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Early Offensive Explosion Carries Huskies past Hawai’i, 52-20

Washington took their foot off the gas in the 3rd quarter but were otherwise dominant

Hawaii v Washington Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images

After last weekend’s offensive dud against Cal, the Washington fanbase wanted to see points and see them in bunches. They got that and more in the first half as the Huskies got out to a 38-0 lead and ended up with a 52-20 victory against Hawai’i to move to 2-1 (0-1).

Things got out to a great start as Jacob Eason hit Hunter Bryant over the middle and he rumbled to the end zone for a 49-yard TD strike. Then on the second play for Hawai’i Myles Bryant jumped in front of a pass along the right sideline for the team’s first takeaway on the season. McGrew came in as the running back on the second series and managed to scamper for 22 yards and give the Huskies a 14-0 lead not even 4 minutes into the contest.

Washington got the ball back after a Hawai’i punt and consistently moved the ball again as Salvon Ahmed had a 14-yard run and Hunter Bryant had a 14-yard reception. That set up the moment that Husky fans have been clamoring for when Jacob Eason threw a dime to the right corner of the end zone to hit true freshman WR Puka Nacua for a 25-yard TD and a 21-0 lead.

The defense started to show some cracks on the next several possessions but Hawai’i missed a pair of long field goals to stay off the board. Meanwhile Washington got a perfect 37-yard pass to Aaron Fuller who had about half a step on the Hawai’i DB and then on the next possession a 42-yard run up the middle by Salvon Ahmed which allowed Richard Newton to get into the endzone shortly after on a Wildcat play.

It might’ve been 42-0 Washington after Myles Bryant ripped the ball away from a Hawai’i receiver for his 2nd interception of the night to set up the Dawgs with great field position. However, red zone woes popped up again as a holding penalty moved the ball back from 1st and goal from the 4 and an Aaron Fuller apparent TD was actually short hopped and therefore incomplete. On 3rd and goal from the 7 the Huskies inexplicably ran the wildcat with Newton again and were stopped and kicked a short field goal to make it 38-0.

The game was realistically over at that point but that didn’t stop things from getting dicey. The Hawai’i offense managed to find their stride a bit and put together a 9 play, 82 yard TD drive just before the end of the half to cut it to 38-7. They also took the opening kick of the 2nd half and the returner made a major gaffe by catching the Tim Horn boot and running out of bounds at the 7. It didn’t matter though as the Rainbow Warriors marched 93 yards for another TD to cut the lead to 38-14.

Washington fans started getting flashbacks when a holding penalty was followed by Andre Baccellia dropping an easy quick throw and Hunter Bryant was unable to corral a pass in traffic that hit him in the hands. The possession resulted in -10 yards on 3 plays taking up less than a minute. The Husky defense was clearly exhausted and Hawai’i put together their second consecutive 14 play drive, this time converting on a pair of 4th downs including a 4th and 10 to cut the lead to 38-20 (the Huskies stuffed a Hawai’i 2-pt conversion attempt).

Washington’s offense re-established their rhythm though on a pair of Hunter Bryant catches which went for a combined 47 yards. There was some confusion as a seemingly sure Andre Baccellia was actually called out at the 1-yard line. Which may have been to Washington’s benefit as Andre appeared to drop the ball very close to the goal line and Hawai’i challenged that it was fumbled out of the end zone for a touchback. Instead the Huskies appeared to score on a Jacob Eason sneak which was ruled down at the 1-inch line and Richard Newton scored on 2nd and goal to make it 45-20 with 12 minutes left in the game.

On the next drive Kyler Manu tipped a pass over the middle which Cameron Williams intercepted for the first takeaway of the true freshman’s career. Sean McGrew had a couple of nice runs but Newton once again was called on to punch it in for the score and his 3rd touchdown of the game to put it out of reach at 52-20.

Eason finished the game 18/25 for 262 yards with 3 TDs and 0 INTs. Hunter Bryant was the leading receiver with 5 grabs for 115 yards and the first score of the game. Salvon Ahmed paced the team on the ground with 83 yards on just 8 carries while Richard Newton had 29 yards on the same 8 carries but punched in 3 of them for TDs.

The Huskies will take on BYU next week for their first game away from Husky Stadium on the season as BYU comes off an OT upset of USC. Hawai’i’s loss drops them to 2-1 both against the Pac-12 and on the season.

We’ll have more coverage on this game coming throughout the week.