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Instant Anaylsis: Washington Huskies Dominate the Arizona Wildcats 49 - 3

This is the Halloween game that everybody was hoping for and nobody was watching.

Jennifer Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Yes, you read that headline correctly.

The Huskies made a big statement on Halloween night with a huge 49 - 3 victory over the Arizona Wildcats.

Where was this all season?

I don't know, but beleaguered UW offensive coordinator Jonathan Smith has a message for all of you:

Jake Browning's return to the starting lineup after suffering what had looked like a serious shoulder injury in the Oregon game was the obvious story line of the night.  Against a struggling Arizona defense, Jake Browning had the best game of his young career, surpassing the 200 yard passing mark and adding in four TDs to boot.

I've got some instant dots here for you.  Just put down that bite size Snickers bar and those delicious Almond Joys and eat them up.

  • Let's start with this:  This was not the game I was expecting tonight.
  • We'll talk a lot about the UW offense.  But let's first talk about UW's defense.  Specifically, I would like you to know that Arizona not only entered the game with the PAC's top scoring offense, but they also had averaged nearly 20 points per game in the first half.  UW held them to three.
  • Browning was the obvious story of the game.  He had a true breakout game tonight.  He passed for 263 yards on just 24 pass attempts and his 4 touchdowns was a career high.  Forget about the quality of the defense that he played tonight.  What was really impressive all night was how he patiently worked the middle of the defense early in the game and then, as Arizona adjusted, he started looking more to the perimeter for offense.  Of course, Jonathan Smith gets some credit for that, but the QB execution was truly excellent and the kind of savvy you should not expect out of a freshman.
  • The Huskies scored a touchdown in the first quarter tonight.  UW had scored only seven points in the first quarter for the entire season previously.  Getting the UW offense a lead early in the game remains an elusive if not obvious priority.
  • I continue to be impressed with the overall effort levels on the defense.  The subtle but important aspect is the continued denial of big explosive plays.  Against a the PAC 12's best offensive - at least statistically - UW (at least as far as I can recall in an Instant Analysis piece) did not allow a single play longer than 20 yards.  That's truly remarkable.
  • It was interesting to see Chico McClatcher get some reps as a straight up running back tonight, wasn't it?
  • Interesting factoid:  Arizona was once ranked #16 in the AP poll early in the season.
  • With the O-Line opening holes tonight, the continued struggles of Dwayne Washington as a rusher continues to be one of the great mysteries of this season.  Hopefully, his long rushing TD gets him going again.
  • TE Joshua Perkins may not be having the kind of season that we were all hoping for, but you can't deny his productivity as a pass catcher.  The SI mid-season All American was especially noticeable tonight - particularly in the second quarter when he converted a critical third down reception just before he put up UW's second TD.
  • We've been ripping a lot on Jonathan Smith around here, but you have to give him some credit for how he's been adjusting.  The second drive in the first quarter is a good example.  The whole drive was rushes for Myles Gaskin and wheel routes for Dwayne Washington ... the two things in the playbook that have been there all year.
  • A nice night for the Defense all around.  It was nice to see UW rack up some turnovers after a couple of weeks of slim pickings.  How about JoJo McIntosh with his first INT of his career?
  • One of UW's failed third down conversions involved Jake Browning hitting a referee square in the chest on a play that saw Jaydon Mickens wide open on a slant.  It's been that kind of year.
  • Interesting to note that, after Dante Pettis got dinged up on a second quarter out of bounds incident that was curiously not flagged, Chico McClatcher was the next punt returner off of the bench for UW.
  • I admit it.  I like the blackout uniforms.  Whaddaya say Travis Feeney?
  • I do wonder if the UW staff fully recognizes the dire situation of it's WR situation.  Even in victory, the receivers were barely a factor.  Watching the dropped passes (hi, Brayden Lenius) and the continued struggles in perimeter blocking is borderline alarming.
  • So, what is it with UW's defense and giving up third an long conversions?  Watching Jared Baker convert a third and 12 from inside his own 10 at the end of the second quarter had me wishing I was back at the third grader Halloween party I had left with my daughter earlier in the day.
  • I've been pretty harsh on UW receivers all season, but I continue to think that true freshman Isaiah Renfro is a legit plus player right now and one who has a chance to be one of the really good ones.
  • Jake Browning definitely has a better pooch punt than Anu Solomon.  #Coaching.
  • Speaking of coaching, did anybody notice Jeff Choate coaching (hard) Jake Browning on the sideline in the first half.  I wish FS1 would have stuck with that shot.
  • It's hard to discount the value of the early 21-3 that UW established in this game.  The big lead forced Arizona to keep Jerrard Randall on the bench and created a lot of opportunities for UW to really stress the advantage that they had with their LB blitzes and BUCK pressures.
  • For the record, there was one successful bubble screen to Jaydon Mickens that was run tonight.  And it was Dante Pettis who was 100% responsible for making the play happen with a block from his slot position. I wasn't paying too close of attention, but I do not recall any others being run.
  • Hey Michael Elitise, whas up?
  • Bowl eligibility is the second most important story coming out of this game.  UW now has four games to find two wins.  A post season qualification is of enormous importance to a very young UW team that really needs another 15 practices (and, please, somebody tell me why bowl ineligible teams shouldn't have the right to run those same practices).  Arizona, on the other hand, now has a difficult path ahead with one win still needed and USC, Utah and ASU all that is left on the schedule.