The Huskies did exactly what a top ten team should do against a team like Fresno State, as they put the game away early Saturday. They scored 27 unanswered points by the end of the first quarter, en route to a comfortable 48-16 win.
Now the Huskies will face easily their toughest test of the young season when they head to Boulder, Colorado for a rematch of the 2016 Pac-12 championship game against the Buffs.
Before turning our attention toward next week’s showdown, let’s close the book on the Fresno State game by taking a look at the Huskies’ standouts in all three phases of the game.
Offensive Player of the Game: Dante Pettis
Dante Pettis scorched Fresno State Saturday. He finished the game with five catches for 92 yards and three touchdowns. The majority of those yards came from a 73-yard bomb from Browning, which was good for Pettis’s third (offensive) touchdown of the night. Pettis also showed that he could be a real terror in the red zone this season, as he connected with Browning on two fade routes to the back of the end zone, showing off superb footwork and separation on both scores. Opposing defensive coordinators will have to think long and hard about playing man to man against the senior wide receiver in the red zone after his performance on Saturday.
The runner-up here is Jake Browning, who went 19/22 for 255 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions. This was arguably the best Browning has looked since the first half of the season last year. He looked confident in the pocket, did a great job using his eyes to move the defense, and also distributed the ball around to a plethora of wide receivers, which was an added bonus for Huskies fans concerned that the wide receivers not named Dante Pettis had been conspicuously absent from the passing game the first two weeks of the season.
Also, freshman tight end Hunter Bryant deserves a shoutout here, as he finished the game with three catches for 99 yards. It was a very nice showing for the young freshman from Eastside Catholic, who showed off his highly touted pass-catching ability Saturday.
Defensive Player of the Game: Tevis Bartlett
Tevis Bartlett finished the game with five tackles - four of which were solo tackles - three tackles for loss, and an impressive interception early in the first quarter. Bartlett showed tremendous balance and athleticism on the interception, which helped set up the Huskies’ first quarter offensive explosion. He nearly recorded a second interception in the second quarter as well. While he didn’t record a sack, the junior from Wyoming also showed up in the pass rush on Saturday.
Austin Joyner was the runner-up, as he led the team in tackles with six, and also recorded two tackles for loss. It was a nice season debut for the sophomore defensive back, who served a two-game suspension to start the season.
Special Teams Player of the Game: Dante Pettis
I mean, seriously, what else can I even say here? Dante Pettis recorded his third straight game with a punt return this season, which puts him at 8 punt returns for his career, and good for a tie for the NCAA record. With nine games left to go in the season, it’s not hard to think that Pettis will set the NCAA record. Regardless of whether or not Pettis sets the NCAA record, what he has done early in this season has been simply incredible. Pettis is easily the greatest punt returner in school history, and Huskies fans should enjoy watching him while they can.