Any chance No. 15 Washington had at somehow getting a spot in the College Football Playoff was erased Saturday night following a surprising 23-13 defeat at Stanford.
The Huskies (4-2, 1-2 Pac-12) lost ground to Oregon in the Pac-12 North division race and suddenly look very vulnerable heading into next week’s game at Arizona, which is riding a four-game winning streak and leads the South division at 4-1 overall and 2-0 in conference.
The Huskies are 1-2 in the Pac-12 for the first time since 2015 when they finished 4-5 in conference and 7-6 overall following a win over Southern Mississippi in the Heart of Dallas Bowl.
Here are three impressions from Saturday’s loss at Stanford.
UW defense battered and beaten by Stanford reserves
It’s one thing to get skewered by Stanford quarterback K.J. Costello or run over by former Cardinal running back Bryce Love. But Costello sat out Saturday night with a thumb injury and Love graduated and plays in the NFL.
Despite a plethora of injuries, especially on the offensive line which forced Stanford to rely on three freshmen for most of the second half, the Cardinal racked up 482 yards and controlled the game with a deliberate attack that dominated the time of possession 39:01 to 20:59.
Can’t remember the last time Chris Petersen and the Huskies lost to a backup quarterback. And yet, Davis Mills, who made his second straight start, outplayed his counterpart, Jacob Eason, while carving up the UW secondary for 293 yards and a TD on 21-of-30 passing before leaving the game due to injury.
Meanwhile, Stanford running back Cameron Scarlett outgained the Huskies 151 to 88.
Risky plays goes awry for UW
Down 13-10 early in the third quarter at the Stanford 13, Petersen opted against a 31-yard field goal attempt by Peyton Henry, who finished the game 11-for-11 on the season. Instead, the Huskies tried to pick up a first down on fourth and 2.
However, Eason’s pass across the middle to receiver Andre Baccellia was stripped away by cornerback Paulson Adebo and the Huskies were turned away.
The decision loomed large considering because Washington didn’t have very many scoring opportunities the rest of the way.
What happened to Eason?
Eason started the game 5 of 5 and looked spectacular while orchestrating a 10-play, 75-yard touchdown scoring drive on UW’s first possession.
However, Stanford sent a wave of defenders at Eason, who was constantly on the run and scrambling to avoid pressure. He finished with 206 yards on 16-of-36 passing, which was his fewest receptions in a game this season. The constant pressure resulted in two sacks and forced Eason into a bad throw in the fourth quarter that was intercepted.