The Huskies finished with 351 yards of total offense on 65 plays, averaging 5.4 yards per play. "We were able to get it done against a really good Colorado team and you can’t be mad about that," Jake Browning said.
Jake Browning knew what was coming before the fourth-down snap.
He didn’t know what that celebration was about after the play.
Instead of settling for a long field-goal attempt, the Huskies decided to go for it on fourth-and-five midway through the fourth quarter. Browning had a feeling Colorado would bring a Cover Zero blitz. The Buffaloes did exactly that, and one linebacker was completely unblocked in his pursuit of the quarterback.
But before the linebacker could deliver a hit on Browning, the Huskies’ senior QB delivered a pass in stride to Aaron Fuller on a slant route. Fuller caught it in the middle of the field and finished off a 26-yard touchdown with 3:50 remaining in the fourth quarter of the Huskies’ 27-13 victory Saturday afternoon at Husky Stadium.
Browning, after taking the hit, was on his back as Fuller crossed into the end zone.
“I was on the ground right after I threw the slant and it probably looked like I had a full-body seizure because I was so excited,” he said “Yeah, I don’t know what I was doing there.”
Whatever it was, it worked. Despite a slow start, despite two turnovers and despite missing star running back Myles Gaskin (shoulder), the Huskies offense was able to finish strong, using a 12-play, 84-yard drive in the fourth quarter to chew up almost 6 minutes off the clock and put the Buffaloes away.
“It’s huge, man,” first-year offensive coordinator Bush Hamdan said. “Any time you start wherever we started on that drive (at the UW 16-yard line) with the game on the line, being able to execute in a conference like this — that’s what it comes down to, those kinds of drives. We’re obviously happy to finish that.”
Sean McGrew, in the first start of his career, rushed for 9 yards on the first play of the drive. Four plays later, facing a third-and-eight, Browning scrambled for 12 yards in the middle of the field to pick up a first down.
Over the past month, coaches have worked with Browning on his scrambling drills, urging him to try to run forward and not revert to those looping, backward runs that had gotten him in trouble at times in his career. The extra work showed in the fourth quarter Saturday.
“That was clutch. That was a big run,” UW coach Chris Petersen said. “That was one of the bigger plays in the game, I thought. He’s usually fine when he’s going forward. We can live with those things.”
Sophomore Kamari Pleasant, UW’s fourth-string running back, added an 11-yard run on the drive; Salvon Ahmed had a 7-yard run and McGrew added two more runs of 6 yards and 1 yard, helping set up the fourth-down touchdown pass to Fuller.
“We just had the right play called,” Fuller said. “Once I saw the coverage, I knew I had to give it my best release since I was the first read on the play.”
The Huskies finished with 351 yards of total offense on 65 plays, averaging 5.4 yards per play.
“We kept plugging away, kept fighting,” Browning said. “I think we made it harder on ourselves than it needed to be at times. But, hey, we were able to get it done against a really good Colorado team and you can’t be mad about that.”