On a windy evening in Husky Stadium, Washington gutted out a 24-21 win over Oregon State that wasn’t always pretty nor it was it ever easy. Penalties nearly gave the game away, and it looked at times like Washington would never be able to slow down OSU running backs. Special teams was an adventure to say the least, but when it mattered most, the Huskies delivered.
Oregon State’s opening drive featured the greatest hits of the UW defense this season: missed tackles, 3rd and long conversions, and penalties. Churning out 6+ yards per carry led to an easy 7-0 lead for OSU. With an extra week to prepare, the start didn’t inspire confidence. But as the game wore on, they adjusted and improved.
When Washington got the ball, they failed to score on their opening drive for the first time all season. But, the UW defense offered a bit more resistance after Oregon State reached the red zone on their next drive. On the verge of jumping out a 14-0 lead, the Huskies got a huge 4th-and-2 stop against Jack Colletto, who is known for his nearly automatic conversion of those opportunities.
At the start of the second quarter, with Washington still unable to find any rhythm on offense, Oregon State blocked a punt, putting them in great field position. But yet again, a failed fourth down conversion by the Beavers left them coming away with zero points. After a drive in which Washington converted 3rd-and-16, 3rd-and-11 and 4th-and-10 - all Penix completions - Wayne Taulapapa punched it into the end zone to make it 7-7. It was hardly the most sustainable way to play offense, but Penix and the receivers got it done.
After another defensive stop for Washington, Michael Penix made a rare catastrophic mistake, throwing a pick-six. With an opportunity to build a lead going into halftime before receiving the ball in the 3rd quarter, the Huskies couldn’t get things going on their next drive either, and the half ended with the score 14-7 in favor of the Beavers.
At the start of second half, yards were still hard to come by for the Husky offense, but the defense started to get a handle on the OSU run game. After a 3rd down sack forced a punt, it looked like another UW drive would end in disappointment, but Penix found Jack Westover all by himself in the end zone and tied up the game. True to form, it came on a 3rd-and-10. However, Washington failed to build on the moment, when a 3rd down sack was negated by a Jeremiah Martin face mask. The next thing you knew, Oregon State RB Deshaun Fenwick was trotting into the end zone to make it 21-14 OSU.
As the fourth quarter began, Washington’s offense found some rhythm, getting more production from the running backs and Penix finding Rome Odunze for a 16-yard gain. Taulapapa shortly after plunged into the end zone and it was 21-21. After a roughly 15 minute delay from the lights quite literally going out in the stadium, each offense struggled to find their form, looking rusty after the elongated break.
When an OSU punt pinned Washington at their own 3-yard line, Michael Penix saved his best for last, leading the offense on a 16 play, 95 yard drive, lasting 4:19. Peyton Henry had yet to attempt a field goal this game, and had missed two of his last four, but drilled the game winning 22-yarder in windy conditions.
In a game in which Washington could have easily lost, they showed resiliency. Oregon State rushed for 175 yards, but the defense held them to just 14 points. Michael Penix shook off some shaky moments to make clutch throws, Cam Davis did big things when called upon, and Peyton Henry kicked a game winning field goal.
The Huskies now turn their attention to Eugene and the Oregon Ducks.