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Grading the Game: Washington at Oregon State

With their chances of reaching certain bowl eligibility at stake, the Huskies dominated Oregon State en route to a 52-7 rout, a score that doesn't reflect just how dominant Washington was in this one.

Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports

For anyone wondering how the Huskies would respond after a dispiriting loss last week and with hopes for reaching six wins and certain bowl eligibility in the balance, consider that question answered.  Emphatically.  Yes, this Beaver team is not good: winless in the Pac-12 so far this season and reportedly down to 50 healthy scholarship players for this game.  But this was the kind of curb-stomping that good teams apply to bad teams, and it marks the biggest margin of defeat on the year for Oregon State.  Washington rolled in this one from the very start, and only Chris Petersen deciding to roll in the backups and refuse to pass the ball starting early in the 3rd quarter kept the Huskies from putting up 70+ points.  Let's review the performances:


You won't see too many passing lines better than what Jake Browning had in this one: 18-20, 211 yards, 4 touchdowns and no picks, good for a 244.6 QB rating.  He was sharp and in command, making great decisions with his RPO plays and even showing off his running on a zone-read good for 11 yards and a first down.  With the run game successfully established early, it was easy pickings for Jake using play-action and finding wide open receivers, and on the rare occasions his guys were well-covered he was fitting the ball in with accuracy and touch.  Jake had 200 of those passing yards and all four touchdowns by halftime in a standout performance.  K.J. Carta-Samuels got extended playing time as he finished the game, but other than one zone-read keeper that went nowhere, his job was to hand off the football.  Grade:  A


All those frustrated at how little Myles Gaskin was used over the last three quarters of last week's game had to be smiling about the gameplan this week.  Gaskin was used early and often in this one as he had 10 carries for 75 yards in the 1st quarter and 19 carries for 108 yards by halftime.  His final line was 23 carries for 127 yards (5.5 ypc) and those numbers could have been much higher had he not been pulled early in the 3rd quarter.  Deontae Cooper was first off the bench with Dwayne Washington still hobbled and the vet looked good, picking up 48 yards on his 6 carries before giving way to Lavon Coleman.  It was more of the same with Coleman as he had his best game of the season, running 7 times for 45 yards.  He showed nice vision and looked a bit quicker than in the past.  Next up was RS-Fr Jomon Dotson who got 10 carries for 27 yards followed by walk-on Ralph Kinne who had the last 7 carries for 18 yards.  When you get all the way to the 5th-string and 6th-string RBs carrying with everyone in the stadium knowing it's coming before the defense can slow down the run game, you know it was a good outing.  Grade:  A


Coming off a rough outing with way too many dropped passes, this was a solid game for the receiving group.  Jaydon Mickens led all receivers with his 7 catches as he was the primary focus in the short passing game and was able to make defenders miss to turn 1 yard passes into more positive plays.  He had a nice grab in the corner of the end zone for a 19-yard TD.  He got a chance on a trick play to throw the ball, but the Beavers weren't fooled and Mickens wisely threw long to avoid the turnover.  Darrell Daniels continued his strong play from last week as he was often the lead blocker on the counter-sweep plays the Huskies featured yesterday and also picked up 43 yards on 3 catches.  Fellow TE Josh Perkins had another good game himself with 3 catches for 57 yards and a TD.  Big Brayden Lenius found himself wide open on a bubble-screen fake for an easy 14-yard TD to open scoring and then added another TD on a slant just before the half.  It should be noted much of the success the Huskies had running the ball came outside the tackles as the receivers were effective in their blocking out on the perimeter.  A special shout-out too to slot receiver Chico McClatcher who showed off his wheels with a jet sweep TD run early in the 1st quarter.  Grade:  A


You could probably nitpick here and there - Browning was taken down twice for sacks and some penalties for example - but the bottom line is the run game had plenty of lanes thanks to the guys up front and most of the time Browning had the time he needed in the pocket.  Andrew Kirkland returned as the starter out at RT after giving way to Kaleb McGary the last two games, and it might not be a coincidence that the offense was humming.  The battle for playing time at RT is going to be fun to watch the next few years.  Thanks to the blowout nature of the game pretty much all the backups got to see action.  It was interesting to see Shane Brostek backing up at C - he'll need to get his snaps more dialed-in, but he looked pretty mobile out there.  Grade:  A


With Elijah Qualls out again it was up to Greg Gaines and Vita Vea to man the middle, and Oregon State found little success running up the middle.  Tani Tupou and Joe Mathis got a lot of playing time, and Mathis in particular looked as active and effective as we've seen in quite a while.  Once the rout was on, Jaylen Johnson, Damion Turpin and Will Dissly got plenty of run.  Aside from the one long run by Paul Lucas the Beaver run game was held in check.  The pass rush didn't generate any sacks, but Nick Mitchell was often hurried.  Grade:  A-


Perhaps the best and the worst play for this group happened on the same play: Beaver RB Lucas bounced out of multiple tackle attempts and got free down the sideline, seemingly headed for an 84-yard TD only to get tripped up at the Husky 8-yard line thanks to the outstanding speed and incredible hustle of Travis Feeney.  The defense would hold and Oregon State would miss the FG attempt, so Feeney's play saved 7 points.  Unfortunately he left the game soon after due to re-aggravating a shoulder injury, and that would be a costly loss for the defense if he can't go next week in the Apple Cup.  Azeem Victor had the hit of the game when he drilled Mitchell and sent the football flying into the arms of Sidney Jones who returned it 10 yards.  There was plenty of work for the backups in this one as you'd expect.  With Feeney out early, Psalm Wooching got a lot of playing time and notched a couple of TFL.  Connor O'Brien also got some time at BUCK and had a QB hurry to his credit.  Deep reserves (and walk-ons) Jake Wambaugh and Matt Preston got into the game late.  Grade:  A


Other than S Jojo McIntosh getting beat by Victor Bolden for a 24-yard TD in the 3rd Quarter, this was a very good game for this group.  Starting QB Mitchell was out of sorts thanks it part to terrific coverage by this group and left the game 0 for 7 pass attempts, and his replacement - Marcus McMaryion - was only 8 for 16.  Jones was in the right place at the right time to recover the fumble caused by Victor and true frosh Jordan Miller recorded his first career interception and returned in 55 yards.  Zeke Turner did get burned on a wheel route by big RB Ryan Nall for a 37-yard gain in the 3rd Quarter - he'll take some grief for that in the film study today.  Grade:  A

Special Teams:

Things got off to a great start for this group with a well-designed and almost perfectly executed trick play on the opening kickoff return.  Trick play specialist Marvin Hall received the kick, ran to the 11-yard line and throw cross-field to McClatcher who was set up at the 10-yard line and got to the OSU 43 yard line before getting taken down.  As a result the Beavers decided to pooch kick on their only other kickoff.  Dante Pettis recorded his 2nd punt return TD of the season and 3rd of his career with a terrific 89-yard run right up the gut of the coverage.  He's now just 1 TD behind Beno Bryant's career record.  McClatcher later added his oThe coverage units were solid, with a 37-yard kickoff return by Bolden the only blemish.  Cameron Van Winkle nailed his only FG attempt, and Tristan Vizcaino did a fair job with his kickoffs.  Grade:  A-


For anyone worried about the mental state of the team after last week's crushing loss, yesterday was an emphatic answer.  HC Chris Petersen had his guys focused from the get-go, and the result was a thorough beat-down.  Consider that the Huskies had a 28-0 lead after the 1st quarter and a 181 to 82 yard advantage.  By halftime it was 45-0 and the Huskies had 329 yards (7.5 yards/play) to just 111 yards for the Beavers.  The Huskies were doing whatever they wanted at that point, and it's a credit to Petersen's sportsmanship that he stopped passing the ball after the first drive of the 2nd half and was content to run out the rest of the game while emptying his bench.

Washington's offense was on-track from the get-go, and the play-calling was what you'd like to see - the run game was established, the passing game flowed off the run game and plays were built off of each other.  The counter-sweep play that was working early for Gaskin led to play-action passes later from the same look and even a zone-read keeper by Browning.  The bubble screens Oregon State saw on film led to a wide open Lenius on his first TD as both defensive backs bit on the bubble look and let Lenius slip behind them uncovered on a go route.  Not only did the Huskies execute about as well as they have all year on offense, this was a well-designed and well-called game by Beaver legend Jonathan Smith in his return to his old stomping grounds.

The defense was similarly focused and playing well.  There was the one breakdown on the run by Lucas where poor tackling once again bit them in the butt, but otherwise they did a great job shutting down a depleted Oregon State offense.  Yes, the Beavers were down several players for this game, and their offense likely would have looked better with running-threat Seth Collins at QB, but it wouldn't have been nearly enough to make them competitive in this one.

Washington dominated from the start and put this game way out of reach by halftime.  A 45-0 nothing edge after two quarters against a Power-5 conference team is impressive no matter who you're talking about, and continues a trend this season where the Huskies dominate lesser opponents.  If they can start getting over the hump consistently against similarly talented (and superior) teams, they will be a force to reckoned with.  Grade:  A