The seventh-ranked Washington Huskies played against FCS opponent Montana. There was one outcome that was anticipated, and it happened. Washington walked away with a victory easily in hand, 63-7.
Everything judgement from this game has to be taken with a heart attack-inducing amount of salt due to Washington playing an FCS opponent in Montana. For example, the Huskies won’t convert third-and-13 often against Pac-12 opponents. Jake Browning isn’t going to snake his way out of seven tackles on a single scramble against any Pac-12 opponents.
That said, Washington dominated as would be expected considering the difference between the two programs. Washington converted the aforementioned third-and-13 on its way to scoring on the opening drive of the game and forced Montana to punt on its first drive, notable that it was kicked away from Dante Pettis.
Browning made one of his not smartest plays of his career by throwing to an already-held Dante Petts inaccurately. The ball bounced up into the air and tumbled into the arms of Josh Sandry who made his way to the painted area to tie the game up at 7-7. What followed was another Husky touchdown and Montana punt until the highlight of the week occurred.
Dante Pettis is athletic, in case you didn’t know. It’s difficult to see just how athletic he is because of how smoothly he moves. Here is another reminder:
Pettis breaking DeSean Jackson’s Pac-12 record was almost overshadowed on Washington’s next offensive series by
running back left tackle Trey Adams submitting his entry for the Piesman trophy by catching a lateral from Browning and lumbering to the two yard line before having all 330 pounds of him upended at the two-yard line.
Unfortunately for Washington, Drew Sample’s ankle bent sideways and he limped off the field in the first quarter and didn’t return. Montana native Will Dissly was able to make up for Sample, however. He more than doubled his career catches with five. Dissly had two scores — would have been three if he could have found a way to carry the entire Montana defense on his back (he was close).
Sample wasn’t the only Husky to go down in the first half. Andre Baccelia was actually leading the Huskies in receiving with five catches for 58 yards on five targets before he was forced to leave with an injury. Washington’s pass catchers weren’t finished with their trips to the injury tent as Dante Pettis joined the limp party.
Jomon Dotson might get a few looks as a punt returner after the former running back showed off his return abilities on an impressive pick six where he reversed field twice on his way to paydirt.
The game was a blowout. Very little else could have been expected. Here are some takeaways in easy-to-digest Dot form:
- Washington had a number of true freshmen come in to the game. Hunter Bryant played a bit after Sample’s injury; Jacob Kizer caught a pass. Salvon Ahmed was the second-team bellcow and also had a handful of carries with the first team. The second team defense had Elijah Molden, Keith Taylor and Brandon McKinney rotating through the secondary. It’s good to see them getting game action.
- It took until the second quarter for Browning to act on what he was seeing pre and post-snap. On the TV view it is hard to see if this was the fault of the receivers or of Browning, but at least he was able to throw on time for a while.
- Washington’s offensive line asserted physical dominance over the Montana defensive front. Anything less would have been concerning.
- Montana was content to throw the ball short repeatedly in an attempt to circumvent any pass rush the Huskies could muster. It made it difficult to make any sort of judgement on the biggest question mark on the defense so far. I did zero in on a few pass rush snaps for Benning Potoa’e and admittedly didn’t like what I saw. He attempted a speed rush and was easily washed out of the play by the tackle and had a play that was the offensive line equivalent of pulling the chair out. Potoa’e took a step upfield then attempted to engage the blocker for some sort of pass rush move. The tackle took a step back and left Potoa’e stumbling, barely keeping his feet.
- Jake Browning was able to beat Montana linebackers to the edge. Browning is an athletic pocket passer, not an athlete playing quarterback. There was a little bit of a massive athletic gap between Washington and Montana.
- Washington didn’t allow any points defensively.