Washington continued its best start since 1992, and it has won 10 in a row dating back to last season. The Huskies have obliterated opponents early, outscoring foes 100-7 in the first quarter and 200-24 in the first half.
The guy came out of nowhere. Washington receiver John Ross III was looking to his right, zooming along at his usual catch-me-if-you-can pace, when Oregon State cornerback Xavier Crawford sneaked up on Ross’ left side and tackled him from behind.
A rather stunning development to see one of college football’s fastest players get tracked down from behind on the game’s opening drive, and UW quarterback Jake Browning promised teammates would be giving Ross a hard time about it.
The Beavers didn’t offer much difficulty otherwise Saturday in falling 41-17.
The Huskies are 7-0 and have won almost all their games this season by a large margin.
Combined points scored/ allowed by UW this season
A 36½-point underdog, Oregon State didn’t get much breathing room to sneak up on No. 5 Washington. There was no stunning upset, a la 1985. The Huskies built another big first-quarter lead and cruised along to the easy victory before 65,796 spectators at Husky Stadium on a perfectly pleasant fall afternoon.
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“We came out hot,” Ross said.
The Huskies (7-0, 4-0 Pac-12) continued their hottest start since 1992, and their 10-game winning streak overall is their longest since 2000-01.
Washington built a 21-0 lead after the first quarter and led 31-0 at halftime, and again left little intrigue for the second half. Overall, the Huskies are outscoring foes by a combined 100-7 in the first quarter and 200-24 in the first half.
“These guys have once again come out of the gate quickly,” UW coach Chris Petersen said. “Defense answered right away. Again, I am not sure what the magic formula is there, but that sort of helps things. Really good, clean first half.”
What the Huskies did against a beat-up Oregon State squad was exactly what they were supposed to do coming off a bye and coming in as a massive favorite.
In 10 days, the College Football Playoff committee will release its first top 25 poll of the season. The Huskies, for the first time in the playoff era, will be included in those rankings.
That will depend largely on how the Huskies fare this Saturday when they travel to play No. 19 Utah, which right now on paper is the most difficult game remaining on UW’s schedule.
From a big-picture perspective, there wasn’t much chance to impress Saturday — not against an OSU team missing its top two quarterbacks and its starting running back.
This has become the standard, though, the Huskies jumping out to a large lead early, then rolling along with their backups into the fourth quarter.
The Huskies’ big-play passing game — starring Ross and Dante Pettis — was the story again for the offense. Ross (115 yards) and Pettis (112) became the first pair of UW receivers to have 100-yard receiving games on the same day since 2002 (Reggie Williams and Patrick Reddick).
“Sometimes I light up when I see the plays that are called and I know the (defensive) looks that they beat,” Ross said.
Even as he was tackled from behind, Ross gained 51 yards on the pass from Browning on the game’s opening drive. Two plays later, Browning threw his first touchdown pass to freshman Aaron Fuller, a 19-yarder.
Browning added a 1-yard touchdown run and then a 23-yard scoring pass to Pettis in the first quarter. They connected again in the third quarter on a 41-yard touchdown. Browning finished 14 of 28 passing for 291 yards and four total touchdowns.
Myles Gaskin, en route to 128 yards rushing, scored on a 9-yard run to make it 28-0, and Cameron Van Winkle kicked the first of his two field goals on the final play of the first half to make it 31-0.
The UW defense, playing without sack leader Joe Mathis (foot injury), had a rare breakdown when OSU’s Victor Bolden broke free for a 75-yard touchdown on a fly-sweep run in the third quarter. Otherwise, the Beavers (2-5, 1-3) and third-string quarterback Marcus McMaryion didn’t have much room to work with.
“Their guys up front (on defense), those dudes are real guys. Real guys,” OSU coach Gary Andersen said. “They’re elite.”
Overall, a steady victory for a UW team that rolls into Utah this coming Saturday. ESPN’s “College GameDay” will be there.
With No. 2 Ohio State getting upset by Penn State on Saturday night, the Huskies should jump to No. 4 in the polls Sunday. The Utes, led by former UW quarterback Troy Williams, should also move up after their 52-45 victory over UCLA, setting up the showdown that will give the Huskies a chance to truly impress.