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Offense-Challenged Huskies Get Evicted from Big House, Lose 31-10

UW begins the football season 0-2 for the first time since the winless 2008 campaign.
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A trip to the Big House on Saturday night in Ann Arbor, Michigan provided nearly everything. An enthusiastic crowd of 108,343. National TV cameras. A storied Big Ten-Pac-12 match-up.

Still missing was the University of Washington offense, which agonizingly failed to show up for more than a John Donovan minute for the second consecutive weekend.

Somebody send out a search party.

Put a GPS tracker on Donovan's cell phone and see if they can find where the beleaguered offensive coordinator is hiding.

See if anyone can locate some Husky yards and touchdowns.

Yet once again the UW showed up with just a half a team and it was hardly enough to survive a high-profile college football trip to the Midwest and all of its pageantry, and a lifeless 31-10 defeat resulted.

Jimmy Lake's dispirited Huskies began a once-promising season 0-2 — their first such woeful start since the 0-12 Ty Willingham meltdown of 2008. 

"What really would have helped is if we could get something done on offense, and we didn't," a somber Lake said on his postgame radio show. "That's something that's happened two weeks in a row and we need to get it fixed."

First it was Montana taking advantage of this glaring yard-gathering shortcoming, for possibly the greatest victory in that FCS school's history.

This time, Michigan was salivating from the opening kickoff at the prospect of playing the team that couldn't shoot, run or pass straight.

The Wolverines had plenty of offense to go around for everyone. Tailback Blake Corum got loose for 177 yards and 3 touchdowns on 21 carries, and his backup Hassan Haskins supplied 155 yards and a score on 27 tries. 

Michigan, which threw the ball just 15 times, enjoyed an imposing 343-50 advantage in rushing. That was embarrassing.

The Wolverines (2-0) got things started with a 52-yard field from Jake Moody in the first quarter to grab a lead they would never give up. 

The Big Ten staple built an ample cushion with Corum's 67-yard touchdown sprint in the second quarter and 7-yard scoring run in the third, and later a 4-yard score in the final period.

The UW response?

This shakily Donovan-designed offense opened the game in a ridiculous manner — it was called for a delay-of-game penalty. Quarterback Dylan Morris failed to get off the snap in time ... after these guys had run in from the sideline.

On the first official play, tailback Richard Newton lost 2 yards. And so it went.

Donovan, the Huskies' seemingly-in-big-trouble offensive coordinator, couldn't summon any sustained production whatsoever from his guys. Counting the season-opening Montana disaster, the UW went 19 consecutive offensive drives without scoring until Peyton Henry kicked a 28-yard field goal in the third quarter. 

While the offense welcomed back previously injured receivers Terrell Bynum and Jalen McMillan for reserve duty, it struggled with its once ballyhooed but now continually chastised line.

Center Luke Wattenberg and left guard Julius Buelow had to leave the action temporarily with minor injuries but returned, though it was hard to notice when the positions changed hands.

All-Pac-12 left tackle Jaxson Kirkland even got schooled a few times by Michigan's superlative edge rusher Aidan Hutchinson. 

Coming off that nominal Montana disaster, the Huskies made just two game-opening lineup changes, incredibly both on defense, not offense. 

Junior Alex Cook stepped in for redshirt freshman Kamren Fabiculanan at free safety and redshirt freshman Jacob Bandes opened as a third defensive lineman, replacing redshirt freshman Faatui Tuitele, who previously held that role. 

Funny, the offense seems like it needs a drastic personnel shuffle. Some might loudly suggest a new quarterback would be a logical place to start.  

Morris struggled mightily, completing just 20 of 37 passes for 293 yards and a score, most coming after the game was decided. Newton led the Huskies with a paltry 24 yards rushing on 12 carries.

In the opening quarter, the Huskies generated just 18 yards of total offense and a solo first down that came on nothing they did — it was a gift, a roughing-the-passer call on Morris, who was hit by Michigan's Christopher Hinton near the end of the period.

Michigan opened the scoring on its second offensive possession of the game on Moody's 52-yard 3-pointer that cleared the crossbar easily.

After a 3-and-out, the Huskies had their only real redeeming moment of the game when they survived a shanked punt and came up with a successful goal-line stand on their 1. Linebacker Edefuan Ulofoshio stuck his nose into Haskins to blow up the fourth-down play.

Yet the Wolverines wore down the overused UW defense to put some distance between themselves and their visitors. Corum went over the left side to wide open spaces and ran away from Fabiculanan to cover those 67 yards to the end zone and a 10-0 lead.

While the offense needs a complete overhaul, Lake's players also proved highly undisciplined at times, incurring costly penalties.

Buelow got caught shoving Michigan linebacker Nikhai Hill-Green off his feet and was flagged for a personal-foul penalty and 15 yards, ruining the UW's second possession. Husky tackle Vic Curne and Hill-Green got into it first and Buelow tried to police the situation and foolishly got caught. 

In the third quarter, sophomore safety Dominique Hampton was whistled for a taunting call and 15 yards. Michigan wide receiver Mike Sainristal made a catch and tried to leap over Hampton, who pulled him down. The Husky defensive back inadvisedly stood over his opponent and no doubt told him he was a lousy hurdler. 

Five plays later, the Wolverines' Haskins scored from 6 yards out and the home team held a comfortable 24-3 early in the fourth quarter. 

With 12 minutes remaining, the UW scored just its second touchdown of the season, and first in seven quarters. Donovan's guys finally perked up and moved 75 yards in 5 plays for a 22-yard scoring pass to Bynum from Morris. Setting up the play was a 33-yard throw to the former Michigan man, Giles Jackson.

Husky offense, what a novel concept.

The UW, with a couple more scores under its belt, will now try to find the win column next Saturday against Arkansas State at home.  

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