Washington needed to make a statement after going down to Arizona State in the desert, and the exclamation point was put on by the run game. UW ran for 333 yards and all five of its touchdowns.
The first quarter was more of a defensive affair until the very end, and the first break came with a 3-3 tie but with the Dawgs driving. UW had been struggling to move the ball consistently, but the power run game found success late when the offense started to increase the tempo, as the only pass play on the nine-play touchdown drive was a screen called to Lavon Coleman. He made an athletic catch and shed two tacklers en route to 35 yards.
UCLA was able to answer with its touchdown, balancing six runs versus four passes with Josh Rosen completing an eight-yard score to Jordan Wilson to cap it off. The next two plays didn’t highlight UCLA’s special teams ability. The extra point was missed then Salvon Ahmed made it down to the Bruins’ 20 before he was touched on the following kickoff, going down at the 18. It took Washington two plays to send its defense back out there with a 17-9 lead, though it came at a cost. Hunter Bryant appeared to hyperextend his knee on a 17-yard completion before Coleman punched it in following the injury timeout. Bryant didn’t return.
The Bruins failed to muster much offense for the rest of the half, with only a handful of first downs and no sustained success. Washington was able to muster another field goal attempt for Tristan Vizcaino, who hit every one of his attempts on the day.
Washington hit the field running in the second half both offensively and defensively. The D forced a punt in three plays while the offense ran six straight plays before running a wheel route to Myles Gaskin that was intercepted by Darnay Holmes, the first interception in 84 throws for Jake Browning. It was only his sixth pass attempt of the game.
Thankfully for Browning, his defense picked him up and forced another punt and also forced Rosen to the locker room. All Browning had to do on the next series was hand the ball off and let other guys go to work, as Ahmed and Coleman combined for 67 yards (Gaskin ran for negative-two) on two carries.
From there it was a whole lot of running the football for Washington and nothing anybody really cared about for UCLA due to the Rosen injury. Kamari Pleasant fumbled an exchange between K.J. Carta-Samuels and the Bruins returned it for a score.
- Jonathan Smith haters, shut the hell up. You want commitment to the run game? The Dawgs threw 11 passes versus 47 rushes before Browning put on the headset. Browning wasn’t right and when the quarterback is struggling as much as he has been, this is exactly what you would want to see. He was able to put his running backs in position to succeed, riding the back of a dominant performance by his offensive line.
- Speaking of the offense, Browning needs to figure out what is causing his issues. His confidence looks shot from the outside looking in but with someone who has his track record the issue probably isn’t that simple. We know he can turn it around.
- Tristan Vizcaino didn’t miss a kick, and only one looked not-great. His longest field goal attempt was 31 yards.
- Coach K has really mixed up his pass pressures this season and this game was no exception. Pressure was brought from the corners and safeties. Austin Joyner even registered a sack. Josh Rosen was under pressure until he was knocked out of the game.
- If other teams follow suit, Myles Bryant is going to be a busy guy. He was targeted over and over by UCLA receivers, ultimately giving up a touchdown to Devon Modster and Darren Andrews on a perfectly executed fade that Sidney Jones would have had difficulty covering.
- UCLA came into Husky Stadium with one of the best offenses in the country. They left averaging less than four yards per play. The UW defense might be better than last season’s edition even without a dominant edge rusher. Vita Vea was the best player on the field when the UW defense was busy stopping UCLA from moving the ball.