Sometimes it is hard to select just one person to win a game ball. There are great performances across the board, many players stand out which means none of them really stand out. That wasn’t the case for the Husky victory over Utah.
Offensive Game Ball: Myles Gaskin
The Husky run game was on point as a whole. If the pass blocking was on par with the run blocking (a really high bar) then this game ball would be ending within the hard drive of Coleman Shelton’s laptop.
Gaskin started the season off slowly, not notching his first 100-yard game until Washington took on Stanford in UW’s fifth game. That has been his worst (by total yards and yards per carry, he still scored two touchdowns) game since its opening kick. His power is back, as shedding tacklers is coming much easier for him, whether it is breaking tackles or avoiding defenders altogether.
Against Utah, Gaskin busted out his spin move multiple times, leaving his defenders face-down in the turf. One of his best runs was his touchdown: a nasty juke left the defender charged with outside contain grasping at air. He was making the right reads in the run game, hitting the right holes and not going down without two defenders dragging him off his feet.
Defensive Game Ball: Azeem Victor
Yes, he had a boneheaded mistake to taunt his friend Troy Williams after a third-down stop that resulted in a Joe Williams touchdown on the very next play. That takes a bit of the shine off of his performance, but it is still the brightest performance from the defense. Victor totaled 16 tackles, 10 without any help and one being behind the line of scrimmage.
Victor was at times the only player with the athletic ability to find Joe Williams and bring him down. Without Victor, Williams would have had another 200-yard rushing effort and Utah very well could have won the game. Instead, Victor was able to compose himself after his two third-and-goal penalties (the second being a facemask) to be the best UW’s best player.
Most Important Play: Dante Pettis punt return touchdown
Yeah there might have been a block in the back but there also may not have been a block in the back. Pettis holds the school record with five punt return touchdowns. None of them have come in a bigger spot than this. It is the most important play because it won the game.
It was an exceptional play that is also the winner of the Most Impressive Play award. Four different Ute defenders had the opportunity to lay a hand on the shifty Pettis. None of them were able to feed Pettis to the Turf Monster.
Before the play, Washington fans were wondering if Jake Browning was going to muster his Heisman moment with the game tied and three and a half minutes on the clock. After Pettis shook his first defender, all those day dreams were wiped and minds buzzed the possibility that soon became an inevitability.
I don’t have an award for this unless I just created a Ben Just Decided That He Wanted To Talk About It Award but I think Gabey has a monopoly on that. Jake Browning is behind Lamar Jackson in almost every talking head’s opinion. I completely understand that, Lamar Jackson is Michael Vick but better. Browning didn’t do himself any favors today with his arm to make up any ground.
What Jake did was make a Heisman-caliber punt. Pooch punts are something that I don’t hate with a passion but I believe that most situations where a pooch punt would be used would be better served by going for it.
Anyways, back to Browning’s kick. He was able to drop it away from the safety (who was running way off the field as soon as the ball hit Browning’s foot) and roll it all the way down to the one-inch line before it was downed. Browning’s punt was able to set up a game-winning play by backing Utah back against the goal line before the ill-fated punt.
I disagree with myself from two sentences earlier. Jake Browning had his Heisman moment. It was a pooch punt.