TUCSON, Ariz. — It looked like little more than an emergency appearance.

On the final play of UW’s opening drive Friday, quarterback Dylan Morris was sacked for a 7-yard loss. Husky coach Jimmy Lake said Morris’ “face mask and everything came up on him (during the hit), and (UW medical personnel) couldn’t get his nose to stop bleeding.”

Morris disappeared into the medical tent while true freshman Sam Huard high-fived backup left tackle Roger Rosengarten and commenced throwing on the sideline.

The former five-star recruit — also the most decorated signal caller in the history of the state, with 13,214 passing yards in three and a half sparkling seasons at Kennedy Catholic — entered the game with 9:01 left in the first quarter.

UW’s subsequent drive went as follows:

Handoff, handoff, handoff, handoff, incomplete pass negated by offsides penalty, handoff, false start penalty, incomplete pass that was nearly intercepted, punt.

It was a six-play, 18-yard slog that lasted all of three minutes and 15 seconds.


It was also the end of Huard’s night.

After his untimely nosebleed mercifully concluded, Morris returned and completed 13 of 21 passes for 217 yards and two touchdowns in Washington’s 21-16 win over 0-7 Arizona. That included a pair of 51-yard strikes to wide receiver Terrell Bynum, an obvious improvement after UW managed 65 total yards in an offensively embarrassing first half.

And Huard? The 6-2, 190-pound passer’s cameo appeared to be a six-play band-aid — an impromptu precaution.

But according to Lake, it was actually part of the plan.

“Our plan was to get Sam in the game even before that (Morris nosebleed) happened,” Lake said after the game. “We know Sam has come along every single day from spring football up until now. It has nothing to do with Dylan. We just want to make sure we’re ready, because you can see at any moment we can lose our starting quarterback, just like our opponent (Arizona) has lost two starting quarterbacks. So we need to make sure that next guy is ready to go.

“So Sam will get another opportunity down the road. We’re not sure which game it will be. But to this point he’s played two games. If it turns out to be a redshirt it’s going to be two more, or you never know. He might have to play some more, depending on health.”

Lake also confirmed that the plan — regardless of Morris’ status — was for Huard to play a single drive against Arizona.


But how does a single drive — and five handoffs — help Huard be “ready to go” in the event of a Morris injury (or a continued absence of offensive improvement)?

When asked how the game plan shifted (away from passes, apparently) with Huard in the game, Lake said: “Normally what you would do with a younger player is you would make sure it’s plays that he feels really good about. He knows all the plays. But you definitely want to set him, or anybody, up for success.”

Judging by the plays offensive coordinator John Donovan called, it appears UW’s coaching staff has little faith in its freshman backup’s ability to succeed. And that assertion squares with Lake’s statement last Monday that the Huskies are “nowhere near” a quarterback change, despite Morris’ conference-worst eight interceptions in his first seven games.

And yet — according to Lake, at least — Huard has not been definitively ticketed for a redshirt season.

“I wouldn’t say that,” Lake said. “We’re all focused in on the 2021 season and we’re trying to win as many football games as we can. So that hasn’t been the goal at all (to redshirt Huard). I look at our opponent losing two quarterbacks and having to play their third quarterback. At any point he may have to go, and now we’re rolling. So that’s not the goal at all. We’re trying to win football games in 2021.”

When asked if Huard has specifically asked to redshirt, Lake added: “I’ll keep those conversations (between) him and I, but I know he wants to play and he’s ready to go. I know that.”


But is he ready to run the offense? And if he is, are Lake and Donovan ready to let him?

They did little of the sort in the desert Friday night.

Tupuola-Fetui’s role continues to expand

While Huard’s freshman prospects remain clouded, the plan for outside linebacker Zion Tupuola-Fetui — who recorded his first sack of the season Friday, then sprinted to the sideline, leaped clear over the bench and took a bow — is abundantly clear.

“(He’s) another guy that brings just awesome juice,” Lake said. “He’s a huge boost to morale. He’s a huge boost to our opponents worrying about where he is and rushing (the passer). He causes a lot of havoc in the backfield.

“Seeing what I saw (in the game), and seeing it afterwards (in the locker room), I would say that his pitch count is going to be even (higher) now going into the next game. We had him on a pitch count in the first game against UCLA. He had more plays tonight. I don’t have the exact numbers right now, but it’s somewhere in the 20-something (play) range. I’m expecting for him to play even more coming up against Stanford.”