Dwayne Washington struggled to run the ball, but he had a big game receiving against Utah State, finishing with 131 receiving yards and two touchdowns.
Dwayne Washington had his mom on his mind when he broke free from the Utah State Aggies and saw nothing but the end zone in front of him.
“When I see green like that I think about scoring a touchdown for her and for the team as well,” said the Washington Huskies running back. “She loves to see touchdowns and I like to give it to her.”
Early in the second quarter of the Huskies’ 31-17 win over Utah State on Saturday, Washington collected a short pass near the line of scrimmage before turning up field and beating Aggies linebacker Nick Vigil to the sideline.
Dwayne Washington by the numbers
5 Receptions for Washington, a team high on Saturday.
131 Receiving yards for Washington, also a team high.
2 Touchdowns scored by Washington. Also, his net rushing yards on Saturday.
Eight seconds later, Washington dashed 81 yards and left a trail of Utah State defenders grasping at air during the second-longest touchdown reception by a running back in UW history.
It was his seventh play of 50 yards or longer.
“They got soft,” quarterback Jake Browning said of Utah State’s pass coverage. “I just went to my check down. He’s an athletic dude. Any check down to him can turn into a really big play.”
With 9:49 left in the third quarter, Browning spotted Washington running free in the Aggies’ secondary and hit him with a 33-yard touchdown pass that gave UW a 24-10 lead.
“They were in 2-high, Cover 4 (and) we just ran Dwayne up the middle,” Browning said. “Like I said, he’s a very athletic guy … and it’s really hard for a (middle) linebacker to cover Dwayne 1-on-1.
“He got behind him. I don’t think it was an amazing throw or anything. It was just wide open.”
Washington isn’t your prototypical running back, which can be exhilarating and frustrating for Husky fans.
In a city where Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch runs with Beast Mode ferocity, Washington is a speedy long strider who is more apt to outrun than run over a defender.
For the second time this season, the Huskies (2-1) struggled to gain yards on the ground. They tallied just 74 yards on 35 carries for a 2.1 average. In a 16-13 season-opening loss at Boise State, UW had 29 yards on 22 attempts.
Washington isn’t the biggest reason for the running troubles, but he’s not without blame.
“There’s a lot that goes into the run game,” UW offensive coordinator Jonathan Smith said. “The way it’s blocked. The angle or track he’s taking. … The run game is more than just one back.”
Still, it’s difficult to make sense of Washington’s three-game performance. He’s fourth on the team with 29 rushing yards on 17 carries. And he’s averaging just 1.7 yards per attempt.
However, the 6-2, 226-pound playmaker is a threat to go the distance every time he touches the ball.
He leads the Huskies in receiving yards (204), receptions (14) and receiving touchdowns (2).
Against Utah State, Washington finished with five catches for 131 yards and two touchdowns – all game highs.
“He’s a versatile player,” Smith said. “He’s caught the ball really well and we’re going to try to exploit that because he can run.”
After Myles Gaskin ran for 146 yards last week, some Husky fans believed the freshman won the job.
However, Washington made his third start Saturday while Gaskins finished with a team-high 42 yards on 15 carries.
“We’re confident with him,” Smith said when asked about Washington. “He’s going to continue to get the carries and touches.