After 3 straight games in the Kalen DeBoer era over 500 total yards of offense it was a little disappointing to see a “mere” 468 on the scoreboard at the end of the game. But the much more important numbers on the scoreboard are the points and Washington had plenty more of those than Stanford taking home a 40-22 victory as part of a 4-0 (1-0) start to the season.
Washington’s pass rush showed that against a much less mobile quarterback they became infinitely more effective. The Huskies had 8 total sacks including 6 in the first half as Stanford QB Tanner McKee rarely had time to find his jumbo receivers downfield. That helped a UW secondary survive after beginning the game missing starting CB duo Jordan Perryman and Mishael Powell and S Asa Turner. Fellow CB Julius Irvin also left the game in the 4th quarter leaving Washington’s depth at that spot perilous.
The Husky offense continued its early dominance marching easily downfield for a score on their opening possession of the game capped off by a Will Nixon 3-yard TD. Stanford countered with a lengthy drive including multiple 3rd and 10+ conversions before a bobbled pass ended up in the arms of Cam Bright for an interception. A Peyton Henry field goal extended the lead to 10-0 after Washington stalled out in the red zone.
Both teams traded punts and that decision by Washington meant it was the first time the Dawgs punted in the first half of a game so far this year. It worked out as Stanford on the next play fumbled the ball on a strip sack by Jeremiah Martin giving UW the ball in Cardinal territory. 2 plays later Washington was in the end zone on a Wayne Taulapapa 34-yard run to put the Huskies up 17-0.
Tanner McKee finally was given time and Julius Irvin got beaten by WR Michael Wilson on the outside in 1v1 coverage for a 37-yard gain. Shortly after Wilson beat the other starting corner Davon Banks and caught a 23-yard pass for a score before the safety could rotate over in time.
It appeared the Huskies would have a chance with 4 minutes left in the half and getting the ball first in the 3rd quarter to make it 31-7 before Stanford got the ball again. At the end of the half though Washington again was forced to punt and they settled for a field goal to start out after halftime making it 20-7.
After a Stanford 3 and out the offense woke back up for Washington. Stanford committed their first penalty of the night more than 5 minutes into the 3rd quarter as a DPI that Rome Odunze drew along the right sideline. After a few short gains Penix threw a trust ball to Odunze in single coverage and he reeled it in for a 30-yard score to put UW up by 20 points halfway through the 3rd quarter.
Stanford knew at that point they would need to take risks to catch up and went for it on a 4th and 1 near midfield. But 6’6 Tanner McKee’s QB sneak attempt was stoned at the line to give the ball back to Washington. Washington had a few drops leaving them to settle for Peyton Henry’s 3rd field goal of the night and extend the lead to 30-7.
The big plays opened back up with UW’s pass rush unable to get home as McKee completed passes of 20, 21, and 17 yards on the ensuing drive. The latter of which could’ve been offensive pass interference but instead resulted in a touchdown. A 2-pt conversion to Brycen Tremayne cut it to a 30-15 Husky lead.
It didn’t take much time for Washington to answer back as Rome Odunze broke loose for a gain of 61 yards on the first play of the drive. Washington’s red zone woes continued as Richard Newton lost 3 yards on a 3rd and 2 from the 6 resulting in another Henry FG to push the lead back out to 3 scores.
The Husky offense got a shot at redemption quickly though as 2 plays later ZTF secured Washington’s 8 sack of the night and stripped the ball which was recovered by Faatui Tuitele. A well designed tunnel screen to Giles Jackson went 21 yards for an easy Husky TD and officially put it out of reach despite a 78-yard garbage time TD for Stanford’s Michael Wilson.
Ja’Lynn Polk was the receiving star for Washington last week but had just 1 catch for 11 yards tonight. Instead Rome Odunze was the standout performer with 8 catches for 161 yards and a TD. Wayne Taulapapa averaged 9.2 yards per carry as the lead back with 120 yards and a TD since Cam Davis did not appear in the game. Michael Penix finished with a pedestrian game by his recent standards. He was off much of the night but still finished 22/37 for 309 yards with 2 TD and no turnovers or sacks (he fumbled a QB/Center exchange and fell on the ball for a loss of 5 yards which may officially have gone down as a sack).
Now we get to see how Washington can respond playing on the road for the first time the season and on a short week to boot. The Huskies will take on fellow 4-0 UCLA in the Rose Bowl at 7:30p on Friday night September 30th on ESPN.