The Huskies snapped one streak and continued another with their 51-27 win at Arizona.
Washington, which trailed 17-13 at halftime, had lost the previous 10 games when it was down at the break. Surprisingly, UW outscored Arizona 38-10 in the second half. It was the first time the Huskies have won while trailing at half since 2015.
The Huskies, who lost 23-13 last week at Stanford, also ran their streak to 8-0 in games following a defeat.
Saturday night’s win temporarily silenced the critics and keeps Washington (5-2, 2-2) in the hunt for the Pac-12 North Division title ahead of next week’s pivotal showdown with Oregon at Husky Stadium.
Here are three impressions from UW’s win at Arizona.
RED-ZONE AND THIRD-DOWN ISSUES CONTINUE
In the first quarter, Levi Onwuzurike blocked a punt, Kyler Gordon recovered a muffed punt and Sean McGrew ripped off a 44-yard run to highlight three Washington drives that ended in the red zone. However, the Huskies had difficulties on short-yardage situations without redshirt running back Richard Newton (left-foot injury) and managed just six points early on. Newton’s absence was felt. On its first drive, Washington failed to convert on third-and-two and fourth-and-one. Those would have been situations in which UW would have relied on Newton to run in the “wildcat” formation. The Huskies converted just (3 of 12) third-down situations.
UW’S DEFENSE SCORES BIG
Washington’s defense, which forced four turnovers, reached the end zone before the offense. The Huskies were the beneficiaries of a ridiculous turnover from Arizona quarterback Khalil Tate, who lost the ball while trying to escape pressure in the pocket. Linebacker Brandon Wellington scooped and scored on a 5-yard fumble return early in the second quarter. In the third quarter, Myles Bryant stripped the ball away from receiver Jamarye Joiner and Trent McDuffie picked up the fumble. It was the third fumble recovery, including Gordon’s recovery on the muffed punt. Linebacker Ryan Bowman came up with the final turnover in the fourth when he jumped high to deflect a pass from Tate before diving and laying out for a sure-handed interception.
WILL THE REAL HUSKIES STAND UP?
The score says Washington dominated Arizona, but for 2½ quarters this game could have gone either way. The Huskies were extremely impressive in the second half, but there are still questions about an offense that managed just six points in the first half. Jacob Eason delivered an uneven performance while completing 15 of 22 passes for 243 yards and two touchdowns. Many UW fans had their wish fulfilled when freshman Puka Nacua delivered a breakout performance with three catches for 97 yards. Junior receiver Jordan Chin and redshirt freshman tight end Jack Westover had their first receptions of the year, which is a good sign for a beleaguered receiving corps.