Though is took longer for them to hit their stride than most fans had expected, the Washington Huskies finished Saturday’s game against the Oregon State Beavers with a decisive 42-7 road victory, with OSU’s only points coming against the backups late in the fourth quarter. For the Huskies, who own a 5-0 record and have outscored their opponents 220-54, dreams of a repeat Pac-12 championship and return bid to the College Football Playoff remain alive and well.
Rushing Offense: A
Saturday’s ground game was a workmanlike affair: Steady and productive without being too flashy or particularly memorable. Myles Gaskin and Lavon Coleman ran for 113 and 70 yards while averaging 7.5 and 7.8 yards per attempt, respectively, and Jake Browning’s four runs for positive yardage netted the Huskies a touchdown and one third-down conversion. Discounting the three sacks Browning took that resulted in the loss of 26 yards, the Huskies ran the ball 38 times from scrimmage for 242 yards, averaging a healthy 6.4 yards per carry. Even better, the offensive line allowed just two tackles for loss that set the Dawgs back a manageable five yards.
Passing Offense: A
After a relatively quiet game last week against Colorado, Dante Pettis burst back onto the scene this week against the Beavers by collecting 12 catches for 105 yards and all three of Jake Browning’s passing touchdowns. His six touchdown receptions on the year now ranks second in the conference and sixth nationally. Browning also completed six passes to his tight ends Hunter Bryant and Will Dissly, who are quickly establishing themselves as formidable weapons in Washington’s passing offense, and Quinten Pounds hauled in a key 40-yard reception on Washington’s first series of the game to set up the Husky offense just outside of the red zone. Browning completed 26 of his 34 passes (76.5 percent) for 293 yards and three touchdowns against one tip-drill interception; his 2017 passer rating now sits at 175.71, best in the Pac-12 and sixth in all of college football.
Rushing Defense: A+
It doesn’t get much more dominant than allowing 35 yards on 17 carries and zero touchdowns through three quarters, after which the starters came out of the game and the Beavers did a drastically better job in terms of the box score. The Husky defensive line allowed the OSU offense to get virtually no push the entire game, as the front seven defenders consistently met Beaver ball carriers at or behind the line of scrimmage. Tevis Bartlett, Austin Joyner and Levi Onwuzurike all earned a tackle for loss, and Ben Burr-Kirven once again lead the team with six tackles; his 38 tackles on the year leads the team and ranks ninth in the conference.
Passing Defense: A+
Washington’s secondary continues to live up to its lock-down reputation, as Darell Garretson became the latest QB to suffer through a miserable day courtesy of the Husky defense. Starting in place of the injured Jake Luton, Garretson completed just 11 of his 22 pass attempts for a pitiful 74 yards, an average of 3.4 yards per attempt and a horrific 12.2 QBR. Perhaps most remarkably, running backs Ryan Nall, Artavis Pierce and Thomas Tyner lead Oregon State in receptions, meaning that no wide receiver caught more than one single reception — and this from a team that trailed the entire game following Washington’s first offensive series! If that doesn’t earn an A-plus, I don’t know what does.
Special Teams: B
Here, we have a rare opportunity to legitimately criticize an aspect of Washington’s performance. Tristan Vizcaino missed his sole field goal attempt, a 42-yarder, late in the second quarter that would have pushed Washington’s lead to 10 points. That was his last appearance of the day on scoring opportunities, an apparent sign that he has lost the confidence of Chris Petersen. As a result, Van Soderberg attempted the day’s remaining PATs and is now listed alongside Vizcaino as a co-starter on the Washington depth chart. Elsewhere, Salvon Ahmed and Sean McGrew each had an unremarkable kickoff return, and Dante Pettis wasn’t afforded the opportunity to return any of Nick Porebski’s eight punts.
While there’s much to like about Washington’s start to the day — the defense forced a punt after six plays, which the offense answered with a crisp 10-play, 98-yard series that culminated in a touchdown — the offense clearly didn’t live up to its potential for the remainder of the first half. One of the worst things a road-favored team can do is allow the home underdog to hang within striking distance on the scoreboard, and there’s no question that the Beavers went into the locker room at halftime with the wind at their backs after holding the Dawgs scoreless for nearly 22 minutes of the first half. Credit the Husky coaching staff for making the necessary halftime adjustments that led to the 42-7 final score, but it’s hard to escape the notion that those same adjustments should never have been necessary in the first place.
What overall grade do you give the Huskies for their performance against the Beavers?
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