In their second straight week at the greatest setting in college football, the Washington Huskies thrashed the Arizona Wildcats 44-27 in a game that wasn’t as close as the score would suggest.
Last week’s nail-biting victory over the Oregon State Beavers led to criticism throughout Husky Nation, two of the biggest complaints have been about the offense’s lack of versatility and the defensive struggles. Well... I can’t imagine there will be much to complain about tonight, UW dominated all three phases of the game and did so while looking extremely smooth in their new threads.
The Dawgs came out looking like a team with an immense amount of unconfined energy and Arizona felt every bit of it. During the opening drive, redshirt freshmen quarterback Dylan Morris connected with sophomore Puka Nacua for a short completion but the speedy wideout turned it into a 65-yard touchdown, blowing past any Wildcat that tried to chase him at an angle. That drive was 7 plays for 78 yards and lasted 3:33.
Arizona’s first drive was much like lots of their drives, uneventful. It lasted three plays and they only gained eight yards. After being forced to punt, UW talked through their defense for 5:20 as they gained 77 yards on 10 plays but ran into some red-zone trouble which forced them to settle for a 20-yard field goal from junior kicker Peyton Henry. At this point, UW led 10-0.
On the following drive for the ‘Cats, they were not forced to punt this time but that’s only because sophomore linebacker Edefuan Ulofoshio came away with a sack on third down which led to a fumble that was recovered by senior defensive lineman Josiah Bronson. The turnover set up the Husky offense on Arizona’s 9-yard line and two quick runs from Sean McGrew gave UW a 17-0 lead.
The Washington defense continued to smother Arizona which not only meant bruises for the Wildcats, but it also led to more points for UW. The Dawgs ripped off another long drive, going 65 yards in 13 plays while taking 6:39 off the clock. This drive ended in a two-yard touchdown off the legs of sophomore running back Richard Newton. With UW leading 24-0, it was safe to announce that the rout was officially on.
At the end of the opening half, the Huskies had outgained Arizona 267-45 in total yards while also having a takeaway and two sacks which the Wildcats had neither of. Not to break any trends, UW also was dominant in time of possession as they controlled the ball for 21:24 compared to Arizona’s 8:36.
The second half was much more of the same, the Husky defense forced a three and out and the offense drove down the field and finished with a touchdown. The drive was capped off with a 21-yard scamper from senior running back Kamari Pleasant. This one lasted 5 plays and they picked up 51 yards while taking 2:35 off the clock. UW went for a two-point conversion but senior punter Race Porter got rocked at the goal-line which meant the lead was now 30-0.
Another Arizona drive, another defensive showcase for the Huskies as they once again forced a punt, and of course, the offense responded with more points. Morris connected with junior tight end Cade Otton from 20 yards to cap off a 7 play, 47-yard drive, lifting the lead to 37-0.
When the third quarter came to an end, the Huskies held a 37-0 lead and had outgained ‘Zona, 392-66. This is important to point out because once UW’s took their foot off the pedal, Arizona scored four touchdowns in the final quarter to make the score look much closer than it actually was. UW scored a touchdown of their own in the fourth quarter as Newton raced past the Wildcat secondary for a 54-yard house call.
The final score at Husky Stadium was 44-27 as the Arizona Wildcats ran into a Washington team that was clearly not satisfied by their performance a week ago. The play calling was much more fluid as UW took some shots through the air and let their young QB play around a bit more. Morris went 15/25 for 230 yards and two scores. His leading receivers were Otton who had 100 yards on 7 catches and a score and Nacua who only had that one catch that he took to the house from 65 yards out.
Despite the more aggressive approach through the air, the ground game was not abandoned. Newton had 8 carries for 81 yards and two scores which made him the team’s leading rusher. Trailing him were freshmen Cameron Davis who had 8 carries as well but for only 46 yards, Pleasant ran the ball 6 times for 43 yards, and McGrew who ran the ball 11 times for 35 yards.
The Husky defense was special as always even though the postgame stats won’t show it. Their presence was felt by Arizona all night, from forcing punts to breaking up passes to delivering big shots... the UW defense was stellar and special teams did their part as well, even with the missed field goal by Henry.
The Washington Huskies are now 2-0 and even though the media believes it’s a one-team race in the Pac-12 North, these Dawgs could have something to say about that. Up next, is the Apple Cup but with their current situation regarding positive tests, we’ll have to see what happens with the upcoming matchup against the Washington State Cougars.