Chris Petersen hoping No. 7 UW gains an edge following first loss

Nov 15, 2016, 7:00 AM | Updated: 8:31 am
Washington's offense was held to just 13 points in its loss to USC, the first of the season, last S...
Washington's offense was held to just 13 points in its loss to USC, the first of the season, last Saturday. (AP)

In the Washington Huskies’ 10th game of the season, they finally suffered their first loss. But while last Saturday’s defeat to USC delivered a significant hit to UW’s national title hopes, it is still well in reach of its first conference championship in 16 years.

That’s why the Huskies’ final two regular-season games – this Saturday against Arizona State and the Apple Cup in Pullman the following week – still have plenty riding on them.

“We need to learn from it and we need to respond,” coach Chris Petersen said Monday in regards to the USC loss. “Sometimes everything goes really well for you in the season and it’s like, it doesn’t always go like that. I’ve been saying it all along. I just really believe on any given night in this league, who we play, who we are, we could get knocked off.”

Not only does Petersen want his team to learn from the loss, he hopes it gives them a little extra drive.

“I hope our guys have a new edge to them a little bit,” he said. “If you’re so disappointed because of this loss with all this football left to be played, then you’re in the wrong locker room and you haven’t been hearing a word that we’ve been talking about. There’s a lot of football left and awesome things to play for.”

The Huskies just may need that edge considering they are heading into the end of the Pac-12 schedule and the postseason without two of their most important defensive players. Linebacker Azeem Victor, UW’s leading tackler, is almost assuredly done for the year after undergoing surgery for a fracture in his right leg on Sunday, joining leading pass-rusher Joe Mathis (foot surgery) on the sideline.

The impact of those two absences was already felt against USC. Without Mathis, the Huskies struggled to get a grip on elusive Trojans quarterback Sam Darnold from the outset. And after Victor was carted off in the first half, the middle of the field opened up for USC and Darnold, who took advantage on the way to a 26-13 win.

Asked about the depth behind his two star linebackers and if it was possible the Huskies could ever get to the point that they wouldn’t see a drop off in production when key players go down, Petersen was realistic in his answer.

“I don’t know if anyone does that. Maybe Alabama,” he said. “I think every coach in America, for the most part, you get a really good player and you lose him – you might have a good young player, but they’re just not there. I don’t know if you ever get there.”

Brent Stecker

Mariners Cal Raleigh...
Brent Stecker

The Mariners found the perfect way to finally end the drought

There was only one path for the Mariners to get back to the playoffs, and two products of that path delivered Seattle's clinching victory.
5 days ago
Mariners J.P. Crawford Jarred Kelenic...
Brent Stecker

State of the Mariners: Where things stand with magic number at 2

The Mariners' magic number is down to two. We detail what that means, plus everything you need to know about the playoff race and the team.
7 days ago
Mariners Mitch Haniger...
Brent Stecker

Where Mariners’ quest for playoff spot stands after collapse in KC

How fans should be feeling about the Mariners' chances of ending their postseason drought in less than two weeks and how they are actually feeling right now are probably two different things.
11 days ago
Mariners Harry Ford...
Brent Stecker

Top Mariners prospect Harry Ford lights up WBC qualifiers

The season for the Modesto Nuts, the Mariners' Single-A affiliate, may have ended over a week ago, but one of the Nuts' best players is continuing to rake.
16 days ago
Mariners Luis Castillo...
Brent Stecker

Mariners Takeaways: 4 things to know as playoff push hits final turn

The Mariners have 20 games left, and they sit comfortably in a playoff position. A look at the rotation, standouts and the wild card picture.
22 days ago
Mariners Ty France...
Brent Stecker

5 things that stand out after Mariners’ huge series win over Guardians

The Mariners picked up a huge series win over the Guardians this weekend.'s Brent Stecker breaks down five things to know.
1 month ago
Chris Petersen hoping No. 7 UW gains an edge following first loss