Six minutes into the first quarter after UW had forced a Cal punt on September 7, a message lit up the video board that stated there was an extreme weather warning and fans should seek cover in the concourse of the stadium.After the three hour lightning delay, the Huskies did not come out with the fire they had to originally open the game. The players seemed fatigued which worked heavily in Cal’s favor — who has one of the strongest defenses in the country. All week, fans heard how good Cal’s secondary is and they proved the hype from beginning to end.
The Huskies were able to take a 10–3 lead into halftime after senior running back Salvon Ahmed scored UW’s only touchdown of the game with a 21 yard run on an important 4th down play to give them some much needed momentum. Ahmed seemed to be the only type of offense they had all night and finished with 119 yards on the ground.
The Golden Bears came roaring out of the gates in the 2nd half easily scoring touchdowns on their first two possessions, where the Husky defense seemed to have no answer for the Cal rushing attack. This was not the defense fans were used to seeing, as the obvious fatigue was starting to become a big factor for the defensive line and linebackers in charge of stopping the run.
Between the two Cal touchdowns, UW was able to put a field goal on the board, but still were down 17–13 going into the fourth quarter. The Huskies were able to put together two solid drives but were never able to score another touchdown and had to settle for field goals. This gave them a 19–17 lead with two minutes left in the ballgame. Cal continued to march down the field and kick a game winning field goal with twelve seconds left, giving the Huskies little time to make any sort of comeback.
The game itself was almost an exact duplicate of last year’s game when Cal upset UW 12–10 — an ugly defensive battle where the offenses struggled the whole game. This was also only a week after quarterback Jacob Eason shredded Eastern Washington’s defense for 349 yards through the air in the Huskies’ 47–14 win.
What made this year different was the odd feeling of having a three hour gap in between two plays in the middle of the game. The game already had a late 7:30 p.m. start time, which caused a large number of fans to head to the exits before the game resumed, leaving a half empty Husky Stadium. This is no excuse for the loss, however it is obvious that it played a big role in the rest of the game. Head coach Chris Petersen recognized the absence of the fans but wanted to make clear that did not have any effect towards the players.
“We did a good job rallying and we went out there and played,” Petersen said in his post game press conference. “Both sides had to do the same thing and I don’t think that had anything to do with the outcome. It would have been nice to play the game and keep our fans in the stadium and all that.”
Although the loss is disappointing, the Huskies still have a long season ahead and if they make the right adjustments, they will be back in the middle of an exciting race for the Pac 12 championship and a chance at another Rose Bowl appearance.
The Huskies now turn their attention to a showdown in Utah with BYU, their final non conference game of the season.
9/28 vs USC
REMINDER: UWT students can purchase discounted student tickets by calling the UW athletics ticket office a week before every home game.