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Dante Pettis’s four touchdowns lead Washington past Fresno State: Instant Reactions

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Dante Pettis cemented his spot in the FBS record books in leading UW to victory

NCAA Football: Fresno State at Washington Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

The first quarter ended after the contest ended. By the time the official whistle for the end of the first period blew, Washington was leading 27-0. Eventually the clock ran to zero a few more times to end at the final score of 48-16.

Fresno State received the opening kickoff and was able to muster a first down on an 11-yard run before ceding possession over to Dante Pettis and the Huskies. Pettis kicked things off for the Huskies with a double pass(!) to Hunter Bryant on the first Husky play from scrimmage. Four plays later Myles Gaskin was celebrating a 28-yard touchdown run.

For the sake of brevity, here are Fresno State’s next four drives:

Plays: 5 Yards: 17 Result: Punt

Plays: 3: Yards : 1 Result: Punt

Plays: 1: Yards: 0 Result: Interception

Plays: 3 Yards: 7 Result: Punt

There were more Fresno State possessions in the first quarter but I’m going to take a little bit of Internet space to talk about what happened on this punt. Pettis tied two FBS records on this punt return. He has a punt return for a touchdown in three consecutive games and also has eight total for his career. The best punt return unit in college football has at least nine more games to get him the record. It has to be assumed teams will do anything and everything to keep the ball away from him, but Husky fans have to like the odds he ends up with sole possession of the career record.

It wasn’t the first touchdown for Pettis and it wasn’t the last. He caught a pair of fade route touchdowns from Browning to bring his total to three scores for the half. Not to be outdone, Myles Gaskin had three teeders of his own, two on the ground and one with an impressive catch where he held onto the ball while taking hits from two defenders.

The pair’s end zone competition continued into the second half with Dante Pettis scoring on the second Husky play from scrimmage. He made the best out of a bad Browning decision when the Fresno State deep safety got himself turned around and allowed Pettis to settle underneath the ball and meander into the end zone.

Gaskin tried to answer back, but the last carry he was given ended in the hands of the Bulldogs, his first fumble of the season and only the second of his career.

Washington’s defense was stout throughout but the rotation of younger players in the front seven caused there to be some time when ground was given up. There was still never a doubt who was better when the Husky D faced up against the Bulldogs O.

I’m going to be honest and say that I didn’t pay attention to the third and fourth quarters because USC and Texas partied like it was 2006.

Husky Dots:

  • Jake Browning had his best game when it came to throwing the ball within the design of the offense. He felt pressure only when it was there and didn’t run when his first read wasn’t available. He remembered how to look off safeties and throw in rhythm to his receivers. Receivers other than the four-touchdown Pettis were able to catch Browning’s eye. Browning still needed to improvise a little bit but it was only when necessary, a marked improvement over last week. His final stat line was 19-22 for 255 yards and four touchdowns.
  • Brayden Lenius and Aaron Fuller both stepped up. Chico McClatcher was suited up but didn’t play (no idea why as of this writing) and Andre Baccellia and Drew Sample were both out with injuries. True freshman Myles Bryant caught three passes (two from Browning) for 99 yards to lead all Husky pass catchers. Bryant could challenge Austin Seferian-Jenkins for tight end receiving records if he continues to play like he did tonight. Lenius still has some things to clean up—he leaves his feet to catch the ball unnecessarily—but his big frame is something no other UW receivers have.
  • Greg Gaines and Vita Vea continued to make running up the middle very difficult for opponents. Opposing guards and centers have to deal with the pair of monstrous tackles only to find Azeem Victor and Keishawn Bierria awaiting them at the next level. Ben Burr-Kirven played better as well inside. Strangely enough, Bierria didn’t register a single stat despite playing.
  • The only Husky interception was Tevis Bartlett, though the Huskies were very close to a few more. Jordan Miller dropped one and I believe that Elijah Molden had his hands on a potential interception as well. Bartlett will be the one walking away with the defensive game ball I’m sure, though. Not only did he have the interception (and dropped a second) but he also had three tackles for loss and was the only Husky to provide consistent pressure on the quarterback.

Conference play is next!