The national audience saw sophomore throw for 210 yards and three touchdowns — and he could have had more.
Jake Browning isn’t going to read this story because he doesn’t read any stories — especially during the college football season — if he sees his name in print.
When the Washington sophomore quarterback spots his face on the television, he immediately switches the channel or walks out of the room.
“I pretty much turn it off if I see myself,” Browning said after No. 10 Washington manhandled No. 7 Stanford 44-6 Friday night in front of a sold-out crowd of 72,027 at Husky Stadium. “Because one week it’s you’re the greatest thing ever and the next week …
“Quarterbacks either get too much blame or too much credit. Obviously, right now it’s going to be too much credit. I just kind of stay humble. Stay doing the deal and stick to the grind. Hopefully, I’m so busy working I don’t even pay attention to all of that.”
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It’s Browning’s built-in mechanism to stay grounded because he knows what’s coming — the hype.
Collectively, the Huskies (5-0, 2-0 Pac-12) crushed Stanford (3-1, 2-1) in such a dominating manner — it was their largest margin of victory over a top-10 team — that they’ll catapult into the College Football Playoff conversation.
Individually, no player benefited more from the showcase, then Browning who had a masterful performance on a national stage.
He finished with 210 yards and three touchdowns on 15-of-21 passing while dissecting an injury-riddled Stanford defense that surrendered a Pac-12 best 12 points per game in its first three outings.
Browning increased his TD total to 17, which is tops in the Pac-12 and second nationally. He would have added another if linebacker Psalm Wooching, who also plays fullback, caught a 3-yard throw in the end zone that bounced off his hands early in the second quarter.
“I want to see it on film before I really get on him,” Browning said. “I think he probably feels bad about it more than I’m (upset) about it.”
Browning enjoyed UW’s defensive dominance and a ground attack that rolled up 214 yards, while lamenting three throws that could led to an even bigger night.
“Two deep balls and one that should have been picked on the last drive,” he said. “It’s part of football. You remember the plays that you want back, but I’m obviously happy to get a win.”
The ESPN-TV audience — certainly most viewers on the East Coast — likely tuned in anticipating another brilliant display from Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey, who was held to 79 yards (49 rushing and 30 receiving).
Instead, Browning elevated himself into the Heisman Trophy race with another near-flawless performance. He entered the game third in the country in pass efficiency.
“That kid has got spunk,” said UW receiver John Ross III, who had four catches for 82 yards, including a 19-yard TD reception. “He’s amazing. This won’t be his best game. He’ll continue to grow and he’s got better games coming.
“He kept his poise. This was a big game and just to see his attitude the day before it was amazing. He doesn’t get rattled.”
Browning also doesn’t do motivational pep talks.
“If I tried to do a rah-rah speech everybody would look at me like I’m dumb,” he said. “That’s not really my thing. Just execute and do your deal.”
When asked about the Husky fans rushing on the field after the game, he said: “It was one of the coolest things I have ever been a part of.”
It was business as usual.
“The guy is like Tom Brady,” UW defensive lineman Elijah Qualls said. “You look at him and he’s not physically imposing or anything like that. But that guy is one of the main leaders of this team and one of reason why this team can go as far it can.”