The Huskies defense, receivers and rushing game were the stories of the day in UW's home opener.
A week after its season-opening loss to Auburn, No. 9 Washington bounced back with its first victory of the season Saturday, a 45-3 defeat of FCS North Dakota before an announced crowd of 68,093 at Husky Stadium. Early impressions from the Huskies’ home opener:
The Huskies shut out North Dakota, an FCS program, in the first half, holding the Fighting Hawks to 122 yards on 35 plays (3.5 yards per play). The Huskies aggressively came after North Dakota’s Nate Ketteringham, with Taylor Rapp twice sacking the QB on safety blitzes. The Huskies’ last shutout was against another FCS program, Sacramento State, in 2015 (Huskies won 49-0).
Jake Browning was far from perfect in the first home game of his final season as Washington’s QB. He threw two interceptions, and after the second one he went to the sideline and picked up the receiver on one of those old-fashioned desk phones. He typically talks with first-year offensive coordinator Bush Hamdan after each drive, and after this call Browning emphatically slammed the receiver down. He put his helmet back on, then stood on the sideline with his hands on his hips. It was an uneven performance for the offense in general — uninspired, really. The receivers once again came through with some big plays — Aaron Fuller looks more and more like a No. 1 receiver — but this didn’t feel like the sort of dominating offensive performance one would expect of a top-10 team against a lower-division opponent. Redshirt freshman QB Jake Haener make his debut for UW in the fourth quarter and completed all five of his passes on his first drive. Three of those completions went to Ty Jones, who made a spectacular one-handed grab for a touchdown while being held by a defender.
Run … away
It was not a good day for the Huskies’ rushing attack, which was supposed to be the strength of this UW offense. Myles Gaskin averaged just 3.5 yards on his 15 carries, and the UW offensive line struggled early to open up any running lanes. Junior center Nick Harris was out with an undisclosed injury, and senior Jesse Sosebee started in his first career appearance at center. Junior left tackle Jared Hilbers and redshirt freshman Jaxson Kirkland also make their starting debuts at Husky Stadium. Coach Chris Petersen did confirm to the Pac-12 Network before the game that star left tackle Trey Adams will be out long term and after having back surgery this week — though Petersen did say Adams is not necessarily out for the entire season.