Things go from bad to worse for Washington with top defender out for year

Washington's dream season of making the College Football Playoff is still alive, but it has been a rough week for the Huskies.

First, coach Chris Petersen confirmed earlier in November that linebacker Joe Mathis, the team's leading pass rusher and most disruptive player in the backfield, would miss the rest of the season with a foot injury.

Then, Washington lost to a red-hot Southern California team 26-13, putting its final four hopes in some jeopardy.

On Monday, Petersen announced the team's leading tackler, linebacker Azeem Victor, had surgery on his broken right leg Sunday. The injury will end Victor's regular season, at least. Victor needed an air cast and was carted off during last Saturday's loss to the Trojans when he made a tackle during the second quarter.

"I know when one of our guys gets carted off it's not going to be good," Petersen said after the game.

Victor has 68 tackles on the season.

The combined losses of Victor and Mathis cannot be overstated. The ability to stop the run and get pressure in the backfield with its front seven was one of the reasons why the Huskies were so dangerous. However, Washington gave up more than five yards per rush in October -- Mathis has been out since sustaining his injury vs. Oregon on Oct. 8 -- and did not get much pressure on USC quarterback Sam Darnold.

Washington should be able to weather the injury storm against Arizona State, but the Apple Cup against Washington State very well may decide the Pac-12 North. The Cougars have been one of the hottest teams with eight straight wins since dropping to 0-2 to start the year.

CBS Sports Writer

Ben Kercheval joined CBS Sports in 2016 and has been covering college football since 2010. Before CBS, Ben worked at Bleacher Report, UPROXX Sports and NBC Sports. As a long-suffering North Texas graduate,... Full Bio

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