The much talked about University of Washington( 1-0) Football team delivered for the high expectations that where bestowed it during the preseason with an emphatic 48 to 13 win over the Rutgers Scarlet Nights ( 0-1) Saturday afternoon at Husky Stadium in front of 58,640 Husky Fans.
Going into Saturdays game Washington was ranked No. 14 in the preseason AP Top 25 and No. 18 in the USA Today coaches’ poll. The consensus among the pollsters was that Washington has a really a good football team going into this season and has a better than average chance of winning the Pac 12 North Division ahead of Stanford and Oregon. Yes Oregon a team Washington has not beaten since 2004.
With expectations abound, Washington knew it needed a fast start against an unranked Rutgers team that was rebuilding under first year head coach Chris Ash and a team the Huskies knew nothing about.
After winning the toss and deferring the ball until the second half, the much heralded Washington defense proved it deserved the preseason hype by holding the Rutgers to a three and out the opening drive. The stout effort by the defense inspired the Washington offense.
Washington quarterback Jake Browning hit Chico McClatcher on a 43 yard touch pass that put the Huskies up 7-0 on its third offensive play of the game. The defense continued to stifle the Rutgers offense and held the Scarlett Knights to just 10 total yards.
Jake Browning continued his offensive mastery and led the Huskies offense to three consecutive offensive possessions to take a 24-0 lead after the first quarter. Two of the three scores by the Husky offense where touchdown catches of 38 yards and 50 yards by speedy wide out John Ross, who was returning to the Husky lineup after missing all of last year due to a leg injury.
Ross also scored on a 92 kickoff return to give him three touchdowns for the day. Dante Pettis returned a punt for a 68 yard touchdown round out a solid win by Washington. Husky head coach Chris Petersen was pleased with his teams fast start to the game.
“Pleased with our fellas. They have worked hard for 8 months, lots of practicing. Practicing is not the game, as we all know. So I am really pleased with how fast they started. The first quarter was really, really good on both sides and all three phases.
“To get some more explosive plays on offense, get the deep ball going a little bit. We figured those guys would stack the box up pretty good to stop the run, which most do so you have to be explosive in the passing game and that was taken care of for the most part. Proud of our defense for getting turnovers. Flying around and playing high level defense. It was good to get out of the gate fast, especially when there are so many unknowns. Unknown staff, unknown players all those kind of things; both our side and theirs.”
- Browning finished the game with 287 passing yards on 18 attempts with three touchdowns and one interception.
- Ross had five catches for 90 and three touchdowns, two receiving and one from the kickoff return.
- Ross has 5 TD’s of 90 yards or longer in his career. He now is the UW career record holder with 4 kickoff returns for TD’s, breaking a tie he held with Jim Krieg, who had 3 from 1970-71. Ross joins Beno Bryant, who returned four punts for TD’s on UW’s all-time list for all return TD’s.
- Running back Myles Gaskin finished the game with 57 yards rushing yards on 15 attempts.
- The Huskies 24 points in the first quarter tied for 4th most in the opening frame in UW history.
- The Huskies outgained Rutgers 247 to 10 total yards in the fi rst quarter. They held the Scarlet Knights to -6 yards rushing in the quarter
Mazvita Maraire is Sports Editor and columnist for www.NWFActs.Com. On twitter @mazvitamaraire