ESPN was able to make a dominant win by the Huskies a sideshow by hypercriticism of Chris Petersen’s comments about late starts and the Washington non-conference schedule. We’ll get to that, but the final score was 38-7 because Journalism school told me not to bury the lede.
The Huskies wanted to get Dante Pettis on the field quickly to give him as many chances as possible to break the FBS record for punt return touchdowns (he didn’t get it this game). Cal opened up the game with a single advancement of the chains on the first drive. Hunter Bryant used the first Husky drive to show the world why he is playing as a true freshman.
On third-and-16 Bryant started the play on the right side of the formation while Jake Browning was afforded the time to allow his tight end to make it all the way to the left sideline 30 yards down the field where the two connected with Bryant leaping into the air and tapping both feet in bounds while getting hit by a pair of defenders.
It wasn’t his most acrobatic catch of the drive. Simultaneous possession is a rarely applicable but very important rule, as “tie goes to the runner” meant “touchdown Bryant” as he wrestled for the ball with a defender in midair in the end zone on a pass that shouldn’t have been thrown.
UW’s defense held Cal to zero points and only 46 yards for the entire first half. Quarterback Ross Bowers was constantly under duress, taking four sacks while the Dawgs rarely sent more than four rushers. Each sack was credited to a different player: Jaylen Johnson, Taylor Rapp, Benning Potoa’e and Tevis Bartlett.
Those sacks pushed Cal’s rushing total for the first half to NEGATIVE NINETEEN YARDS. NEGATIVE NINETEEN. If you aren’t picking up what I’m laying down then that means when the ball didn’t make it into the air Cal went an average of backward.
The Washington offense wasn’t as dominant as the defense but if it was then Washington would be the best team in the AFC North (shameless plug: for more Washington NFL content, tune in Monday for NFL Dawgs!). Despite that, the Huskies still went into the break with 24 points, which could have been more but for a missed field goal by Tristian Vizcaino.
The second half was more of the same. Cal couldn’t move the ball on offense and the Huskies moved the ball well when they held the ball, though things could have been better. Cal was able to reach the end zone on a scoop-and-score after Pettis had the ball punched from his grasp on a screen.
A few short Dots for a late night. I’m just as tired as Chris Petersen from this 7:45 p.m. start. Watching a TV screen and drinking Elysian Night Owl Pumpkin Ale (no, I’m not paid; it’s just good) is exhausting.
- JoJo McIntosh had been quiet to my eye for most of the season so far. He was not tonight. He took fewer poor angles to the ball and was able show his tendency to lay people out.
- Hunter Bryant might be good. He also might be better than that. His final line: nine catches, 121 yards and a touchdown. He was making athletic catches all over the field and was very efficient with his opportunities. Only twice was he targeted and failed to come down with a reception. He led all receivers in yards.
- UW’s defense was better than it was at any point last season. Ryan Bowman and Tevis Bartlett created pressure from the edges. Vita Vea was the best player on the field. The secondary was plastered to the receivers, allowing the pass rushers to garner some hustle sacks. The final total was eight.
- West coast sports fans love our little man syndrome (sorry to the short fellas out there). We get belittled by the east coast media all the time so when it is our time in the sun we make sure everyone sees us. When we are slighted, the backlash is fervent. Browse @UWonSBN and you should have a good time with the response to the narrative against Washington right now.
- Washington’s offense wasn’t perfect but it was pretty darn good. Browning threw for two touchdowns and ran for another. Myles Gaskin scored twice while just missing the century mark for yards. He averaged only 3.8 yards per tote. Browning’s yards per attempt was not too impressive at 5.4 yards. If the defense continues as it has, though, it won’t matter until the College Football Playoff. Drew Sample and Andre Baccellia both returned from injury in limited duty.