Final: UW Huskies 27, OSU 21

8 p.m. | Husky Stadium| Seattle

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UW-Oregon State

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Final: UW 27, Oregon State 21

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Targeting call on OSU gives UW important first down late

UW gets favorable spot on fourth-down stop in red zone

Third-quarter analysis from Mike Vorel

It’s safe to classify this as a special teams debacle.

Through three quarters Saturday, UW has had a punt blocked and returned for a touchdown. It has allowed kickoff returns of 42 and 43 yards. And redshirt sophomore placekicker Peyton Henry blew a 28-yard field goal attempt to boot.

It doesn’t help, of course, that UW’s wide receivers have dropped a number of critical passes and its defense has allowed 159 rushing yards and counting. But if the Huskies lose, their special teams errors will be one of several reasons why.

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End of third: UW 24, Oregon State 21

Huskies miss short field goal

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Halftime analysis from Mike Vorel

The run defenses are struggling.

UW, which leads 24-21 at halftime, has rushed for a whopping 160 yards, 6.7 yards per carry and three touchdowns. Sean McGrew led the way with 82 rushing yards, 13.7 yards per carry and a score. But on the other side, the loss of defensive linemen Levi Onwuzurike (NFL Draft) and Tuli Letuligasenoa (presumed injury) as well as outside linebackers Joe Tryon (NFL Draft) and Laiatu Latu (presumed injury) is certainly hurting the Huskies. The Beavers gashed UW for 84 rushing yards, 5.6 yards per carry and two touchdowns in the second quarter alone.

In other words, the defense that can stand its ground in the second half will most likely win.

—Mike Vorel

Halftime stats

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Halftime: UW 24, Oregon State 21

Oregon State responds quickly

Dylan Morris sneaks in for UW touchdown

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OSU punches it in for touchdown

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Huskies extend their lead with another rushing TD

First-quarter analysis from Mike Vorel

UW dominated all but one play.

In the first quarter of its abbreviated 2020 season, the Huskies outgained Oregon State 150-12. They rushed for 113 yards and 8.1 yards per carry. They forced a three-and-out and recovered a fumble. Sean McGrew ripped off a 21-yard touchdown run, and the Husky offensive line looked as massive and merciless as advertised.

The problem? Freshman long snapper Jaden Green’s first career snap also sailed over punter Race Porter’s head, leading to a disastrous Oregon State blocked punt and Jaydon Grant touchdown. It was UW’s first blocked punt touchdown allowed since USC in 2012.

So, the plan going forward? Stop punting. And keep running.

—Mike Vorel

End of first: UW 10, Oregon State 7

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Huskies add a field goal

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Huskies force three-and-out on first defensive possession

Huskies respond with TD

The case for Dylan Morris

Appearances can be deceiving. For example, you could say — rightly — that Dylan Morris is undersized. The former Graham-Kapowsin High School standout is generously listed at 6-0 and 200 pounds; he’ll never have the kind of frame that inflicts fear in opposing Pac-12 defenses.

But that doesn’t mean UW’s opponents should not feel afraid. After all, Morris’ right arm appears bigger than the rest of his body. He can fire 60-yard passes that hit Huskies in stride. He also earned a 4.0 GPA last fall and is intelligent enough to digest every nuance of first-year offensive coordinator John Donovan’s pro-style scheme. He’s smart. He’s accurate. He’s respected by his teammates, so much so that he was named Offensive Scout Squad MVP last season.

Though UW fans obviously didn’t see Morris on the field during his true-freshman campaign, the local product earned rave reviews in practices and meetings. He doesn’t have Sirmon’s size or Thomson’s mobility. He doesn’t need to. He makes plays and avoids mistakes. He maximizes his ability. He wins.

He certainly did that at Graham-Kapowsin, throwing for 9,815 yards and 99 touchdowns in four spectacular seasons as the varsity starter. Heck, he led the Eagles to an 11-1 record as a freaking freshman. This man is a leader, and he has been since he was 15 years old. Isn’t that what you need in an unprecedented season?

This decision is not an “upset.” It’s inevitable.

Dylan Morris is the starting quarterback. There can be no other choice.

—Mike Vorel
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OSU scores on poor punt attempt

UW's starting quarterback: Dylan Morris

Dylan Morris is Washington’s starting quarterback.

After weeks of uncertainty surrounding the Huskies’ quarterback competition, Morris — a 6-foot, 200-pound redshirt freshman from Puyallup — took the opening snap in UW’s amended season opener against Oregon State on Saturday. He beat out graduate student Kevin Thomson, redshirt sophomore Jacob Sirmon and true freshman Ethan Garbers for the role.

In four seasons as Graham-Kapowsin High School’s varsity signal caller, Morris compiled a 40-7 record while throwing for 9,815 yards and 99 touchdowns. He was named the Huskies’ Offensive Scout Squad MVP last season as well.

Read more here.

—Mike Vorel

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Starting quarterback prediction

Important update

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Dylan Morris taking snaps pregame

Warmup observations

Live from Husky Stadium ...

We finally made it (I think) (I hope)

We made it.

Through an ongoing pandemic and an economic downturn. Through an election cycle that more closely resembled a food fight in a middle school cafeteria. Through a seemingly endless offseason and Saturdays spent … I don’t know, hiking? Reading? Whipping tennis balls off the walls of a haunted hotel? Through the unwelcome arrival of “murder hornets” (which could have just as easily appeared in a “Sharknado” spinoff). Through Taco Bell’s decision to drop Beefy Fritos Burritos from its menu in the precise moment America needed them most.

And, most recently, through the familiar disappointment of another UW season opener being cruelly canceled.

Yes, we made it. Finally. Finally. The Washington Huskies are set to play football on Saturday night.

And, if they do, let me ask something of my audience:

Let’s try to appreciate this moment as much as we can.

There will be time enough, we hope, to fret about quarterback starters and offensive schemes. To worry about the local five-star recruits who may or may not commit to Washington. To debate whether Jimmy Lake is the right man for the job. To argue that [fill in name here] should play more than [fill in name here], because [fill in reason here]. To care so darn much about a team and a game and an alternate jersey.

There will be time. Or maybe there won’t. Because, if we’ve learned anything from the outbreaks at Wisconsin, and Florida, and Utah, and Alabama, and LSU, and Maryland, or the contact tracing purgatory at Cal, it’s that this 2020 season — all seven six games of it — is not guaranteed. So, again, let’s try to appreciate this moment. This play. This series. This precious shred of familiarity, however long it lasts.

Because, for three-to-four hours on Saturday, we will — fingers crossed — receive a welcome distraction from all of the previously unimaginable challenges this year has provided. We can all watch together, again, even when we’re apart.

And, fair warning, the Washington Huskies might lose.

But, in a way, we’ll have already won.

—Mike Vorel

What to watch for when UW (hopefully) opens its season, plus Mike Vorel’s prediction

It’s already established that UW’s secondary is loaded (again) heading into the 2020 season. But, without standout defensive tackle Levi Onwuzurike, UW’s defensive linemen and inside linebackers need to prove they can stuff the run on Saturday night.

Here are more keys to the game for the Huskies.

—Mike Vorel