I held out as long as I could. I made it all the way to Day 1 of the 30-Day Countdown. As much as I love a surprise, the pull of learning how the new coaching staff would fare through the year was too strong for me. I had to jump in the official Dawg Pound Time Machine to see how Washington’s season would play out. If you want to see the results, keep reading, but I have to offer a spoiler alert, because I don’t want to ruin the suspense for those of you who want to be surprised.
Washington 38 – Kent State 21
The Golden Flashes came to Montlake with an aggressive offensive mindset and showed that there are a few more big plays to be had against this vintage of the Dawg Defense. The flip side of the coin is that UW forced three turnovers (a fumble recovery by Tuli Letuigasenoa and interceptions by Cam Bright and Asa Turner). Michael Penix was steady against an inferior defense. He threw the season’s first TD to Rome Odunze on a slant over the middle and ran for another TD. Wayne Taulapapa found more space as the Dawgs established the pass and finished with a pair of rushing TDs as the Huskies pulled away in the second half.
Washington 52 – Portland State 13
Even the 13 points surrendered don’t tell the full story of UW’s dominance because the Vikings’ lone TD came in garbage time against a mix of second and third-stringers. Again, Penix was not forced to do much, but spread the ball around to nine different pass catchers on his way to a 250-yard passing day. Dylan Morris got to play the entire fourth quarter and showed more comfort and poise than he did in the lost season of 2021.
Michigan State 30 – Washington 27
The first loss of the Deboer era was a heart-breaker but it also showed that the Dawgs can play with top teams from major conferences. Washington tied the game in the middle of the fourth quarter when Penix scrambled away from pressure on third-and-goal and found Devin Culp alone in the back of the end-zone. Alas, the Spartans struck back with an efficient two-minute drill and nailed a long FG with less than a minute on the clock to seal the win.
Washington 33 – Stanford 24
In a sense, it was a relief to get a win over a team that has been a problem for the Dawgs for a decade, but some of the shine is lost due to Stanford getting walloped by USC in their previous game. Penix plays his best game yet against a more formidable defense, finding both Odunze and Jalen McMillan for multiple 20+ yard plays that set up quick-strike TD drives. The RB rotation is in full force and we get to see Will Nixon catching balls out of the backfield and making defenders miss.
UCLA 38 – Washington 24
The Dawgs play their first bad game of the year on the road after a short week and fall to 3-2. The offense piles up yardage against a leaky Bruin defense, but turns the ball over four times. An improved run defense has its first backslide against the electric combo of Dorian Thompson-Robinson and Zach Charbonnet. DTR, especially, extends drives all day with third-down scrambles that make us pull out the little hair we have left after the Jimmy Lake era.
Washington 37 – Arizona State 27
A trip to the desert is always scary for the Huskies. Coming off two losses in three games, this one is especially pivotal. On the opposite sideline, the Sun Devils are in even more turmoil at 2-3 and with lopsided losses to Oklahoma St., Utah, and USC in three of the previous four weeks. A rebuilt roster is already losing faith in Herm Edwards. Despite going up 14-7 early, Washington responds with a long TD pass to Ja’Lynn Polk and a pair of sacks by ZTF and Bralen Trice on the ensuing drive that swing the momentum and demoralize the hosts.
Washington 45 – Arizona 28
The Huskies return home feeling rejuvenated and on schedule with an encouraging 4-2 record. While the Wildcats are much improved from winning one of their last 24 games, there’s still a notable talent gap and the offense is able to exploit it early and often. Penix pushes the 400 yard mark as Odunze has a career day with 150 receiving yards and a pair of TDs. Giles Jackson, who has been a weapon all year, is a mismatch problem and uses his speed for big runs after the catch on multiple short completions. Jayden De Laura leads a competition Arizona offense, but too many drives fizzle out without points and the Huskies pull away in the second half.
Cal 23 – Washington 17
Uh-oh, it happened again. Trips to Berkeley have been a horror show for Washington in recent years and this one is another example of missed opportunities and failure to get on track. Justin Wilcox devised a defensive scheme that got constant pressure on Penix and forced him into a low-efficiency game. The O-Line struggled as a whole and the run game couldn’t pick up the slack. Cal’s offense wasn’t much better, and the Dawgs had a chance to take the lead late, but Penix’s fourth-down pass to Taj Davis fell to the turf while Husky fans wondered why there was no PI flag.
Washington 27 – Oregon State 23
Deboer’s team continued the trend of bouncing back from bad performances with its grittiest win of the season. The Beavers tried to take the air out of the ball and run Deshaun Fenwick behind their talented offensive line. While it effectively slowed the pace of the game, it did not lead to the point total they hoped because the Dawg defense repeatedly forced them to settle for field goals. On the other side, OSU took away the red-hot Odunze, which gave McMillan a chance to have his best game of the year. His TD catch late in the third quarter put the Dawgs up 24-17 and they never relinquished the lead.
Oregon 30 – Washington 20
The Dawgs headed to Eugene at 4-2 in the Pac-12, only a game behind the 5-1 Ducks and with a chance to play their way into the Pac-12 title game by winning out. Unfortunately, Penix took a big hit early in the game which knocked him out of the rest of the game and the following week. Morris stepped in against one of the toughest defenses in the conference and couldn’t do enough to get the win as the Dawgs finished with a season-low in yards from scrimmage.
Washington 29 – Colorado 23
Penix remained out of the lineup for a second game in a row, but Morris bounced back with a solid performance to beat the Buffs at home. It isn’t the most impressive win against one the bottom-dwellers in the conference, but the Huskies again avoided starting a losing streak. Washington took advantage of an inferior defensive front with the best rushing attack of the season. Taulapapa, Nixon, and Cam Davis each made big runs at crucial times and Morris avoided turnovers to seal the win.
Washington 33 – Washington State 27
Tensions were high the week before the Apple Cup. Dawg fans nervously wondered if Penix would make it back into the lineup in time to avenge last season’s embarrassing home defeat. Although it came down to a game-time decision, the veteran QB made it into the lineup and played a rock-solid game. The Dawgs missed a chance to put the game to bed, up 30-27 with four minutes to go when they couldn’t find the end-zone after first and goal. Instead, they settled for a Peyton Henry field goal and the defense held up against Cam Ward’s two-minute drill to hang on for the dramatic win.
Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl: Washington 31 – Fresno State 23
If you read my Bowl Projections post earlier this week, you already knew that the Dawgs were headed for a match-up with Deboer’s old squad in Los Angeles. With Jeff Tedford and Jake Haener on the opposite sideline, there are familiar faces all around. The two offenses look similar to one another, but the solid Husky defensive line proves to be the difference with consistent pressure coming off the edge. Penix finishes the year the way he started it- with a TD pass to Odunze, giving the receiver 10 TDs on the year and the Dawgs a ninth win.
There you have it. The Dawgs go 9-4 (6-3) counting a bowl win. I would ask if you agree, but there’s really no point because these are the results and I’m just reporting back to you. Nonetheless, for the skeptics out there, let me know if you think the time machine needs recalibration.
How many regular season (pre-bowl) games will Washington win this year
This poll is closed
Nine or more
Six or fewer