The No. 4 University of Washington Huskies struck the first blow in their College Semifinal match with the No. 1 Ranked Alabama Crimson, unfortunately for the Dogs when the final whistle blew it was the Tide who delivered the hardest and most debilitating blows.
Going into the match, the Huskies needed to play a flawless game and hope for a fortunate bounce or two if they were to move past the Tide and play for the National Championship on Jan 9th in Tampa Bay.
UW SCORES FIRST
Washington looked to have remembered the script when quarterback Jake Browning hit Dante Pettis with a 16-yard pass to give the Huskies the 7-0 lead after eight minutes had elapsed in the first quarter. The Tide absorbed the Huskies early blow to the gut and promptly marched 78 yards down the field and tied the game at 7 all when Bo Scarbrough the games offensive MVP scored on a bruising, tackler shedding, 18-yard run. Scarbrough finished the game with 180 yards rushing and two touchdowns.
The Huskies defense stiffened after the Alabama score and it looked like an upset was more than just a pipe dream after holding the Tide offense to a 41-yard field to start the second quarter. All that was needed for the dream to come true was some momentum building first downs and a score by the Washington offense. More importantly, the pregame boxing script was clear and simple, take care of the ball and avoid turnovers.
The dream turned into a full blown New Year’s Eve nightmare when Bama outside linebacker Ryan Anderson intercepted a Jake Browning pass and ran 26 yards for a pick six with 1:13 left in the first half. It was the debilitating blow the Huskies could not overcome. In a game they needed to combine some rope a dope boxing with counter punches, the Dogs forgot the pregame script and went straight at the heavyweight champion. A costly mistake according to Husky head coach Chris Petersen,
“There’s kind of those hidden quarters in the game, and the last five minutes of a half is always really important that you at least get a stalemate. You don’t want the momentum going against you at halftime, but that was really big. They did a great job. They brought the blitz and we had all guys out and Jake tried to get rid of it and the end that peeled did a great job, made a great play.”
To blame Huskies loss on one play would be downright ridiculous and inaccurate. The Huskies played a team that had more talent and experience. The Huskies first teamers showed they are just as talented. The difference is that Alabama’s second stringers can start for Washington. That’s not a knock on the Huskies. As Washington continues to recruit top talented players, its depth will grow and enable the team to go toe to toe against teams like Alabama who talented from top to bottom.