Washington Football: Huskies rebound against Colorado, 3 Takeaways

Benning Potoa'e, Ben Burr-Kirven, Washington football. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Benning Potoa'e, Ben Burr-Kirven, Washington football. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images) /

It took a quarter to get going, but Chris Petersen’s Washington football team was able to shake off last weeks overtime loss to beat Colorado. Their 27-13 win kept the Huskies alive in the PAC-12 North.

Washington football rebounded from a heartbreaking overtime loss to Oregon by beating Colorado at home Saturday 27-13. Washington shook off the loss to take down the PAC-12 South Division leaders. Here are three takeaways from the win.

Sluggish start for the Huskies

The last couple of weeks have been taxing for Chris Petersen’s team. Two weeks ago, UW hung on to beat then-winless UCLA. Injuries were also beginning to mount, the following week against the Ducks. Myles Gaskin was out against the Buffaloes with a shoulder injury. The defense was starting to feel the wear and tear of carrying the team at the beginning of the season.

You could sense that the Huskies were headed for a struggle against Oregon. They battled hard but lost, Petersen knew that his team was fragile. Thus, Petersen’s “Stay Positive” press conference following the loss. He even had a shirt with the message across the front.

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Now you get the feeling that the coach probably saw a sluggish start coming against Colorado. And he was right. The Huskies allowed an 80-yard drive to the Buffaloes on the first offensive possession. There was a feeling at the time, maybe the hangover from Oregon was real. Washington would fight off the slow start, but the early moments were concerning.

When your team needs a boost, do the unconventional

Chris Petersen took Boise State to two Fiesta Bowls so he knows how to coach. One of his best attributes, in my mind, is knowing his team well and what buttons to push. Not only did he and the coaching staff make the necessary adjustments to hold Colorado to 86 yards of offense in the second half, but he also trusted his senior quarterback in the fourth quarter.

With less than four minutes remaining and the Huskies holding a precarious 17-13 lead, Petersen decided against sending his erratic kicker on for a long field goal. Instead, he went for it on fourth and five. Jake Browning made a great read and threw a quick slant against the Buffaloes blitz to wide receiver Aaron Fuller.

That play went for a 26-yard game-sealing touchdown. It was the correct decision and play call for a team that needed it. The defense had been solid in the second half, but in the last two games had shown some fatigue.

It was a prime example as to why Chris Petersen is as successful as he his. He trusted his team and they came through for him with a huge play.

The leadership on the Huskies is a huge asset

This had all the makings of a letdown game and home loss to Colorado that would put the final touches on a disappointing season. UW was down after the Oregon loss, then fell behind after a lethargic defensive effort on the first Colorado drive.

Other teams may have lost this game, but the Huskies leaders on offense and defense would not let that happen. Browning did not have his best game, going 15 for 25 for 150 yards and an interception before the big fourth down score.  The senior quarterback made a big play at a crucial time.

Defensively, Ben Burr-Kirven struggled some in the first half, especially in pass coverage  Colorado was making plays on crossing routes and dump-offs against the linebacker. But like Browning, Burr-Kirven responded by making 15 tackles and picking off Colorado quarterback Steven Montez late in the fourth quarter.

Next. Huskies wide receiver Aaron Fuller. dark

Both senior leaders made the big play when it counted. They were vital considering the Huskies could not drop their second game in a row.  Coach Petersen stayed positive all week and it paid dividends when his best players rose to the occasion. The Huskies can now ride some of that momentum into their next game against 4-3 California in Berkley.