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Washington Dominates Stanford 44-6: Instant Reactions

Given the opportunity to announce themselves as one of the nation’s elite teams, Washington seized its chance and never looked back.

NCAA Football: Stanford at Washington Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

Every fan base has games they point to as being seminal classics that they will never forget. Auburn has the Kick Six in the 2013 Iron Bowl, Pete Carroll-era USC has the Bush Push, and the Washington Huskies of the 1990s have the “All I Saw Was Purple” game against USC. Tonight’s victory over No. 7 Stanford, giving Washington a 5-0 record for the first time since 1992, feels like another entry into the pantheon of such games.

It’s not merely that Washington won this game, it’s the way they did so: through pure, unadulterated, unforgiving domination. Stanford didn’t score its first points until nearly 45 minutes of game time had elapsed; at that point, the Huskies held an edge of 30-6 points, and 317-197 yards earned including 122 rushing yards against Stanford’s 29.

NCAA Football: Stanford at Washington Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

Jake Browning turned in his finest performance as a Husky, completing 15 of 21 pass attempts (71.4 percent) for 210 yards and three touchdowns against zero interceptions for a QB rating of 202.6. Between them, John Ross and Dante Pettis caught eight passes for 142 yards and two touchdowns, and Myles Gaskin finally looked like the running back we fell in love with last year, rushing 18 times for 100 yards (5.6 yards per attempt) and two touchdowns.

Defensively, Washington erased just about every concern raised last week at Arizona by limiting Stanford to 3.7 yards per play, including just 0.7 yards per rush. Against Boy Wonder Christian McCaffrey, that’s amazing. In addition, the Huskies recorded eight sacks after the Cardinal had allowed just four in their first three games.

NCAA Football: Stanford at Washington Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

This week’s edition of instant reaction dots:

  • For the generation of Husky fans who watched Washington win seven games during Ty Willingham’s four-year reign of terror, for the generation of Husky fans who saw losing streak after losing streak under Sark, this was your moment. There’s obviously a lot of accomplishments to be made before these comparisons are made valid, but this game feels like the turning point we will point back toward years from now and say, “That’s when Washington became elite again.”
  • The Huskies could not have hoped to better dominate the first quarter of play. After the game’s first 15 minutes, Washington led 13-0 and gained 124 yards to Stanford’s 40. However, the Dawgs also committed four penalties for 45 yards. Without those penalties moving the chains, Stanford had just about no semblance of momentum.
  • Psalm Wooching played the game of his life tonight, racking up three sacks and one forced fumble.
  • When it is rocking, Husky Stadium is one of the country’s most intimidating venues in college football. There’s no doubt that the crowd had a tangible effect on the game, especially on Stanford’s blown-up fourth-down attempt in the second quarter.
  • Washington sacked the Stanford quarterback six times IN THE FIRST HALF. The last time the Cardinal allowed five in an entire game was 2008.
  • Christian McCaffrey’s 2016 Heisman campaign died an ignoble death tonight after he gained just 79 yards from scrimmage. It’s a damn shame he didn’t win it last year, because he sure as hell deserved it.
  • Even when Stanford did something good by forcing a three-and-out on Washington’s first possession of the second half, they couldn’t get out of their own way by causing an errant fumble on UW’s punt when the ball struck a Stanford defender in the back. Washington capitalized on that mistake when Myles Gaskin scored his second touchdown of the game. In many ways, that play was the story of Stanford’s entire evening.
  • I can’t imagine anyone associated with the Washington program executing better than they did tonight, be them players on the field, Chris Petersen for his preparation, Jonathan Smith and Pete Kwiatkowski for their offensive and defensive play calling, Bob Gregory for his work on special teams ... the list goes on.
  • The only real blemish on the evening was Christian McCaffrey’s 57-yard kick return in the third quarter. But even that broke Washington’s way when Elijah Qualls absolutely destroyed Ryan Burns on fourth down inside the Washington 10-yard line, giving the Huskies the ball and preserving UW’s shutout.
  • Next up, Oregon. If I’m not mistaken, it’s been a game or two since Washington last beat the Ducks.