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Slow start, but Huskies put away Fighting Hawks: North Dakota Instant Reactions

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More impressive catches from the WRs kept the offense alive in a lethargic showing.

NCAA Football: North Dakota at Washington Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

If you anticipated a hangover from the Auburn game, you were right. From the start, Washington struggled against the physicality of North Dakota and kept making offensive mistakes of their own. The run game couldn’t get going as the offensive line without Nick Harris was continually getting beat at the point of attack. It was still a blowout, but a much less impressive showing than expected.

However, it was again the deep balls that kept the Washington offense moving. Fuller and Pounds made great catches and Gaskin punched it in for a TD to make it 17-0 at halftime. The game was never really in doubt, but Washington’s sluggish play kept it relatively close.

NCAA Football: North Dakota at Washington Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

Things finally started to turn for Washington with Cade Otton’s TD to make it 24-3 late in the third quarter. Then in the fourth, the run game finally got going: Ahmed got loose a few times before McGrew ran through two North Dakota defenders on his way to the end zone to make it 31-3.

The game didn’t come alive again until Jake Haener came in for Browning during the fourth quarter. He immediately went to the air, hitting Ty Jones who finished the drive with a one-handed TD grab. From there it was an exercise in time killing, as Washington went on to win 45-3.

Reaction Dots:

  • The OL without Nick Harris was very problematic at times. They were a pleasant surprise against Auburn but any sense of optimism was quelled with the performance today. They did a poor job picking up blitzes and got little push in the run game.
  • Cade Otton’s first catch as a Husky went for a TD.
  • Speaking of firsts, Ty Jones opened his Washington account with a TD from his first catch on the day.
  • Teams seem to be having success running on second downs against the nickel defense, taking advantage of the lack of the big bodies. Something to keep an eye on moving forward.
  • Cole Norgaard got his first game time at center during the Huskies’ third TD drive, in the third quarter. Don’t know how much Jesse Sosebee we will see going forward, especially if Harris comes back.
  • Are this year’s early season run game struggles just more of the same that we’ve seen in the past? It’s been a frustrating trend that has to reverse itself if Washington wants to have a chance against Utah.
  • Joel Whitford did not play as Race Porter took all four of the Huskies’ punts, averaging 47 yards per.
  • It was nice to see Chico McClatcher get going after being so banged up recently. He averaged 18 yards per catch on his 4 touches.
  • Jake Browning was playing with a large knee brace on his right leg, but his mobility looked fine.
  • After a fairly gutsy performance last week, Browning did not have his best game. He missed some open receivers and the two interceptions were poor throws.
  • Defensively, it’s hard to argue with 3 points, but it still feels like the lack of playmaking ability in the front 7 will hurt Washington down the line.
  • Sean McGrew had a hole a bus could drive through, but showed impressive power as he carried two defenders for 7 yards, bowling his way into the end zone. Seems like he’s firmly entrenched as the third RB.
  • Jake Haener made his Husky debut with about 10 minutes left in the game and completed his first pass, a strike to the sideline for Ty Jones. Henry Bainivalu got in the game too at LG.
  • On the same drive, he dropped an absolute dime over the top for Ty Jones. His final stat line: 7/7, 110 yards, 1 TD. He made multiple impressive throws in his limited time.
  • Tuli Letuligasenoa got in the game as a true freshman. Zion Tupuola-Fetui joined him later and were the only true freshmen to play so far this season.
  • The rumors are indeed true - Joe Tryon is as impressive an athlete as there is on this Husky team. If he puts it all together, watch out.
  • Washington plays Utah next week in a massive Pac-12 opener, on the road. There are gaps that need closing and questions still to be answered on this team. We’ll see what they’re made of next week in Salt Lake City.