Chris Petersen stands behind late clock management
SEATTLE (AP) — Washington coach Chris Petersen was still sticking with his chart two days after a disputed decision to run one more play late against Arizona backfired on the Huskies.
Deontae Cooper’s fumble on first down with 1:33 left led to No. 15 Arizona’s field goal on the final play for a 27-26 victory that handed the Huskies their fifth loss against a ranked team this season. Petersen’s decision to have Cooper run rather than taking three knees and punting in the final seconds was hotly debated after the game Saturday and again at Petersen’s news conference Monday.
“The one thing I really want you guys to know is all of it was very calculated,” Petersen said. “So you might not agree with the strategy, but we got our charts all on our game plans and the guys are looking at it upstairs.”
“I’ve looked at it about 105 times, second-guessing it, and if I had to do it again right today, I’d do the same thing,” said Petersen, who believed there would have been anywhere from four to eight seconds remaining if the Huskies took three knees.
Petersen reiterated that he didn’t want to punt the ball and give Arizona a chance to block the kick.
Petersen did acknowledge a mistake in not calling a timeout with about 30 seconds left before Arizona kicked the game-winning field goal. Instead of giving his offense a couple of chances to get into field-goal range, the first-year Washington coach allowed the Wildcats to run the clock down.
The painful loss overshadowed the Huskies’ most complete game of the year.
“I think both sides of the ball, we played really well, a lot of passion, a lot of energy,” defensive lineman Evan Hudson said. “We started out fast and never let up. There’s a few plays here (and) there that you’d like to have back, but it’s football and you can’t. It’s just the way it rolled, so we’d love to just move on to the next game and keep this good play going.”
Next up for the Huskies is an Oregon State team fresh off an upset of a ranked Arizona State squad. The victory put the Beavers at five wins, and with a season finale against the No. 3 Ducks looming, Saturday will be Oregon State’s best opportunity to become bowl eligible.
It will also be the final home game for a group of Washington seniors that has been to four consecutive bowl games following one of the darkest periods in program history.
“It’s pretty crazy, it went pretty quick,” Hudson said. “Five years and this will be the last time I’ll be running out on the field at Husky Stadium, so it’s pretty surreal.”