is 1-5 this season when it allows more than 200 rushing yards. On the other side, the Colorado running game has struggled to get going, but 185-pound sophomore Jarek Broussard remains a formidable force. In UW’s loss at Colorado in 2019, the Buffs bullied the Huskies to the tune of 207 rushing yards and five yards per carry. If Carson Bruener, Jackson Sirmon, Tuli Letuligasenoa, Sam “Taki” Taimani and Co. can limit the Colorado running game, UW should put itself in position to earn a third consecutive road win in Pac-12 play.

Read about more keys to the game.

—Mike Vorel

Despite staff changes and mounting distractions, UW interim coach Bob Gregory is determined to attack the apathy

“Hello everybody,” Bob Gregory said, facing a ragtag crew of assembled reporters.

One second passed. Two seconds passed.

Hello everybody,” Gregory repeated Tuesday, piercing the sleepy silence.

“Hello, Bob! Good morning, Bob!” responded the previously apathetic media masses.

“There we go!” interjected the 58-year-old assistant, entering his second week as the Huskies’ interim head coach. “A little energy right here. I like it.”

Maybe that makes Gregory the right man for a difficult moment.

Because, considering the circumstances — a 4-6 record, a two-game losing streak, a fired head coach and offensive coordinator — it would be easy for Washington to surrender the season, to sink into the distraction of a coaching search. It would be easy to sleepwalk through Saturday’s noon game at 3-7 Colorado. To wave a white flag. To float with the current.

It’s Gregory’s job to attack the apathy.

Read more.

—Mike Vorel

2021 has been a season of discord, dysfunction and dismay for many Washington state football fans

It was a football season that dawned with immense promise for the three major teams in the state of Washington.

The Seahawks had won 12 games and a division title in 2020, and seemed to have worked through the discontent of quarterback Russell Wilson that flared up after the Super Bowl and lingered through the spring. With a defense that had found its footing in the second half of last season, Seattle’s goal was to get beyond the first-round playoff ousters of its recent past.

The Washington Huskies had similar lofty expectations, boldly stated by their second-year coach, Jimmy Lake. They aimed to compete for the Pac-12 title and be a force nationally. And judging by all the talent that had been amassed on Montlake, and a No. 20 ranking in the preseason AP poll, it did not seem unrealistic.

Read more.

—Larry Stone

Elise Woodward steps up to challenge as temporary UW football play-by-play announcer

Elise Woodward had done just about everything in her long sports broadcasting career, but she had never been a football play-by-play announcer.

The former UW women’s basketball captain can now check that off too.

That’s because Woodward briefly stepped away from her gig as UW sideline reporter for radio — a job she has had almost 20 years — to fill in last Saturday and this Saturday for UW radio play-by-play broadcaster Tony Castricone, whose wife recently gave birth to their son.

“It was the first time I had ever done radio play-by-play and the first time I had done football play-by-play,” said Woodward, the longtime Storm color analyst who does play-by-play announcing for basketball and other nonfootball sports for Pac-12 Networks. “This was one of the biggest challenges of my career.”

Read more.

—Scott Hanson

Without a head coach, what’s keeping UW football’s 2022 recruits committed?

The coach is gone.

But the recruits are still coming.

In the wake of Washington’s firing of second-year head coach Jimmy Lake on Sunday, the Huskies maintain 10 2022 commits — a group ranked seventh in the Pac-12 and 53rd nationally by the 247Sports Composite. (Their average recruit ranking, .8799, sits 24th in the nation and fourth in the Pac-12 — behind Oregon’s 90.59, USC’s 90.35 and UCLA’s 88.42).

The class has also lost four commits in the last calendar year — defensive tackles Ben Roberts and Sir Mells (currently committed to Oregon), outside linebacker/tight end Anthony Jones (currently committed to Texas), and offensive lineman Mark Nabou (uncommitted).

So, considering the program’s 4-6 record and fluctuating coaching staff, what’s keeping UW’s remaining recruits committed?

Read more.

—Mike Vorel