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Make No Mistake About It, the Huskies Are Way Overdue for Turnover

The UW has been shut out in this extremely important defensive category in two games.

Jeremiah Martin was in the right place, at the right time, with the wrong hands.

Against Montana, the University of Washington outside linebacker and Texas A&M transfer alertly backed into the opposing end zone and momentarily had possession of a Grizzlies pass before the ball fell harmlessly to the ground incomplete. It was a great play that didn't quite happen.

In two games, that's the closest the Huskies have come to forcing a turnover. Their supposedly big-play defense has pitched a pair of shutouts in creating fumble recoveries and interceptions. 

It's one reason the UW is 0-2. It can't come up with anything gift-wrapped. It can't put an opponent back on its heels and make them sweat a little.

As coach Jimmy Lake explains it, Husky opponents primarily have run the ball on his defense, thus limiting opportunities for momentum-changers to emerge such as strip sacks and pass thefts, or the stuff that injured Zion Tupuola-Fetui regularly used to create last season.

The trouble with that argument is what about someone just coming up and smacking those dedicated enemy ball-carriers and separating them from the football? They're getting plenty of chances on the UW side. 

Either way, the Huskies haven't gone consecutive games without a turnover since the beginning of the 2019 season, when they were blanked against Eastern Washington and California. 

They collected a turnover in every one of their four games last year, yet during that aforementioned 2019 season they went 5 of the 13 games without making something happen with a fiery change of possession.

What's maddening about all this now is the UW has a pair of starting cornerbacks in Trent McDuffie and Kyler Gordon who are as speedy and instinctive as any they've had recently, and they're eager to get their hands on the ball.

To their credit, Gordon and McDuffie are pushing each other to come up with that first interception, even betting a video game on it. 

"It's every day," Gordon said of the competition. "That's all we compete for is who will get this, who will get that, who can make this play, who can make that? It's just competition, who's gonna do it? It's all about doin' it."

On Saturday, the Huskies face Arkansas State, a team that exhaustively has thrown 104 passes in two games, serving up so many attempts that a secondary rightfully might expect an interception or two.

However, the Red Wolves have completed 70 of these aerials and not tossed an interception yet. Rotating two efficient quarterbacks, they've been mistake-free in the pass game.

The UW, rightfully so, needs more out of its defensive front to force some errant throws, whether the rushers are coming from inside or on the edge. It's also time for some of those Huskies to rattle a running back or two and make them lay the ball on the ground.

With bad weather forecast for Saturday afternoon's game, that usually helps bring out turnovers in bunches, no matter what kind of offense a team runs. 

It's time for the Huskies to win a football game, to use some timely turnovers to make that happen, and to utilize the great players that Gordon and McDuffie are. 

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