Washington's defense started the game in strong fashion by forcing a three-and-out on Rutgers' first possession, and Jake Browning wasted little time in capitalizing by connecting with Chico McClatcher on a wheel route for a 43-yard touchdown. Almost immediately, the Dawgs forced a fumble on Rutgers' next possession that outside linebacker Psalm Wooching recovered, and the Huskies converted a fourth-and-four attempt en route to making a 45-yard field goal and increasing Washington's lead to 10-0.
On their next possession, Rutgers caught a break when a fumble recovered by Washington was negated by a holding call against JoJo McIntosh, but the Huskies forced a punt four plays later and took over at their own 15-yard line. Five plays and 1:43 later, Browning hit John Ross in stride for a 38-yard score, extending Washington's lead to 17-nil with 3:42 left to play in the first quarter.
After forcing another Rutgers punt, Browning connected with John Ross for a 50-yard touchdown pass, and the rout was officially on. Washington's 24 first-quarter points tied for fourth-most in program history, and Rutgers earned a paltry 10 yards in the game's first 15 minutes, including -6 yards rushing (including sacks).
With Washington's backups in the game in the second quarter, Rutgers began to find some offensive success, hitting a 25-yard pass that sparked a drive that took the Scarlet Knights to the doorstep of the red zone. However, the defense stiffened and forced a fourth-down incompletion that preserved Washington's shutout. Rutgers later strung together a nine-play drive that resulted in a successful field goal, but they immediately made the dire mistake of sending the ball on the ensuing kickoff to John Ross, who scored his third touchdown of the day by scoring on a 92-yard return. An additional end-of-half field goal gave the Huskies a 34-3 lead into the break.
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