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Grading the Game: Oregon State

How did we evaluate UW narrowly edging out the Beavers?

NCAA Football: Oregon State at Washington Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Passing Offense - B

Statistically, it wasn’t Michael Penix Jr.’s biggest day, and was the first game all season he failed to throw for 300 yards, ending up with 298, a touchdown, and an interception. His 5.7 yards per attempt were also by far his worst mark of the season, and the high wind gusts surely played a factor. The pick six before halftime was...bad. But, Penix delivered when it mattered most, including on a number of 3rd and 4th downs and leading the team on an 18 play 92 yard drive in which he went 9/11 for 66 yards. Another standout game for the offensive line too, who gave up zero sacks.

WR Rome Odunze continues to put together a stellar season and with 102 yards on Friday night now has 100+ yards in five of his last six games. Also worth mentioning Ja’Lynn Polk, who came on to record 7 catches after having 8 total in his previous four games. But, it wasn’t always perfect. There were anywhere between 3-8 drops depending on how you define “drop.” It was overall a fine game for the receivers - the Oregon State DBs made it hard on them - but if this is the strength of the team, a couple more contested catches would have been nice.

NCAA Football: Oregon State at Washington Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Passing Defense - B+

Going up against a backup quarterback, in an already limited downfield passing offense, with the wind in Husky Stadium, Washington had every advantage to help them shut down Oregon State through the air. They were successful - Beaver QB Ben Gulbranson finished 12/19 for just 87 yards, with almost half of that coming on one play to freshman RB Damien Martinez. That said, there were a number of deep shots down the field with Oregon State receivers a step or two ahead of Washington DBs. On a less windy night against an offense built more around deep passing, things may have gone differently. You can only play the opponent in front of you, but it still feels like the defensive backs are still struggling a bit.

Rushing Offense - B

Cam Davis and Wayne Taulapapa were the only running backs to get carries, and they combined for 19 rushes for 82 yards. WRs Ja’Lynn Polk and Giles Jackson chipped some “rush” yards on end arounds, too. After a couple rough outings for Taulapapa, he seemed to run with a purpose in the red zone, punching in two touchdowns. RB Cam Davis was the star of the show, however, finishing with 82 total yards, including a beautiful diving catch on 3rd down on Washington’s final drive. He’s the best source of explosion in the Washington running game right now.

NCAA Football: Oregon State at Washington Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Rushing Defense - B

Similar to the passing offense, the overall numbers won’t necessarily paint a picture of success, but they were situationally stout (find at a brewery near you). Beaver running backs finished the game with 32 carries for 182 yards - over 5.5 yards per carry - and early on looked unstoppable. But, on two fourth downs inside the red zone Washington stopped Oregon State for a loss. They happened on back-to-back possessions and when Oregon State was rolling down the field, which helped the defense settle in. Beyond those two plays, DT Tuli Letuligasenoa played his best game of the season, particularly down the stretch (3 tackles, .5 TFL). Despite Oregon State being one dimensional on offense, that one dimension is pretty good, and was powering them to 33 points per game. Lead by the Husky defensive line and linebackers, they were held to 14 points.

Special Teams - C

Peyton Henry - A+. You kick a game winning field goal, you get an A+. That’s the new rule around here.

Kickoff coverage was good and Cam Davis got loose a couple times on his returns. But, shanked punt and one blocked punt gave Oregon State excellent field position and could have cost Washington the game on another night.

Coaching - B+

This is the best win of the Kalen DeBoer era against a good Oregon State team. They are one dimensional offensively, but as an overall team, they are rock solid on both sides of the ball. I think many fans would have liked to see the team start stronger on defense after the off week - it should not have been a surprise to see Oregon State commit early to the run - and for a while the Husky defense looked lost. But, they stepped up when it mattered and held Oregon State to less than half their points per game average.

This offense will always be pass first, but it would be nice to see more balance and commit more to the run. Oregon State is the best defense Washington has played so far and having that second arrow in your quiver can open things up. Perhaps the coaches just don’t love the talent at running back right now - they did say as much when they arrived - or they attended too many Mike Leach coaching clinics, but they love throwing the ball. With Penix and this receiver group, who can blame them? They’ve shown an ability to convert 3rd and long opportunities, but against a better opponent, it might not be sustainable.