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Analysis: Huskies' running game shuts down Wildcats


Photo
Josh Fields/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Washington Huskies fullback James Sims Jr. leaps over a pile of players during the first half of play at Arizona Stadium. The Huskies rushed for more than 300 yards in Arizona's 38-14 loss.
By Kyle Kensing
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Monday, November 14, 2005
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To call Washington quarterback Isaiah Stanback's 69-yard first-half-ending hurl to wideout Craig Chambers important is an understatement.

With Arizona leading 14-7 with less than 10 seconds remaining before halftime Saturday, Stanback deflated what little momentum the Wildcats had built in a matter of one pass.

"You could see the momentum change with that play right there," said Arizona sophomore cornerback Wilrey Fontenot.

Although the pass began a 31-0 Washington run to close the contest, the running game was the backbone for the Huskies all night, led by senior running back James Sims.

"Every game we want to establish the run game to set up the pass," said Sims, whose 200 yards on 30 carries shattered his previous career-best performance of 140 yards on 24 carries, set two weeks ago at ASU. "We were able to keep running the ball tonight."

Washington did run the ball.

And ran it.

And ran it some more.

The Huskies rushed for 333 yards on 52 attempts by the time the scoreboard read double-zeros in the fourth quarter.

"They had a good plan, and they exploited us," said senior defensive end Copeland Bryan.

Bryan said the Washington offense showed Arizona's defense a variety of looks, which opened the field to the Huskies.

"It wasn't so much (Sims' running that made Washington successful), it was the scheme their whole offense was implementing," he said. "They executed well, and we weren't able to adjust as quickly as we wanted to."

Part of that scheme included the use of spread-option sets to allow Stanback to share running duties with Sims.

The junior quarterback added 96 yards on the ground, including two rushing touchdowns in the third quarter.

The first came on a 28-yard draw out of a shotgun formation and the second on a bootleg from the Arizona one-yard line.

While Washington was able to repeatedly find open territory to run, the Wildcats struggled to find their collective legs in an 87-yard effort, just one week after gaining 315 yards against UCLA.

"We started off slow," said Arizona senior tailback Mike Bell. "There's really no excuse. We've got to go out and execute, no matter who we're playing."

The Washington defense employed several defensive packages to disrupt the Wildcats' offense, including lining up an extra man in the box, and it paid dividends.

Bell was held to 37 yards on 16 carries, while fellow senior back Gilbert Harris, who had a career-high 113 yards against the Bruins, mustered only 11 yards on seven carries.



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