It was one of those catches that makes the crowd instantly erupt in cheers.
With four minutes and 17 seconds left in the first quarter, Jacob Eason dropped back to pass and scanned the field. He was on Washington’s 14-yard line when he saw senior receiver Aaron Fuller racing into the end zone. Eason threw the pass. Fuller did the rest.
Fuller turned around and with one arm holding back Eastern cornerback Darreon Moore, he leapt and caught the ball with his right arm. A twist and a toe tap put the finishing touches on what might end up being the catch of the season.
“It was just a risk honestly,” Fuller said. “I didn’t know I was going to catch it. Thank God, I did. That thing just fell in place for me to catch it.”
This summer, Washington put an emphasis on the role of its wide receivers. In Saturday’s season-opening drubbing of Eastern, the team did just that as four out of Washington’s six touchdowns came from senior receivers.
Fuller had a game-high two touchdowns while Andre Baccellia and Chico McClatcher also scored. Baccellia led the Huskies with 84 yards on five receptions.
“The receivers made some plays today,” Washington coach Chris Petersen said. “That’s what we needed to do. We need to be well positioned to make sure they have space to operate and go make plays, and I think we did a nice job of that today.”
Fuller’s acrobatics weren’t over as he added a second, leaping touchdown grab minutes into the second half on an 18-yard strike from Eason. It marked the first game in the senior’s career with more than one touchdown. He had 73 yards on five receptions.
“Aaron Fuller did an awesome job today, really proud of him,” Petersen said. “He made a tough catch but two really, really good catches.”
On Washington’s second scoring drive, Baccellia needed just eight seconds to streak 50 yards downfield and catch Eason’s first touchdown pass with the Huskies. The 50-yard reception was Baccellia’s longest career reception.
“I was happy for the both of them,” Fuller said. “For Eason getting that first run under his belt and then just Andre scoring. He hasn’t scored since his freshman year, so I was ecstatic to see him.”
Baccellia’s last trip to the end zone was a 4-yard touchdown in Washington’s 2016 season opener against Rutgers when he was a redshirt freshman.
After only playing the first eight games last season, McClatcher celebrated his first touchdown since 2016 with a 10-yard touchdown reception from Eason at the end of the second quarter. He ended the game with 57 yards and five receptions.
Saturday’s four touchdown receptions marks the most the Huskies have scored since their game against Fresno State on Sept. 16, 2017.
It was a welcome sign for a group that will likely be without junior receiver Ty Jones, who is expected to miss the majority of the 2019 season.