The Huskies suffered their third loss of the season, this one a slow grind on the road at Cal. Here are Adam Jude's quick thoughts from Berkeley.
BERKELEY, Calif. — The Cal Bears stunned the No. 15 Washington Huskies, 12-10, on Saturday at Memorial Stadium, dropping the Huskies to 6-3 overall and 4-2 in the Pac-12. Here’s our instant reaction to the game:
Change of the guard at QB?
With 1:56 remaining in the third quarter, with the Huskies clinging to a 7-6 lead and their offense sputtering, Washington turned to redshirt freshman QB Jake Haener.
With 1 second remaining in the third quarter, California led 12-7. Haener’s second pass after replacing senior QB Jake Browning was intercepted by Cal’s Evan Weaver and returned 37 yards for a touchdown, giving the Bears their first lead of the game. Haener remained in the game for the next series, completing one pass to Andre Baccellia for an 11-yard gain, but again the Huskies had to punt.
After UW’s defense forced a three-and-out, UW got the ball back at its 45-yard line with 11:37 remaining in the game — and Browning was called back from the bench. After UW’s defense forced another three-and-out, Aaron Fuller returned a punt from midfield to the Cal 22-yard line.
Browning completed a 23-yard pass to Ty Jones to the 9-yard line, but UW’s offense stalled after that. The Huskies wound up settling for a 26-yard field goal from Peyton Henry, cutting Cal’s lead to 12-10 with 4:51 let. The Bears were then able to run out the clock.
What’s up with the offense?
Those offensive reinforcements can’t get here soon enough. Here’s the good news: Standout senior running back Myles Gaskin (shoulder) dressed and took part in warmups Saturday. Standout sophomore tight end Hunter Bryant (knee) dressed and took part in warmups Saturday too.
The bad? Neither played against Cal. Standout senior left tackle Trey Adams is another week — or two — away from returning to game action, too. The Huskies need them. They need all the help they can get.
Washington’s offense, once again, was listless and disoriented. It started with such promise: The Huskies drove 64 yards on 14 plays, getting a nine-yard run from Browning to convert on fourth-and-8 and taking a 7-0 lead on Browning’s three-yard touchdown pass to Jones in the back of the end zone. After that, bleh.
The rest of the game felt very much like the Huskies’ inexplicable loss on the road Arizona State in October 2017. If the Huskies are going to make a serious run at the Pac-12 North title — with Stanford, Oregon State and Washington State still on the schedule — UW’s offense has to be better than this.
Washington’s defense did its part once again. The Huskies held Cal to just 40 yards of total offense in the Bears’ first four drives of the second half. Cal’s defense, led by former UW defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox, was just as good, holding Washington to a net total of 250 yards — and just 91 yards on the ground on 33 carries (2.8 yards per carry). The Cal defense forced two turnovers and held Salvon Ahmed to minus-2 yards on eight carries.