Final: Montana 13, UW Huskies 7

5 p.m. | Husky Stadium | Seattle

TV: Pac-12 Network| Radio: SportsRadio 950 KJR

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Instant analysis: Three impressions from UW’s humiliating loss to Montana

What was that?

Washington lost 13-7 to Montana at home.

Are you kidding?

It’s too bad UW fans came back to Husky Stadium to watch the game. If they were home, they could have turned off the TV.

Here are three instant impressions from the humiliating defeat.

—Scott Hanson
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UW Huskies offense absent in embarrassing home loss to FCS Montana

In its 2021 season opener, UW football lost 13-7 to Montana in one of the most embarrassing performances in program history. Here’s how it happened.

Read the full game story here.

—Mike Vorel

Dylan Morris intercepted for third time as Montana will run out clock

UW converts fourth-and-10 to continue drive with 37 seconds left

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Montana misses FG to give UW ball back

Kevin Macias missed a 50-yard field goal attempt to give the Huskies one last chance with 1:18 remaining. They'll take over at the 32.

UW fails to convert fourth down as Montana takes over

Montana extends lead late with a FG

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UW hearing boos

Montana takes the lead over UW with rushing TD

Third-quarter observations

Let’s get right to the point: UW’s offense has been atrocious.

Against an FCS defense, the Huskies have rushed for just 71 yards and three yards per carry – 34 of which came via Richard Newton on the opening drive. The offensive line has allowed two sacks, and quarterback Dylan Morris has thrown two passes behind receivers that resulted in interceptions. Despite a sterling defensive performance, UW could lose this game. We’re 15 minutes from finding out.

—Mike Vorel
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END OF THIRD: UW 7, Montana 3

Dylan Morris intercepted for the second time

UW forces Montana into third straight punt of third quarter

UW forced Montana into another three-and-out for its third straight punt of the third quarter. The Huskies lead 7-3 with 1:46 left in the quarter.

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Montana, UW trade punts to open third quarter

After Montana went three-and-out to open the second half, UW followed up with a seven-play, 28-yard drive before punting back to the Griz.

Montana starts at its own 21.

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Halftime observations

Last week, UW head coach Jimmy Lake was asked what he believes are the strengths of this team.

“The first thing is our offensive line,” he said with a smile. “We are extremely veteran, talented and deep — very deep — on our offensive line. I would say that is a definite strength of ours. I’ll leave it right there.”

In the first half against Montana, that offensive line allowed Washington to run for just 33 yards and 2.1 yards per carry. It also surrendered two sacks, after allowing only one in four games against Pac-12 opponents last season. In an offensively horrendous first half, UW mystifyingly failed to establish the line of scrimmage and quarterback Dylan Morris completed just 16 of 22 passes for 128 yards with a rushing touchdown and an interception. It didn’t help that the team’s top three wide receivers – Terrell Bynum, Ja’Lynn Polk and Jalen McMillan – didn’t play, and starter Ja’Lynn Polk wasn’t seen after the first drive as well.

UW leads 7-3 at the half. But the Huskies earned a smattering of boos as they trotted into the tunnel, and offensively at least, it’s easy to understand why.

—Mike Vorel

Halftime: UW 7, Montana 3

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Dylan Morris throws INT late in first half

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UW misses 50-yard FG

UW kicker Peyton Henry misses from 50 yards out to give Montana the ball at its 32.

Cade Otton makes first catch with 6:55 left in second quarter

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Punt party: UW forces Montana into punt

Montana forces UW offense to punt again

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UW defense prevents fourth-and-1 conversion on Montana 44

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UW starting WRs Terrell Bynum, Rome Odunze unexpectedly absent against Montana

Terrell Bynum, Rome Odunze and Jalen McMillan were Washington’s starting wide receivers throughout much of the offseason.

None played against Montana in the Huskies’ season opener on Saturday.

McMillan’s absence was expected, after the second-year freshman suffered a hand injury midway through fall camp. But Bynum and Odunze — two of the team’s most consistent fall camp performers — were listed as starters on UW’s depth chart on Monday. In their place, Texas Tech transfer Ja’Lynn Polk, Michigan transfer Giles Jackson and redshirt freshman Taj Davis (who opted out of the 2020 season) were announced as Washington’s starting wide receivers before Saturday’s game.

Read more here.

—Mike Vorel

First-quarter observations

UW’s defensive emphasis this entire offseason was on stopping the run.

In the first quarter of the season opener, against an FCS opponent, the Huskies didn’t do it.

Though UW leads 7-3, Montana running back Xavier Harris has rushed six times for 54 yards – the highlight being a 37-yard scamper up the middle on the Griz’s opening drive of the game. UW is tinkering with playing three defensive linemen – typically Tuli Letuligasenoa, Sam Taimani and Faatui Tuitele – at the same time this season, with the direct intention of stuffing opposing running backs. Regardless of whether the Huskies can do that in the rest of the game, their ability to do it this season will likely determine if Jimmy Lake’s team reaches its goals.

—Mike Vorel
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End of first: UW 7, Montana 3

UW forces three-and-out after turnover on downs

UW offense fails to convert fourth-and-12 from 32

After year away, UW Husky fans ‘beyond happy to be back’ on Montlake

It didn’t matter who you talked to Saturday afternoon on Montlake, the emotions were pretty much the same.

They were just very happy to be attending a Washington football game at Husky Stadium after a season in which fans were not allowed because of COVID-19.

So Saturday was a day of celebration, both for fans who’ve been coming to Husky football games for decades or first-timers. It was a joyous time for a Husky legend, a player’s father and a UW sophomore.

Being at Husky Stadium again after nearly two years was a big deal for fans, no matter the opponent.

“The last year and a half has been really difficult, and when you come to a sports event, people gather and they get excited and it’s great to be back,” said Tara Jacobson of Edmonds, who has had season tickets for about 40 years and was tailgating with about 15 others.

Read more here.

—Scott Hanson

Montana answers with a FG

UW defense allows 37-yard rush

Dylan Morris keeps it for Huskies' first TD of 2021 season

Richard Newton making early impact

UW returns opening kickoff

Polk, Davis and Jackson announced as starting WRs

Top WRs Odunze and Bynum not warming up on field

Live from the field

UW backup QB Patrick O'Brien in uniform

The boats are back

What to watch for in No. 20 Washington’s season opener against Montana, plus Mike Vorel’s prediction

UW key players

QB Dylan Morris: 60.9% completions, 897 passing yards, 4 pass TD, 3 INT, 2 rush TD (2020)

RB Richard Newton: 122 rushing yards, 5.3 yards per carry, 2 TD (2020)

LB Edefuan Ulofoshio: 47 tackles, 4 pass breakups, 2 fumble recoveries, 1 forced fumble, 1 sack (2020)

CB Trent McDuffie: 14 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, 1 interception, 1 forced fumble (2020)

Read more here for the keys to the game, broadcast information and a prediction.

—Mike Vorel

Before UW football fans flood into Husky Stadium, let's salute a season of returns

Welcome back.

Oh, how we’ve missed you — you, the college football fan; the purple-clad, passionate, sailgating obsessive; the smiling, swearing, throat-straining face a cardboard cutout could never replace; the optimist; the alum; the beer-drinking boo-bird and the backseat referee; the grill-master, selflessly disseminating sausages and asking only for empty plates; the kid in the hand-me-down Husky jersey, who lives and dies with each drive, but always has hope.

Last fall, UW played four football games that felt like exhibitions — empty, lacking, like the stadium itself. While everything on the field looked familiar, billowing purple smoke and piped-in crowd noise couldn’t conceal the fact that this sport was missing its soul.

Read more here.

—Mike Vorel

Game-by-game predictions for UW Huskies’ 2021 football schedule

They say games aren’t played on paper.

But predictions are fair game.

In that spirit, let’s take a prognosticating stroll through the Huskies’ 2021 season, starting with the opener against Montana on Sept. 4.

Read Mike's predictions for each game here.

—Mike Vorel

Analysis: Five keys for UW Huskies to win a Pac-12 title in 2021

At some point in the 2021 college football season, the Huskies will face a fork in the road.

One path leads to a Pac-12 title. It is well lit and lined with bright red roses, paved with purple bricks, accompanied by speakers serenading each step with an all-too-familiar siren.

The other path? That’s the more worn route, traversed by the timid and mediocre. It’s dim, unspectacular, a barrage of peeling beige billboards. It’s the football equivalent expired, unrefrigerated milk. It’s another forgettable three-month slog, arriving at an unsatisfying eight-win season.

Which path will Washington choose?

That all depends on these five factors — the difference between dominance and disappointment.

Read more here.

—Mike Vorel

After atypical debut season, OC John Donovan hoping to unveil improved Husky attack

Offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach John Donovan works with the offense as the University of Washington Huskies practice during fall camp in Seattle, Aug. 14, 2021. (Bettina Hansen / The Seattle Times)

What a difference nine and a half months makes.

Nine and a half months ago, Washington football was preparing for its fourth separate season opener — after games against Michigan, Stanford and Cal were scheduled, then unceremoniously scrapped. The Huskies were attempting to learn first-year offensive coordinator John Donovan’s pro-style system over Zoom, while integrating a first-time starting quarterback in redshirt freshman Dylan Morris.

When it rained, it poured.

Figuratively, then literally.

Read more here.

—Mike Vorel

Jimmy Lake has high standards for program, and we’ll soon get a better idea if they’ll be met

Huskies head football coach Jimmy Lake watches warmups for a scrimmage at Husky Stadium in Seattle, Aug. 21, 2021. (Bettina Hansen / The Seattle Times)

On the eve of Washington’s first preseason football practice in early August, the Huskies engaged in a seemingly mundane event that caused an outsized ruckus. They held a full-squad meeting in their team room, the program’s first since March 2020.

“Everyone was hooting and hollering, including myself,” coach Jimmy Lake related. “It does feel there’s a sense of normalcy. But also we have our guard up as well.”

Such is life in the age of COVID-19 – any semblance of normality comes with a side order of caution. Yet as Lake begins his second year as Huskies’ coach, with the season (so far) taking a much more familiar outline, it’s shaping up as a far more authentic test of his Washington tenure.

Read more here.

—Larry Stone

When adversity hits, unflappable UW Huskies QB Dylan Morris has always rung the bell

Washington quarterback Dylan Morris. (Dean Rutz / The Seattle Times)

Every quarterback has cracks. There are no perfect passers.

Some still ring the bell.

(Or in this case, sound the siren.)

For two quarters inside Husky Stadium, the siren didn’t sound. It was Nov. 28, 2020, and the Utah Utes entered the locker room with a 21-0 lead. The first half was marred by a pair of Dylan Morris interceptions, the first two picks of the redshirt freshman quarterback’s college career. He went 10 for 18 for 77 yards and the aforementioned interceptions, admitting last week that he “got fooled into some things.” And after narrowing the gap to 21-17 midway through the fourth quarter, Morris momentarily cracked again, woefully underthrowing a deep ball intended for wide-open Washington wide receiver Ty Jones that was intercepted by Utah safety Vonte Davis instead. 

With 4:31 left, Washington got the ball back at its 12-yard line, 88 yards from a go-ahead score.

At which point, Morris could have succumbed to the cracks.

Instead, he rang the bell.

Read more here.

—Mike Vorel