PROVO, Utah — Washington had a 100-yard rusher in Saturday’s 45-19 victory over BYU.
It wasn’t Salvon Ahmed.
UW’s 5-foot-11, 196-pound junior starter — who entered the week with a team-best 246 rushing yards, to go along with two touchdowns and 5.6 yards per carry — did not make the trip to Provo, Utah, because of a leg injury, coach Chris Petersen confirmed after the game.
“He was not close to being able to play (today),” Petersen said, “but he’s close to being able to play next week and the week after and the week after. So we’ll see.”
That sounds like the definition of “week to week,” which is new territory for a player who had previously appeared in all 30 games of his UW career. Petersen added that the leg injury has been lingering since before Washington’s home win over Hawaii and it “just got a little bit worse, but we think we’re making good progress with it. So we’ll see.”
Even so, UW didn’t need Ahmed against BYU. Junior Sean McGrew led the Huskies with 110 rushing yards, and redshirt freshman Richard Newton added a rushing and receiving score for good measure.
In all, UW compiled 187 rushing yards and 4.8 yards per carry.
So when it comes to capable running backs, Ahmed is not the only answer.
“You cannot have just one good player at that position,” Petersen said (for the umpteenth time). “That’s been our mantra around here for a long time. It’s just too physical of a game, and even if the guy stays healthy you’ve got to spell each other and it’s got to be a 1-2 or a 1-2-3 punch. And it was awesome.”
Tryon ejected for targeting
Joe Tryon tweeted during the middle of Saturday’s game.
But first, Washington’s 6-foot-5, 262-pound sophomore outside linebacker was ejected for targeting for an arguably high hit on BYU quarterback Zach Wilson.
“Sitting in this lockeroom alone I miss my dawgs,” Tryon tweeted in the third quarter, before adding a well-timed crying emoji. “they goin in (right now) tho”.
Tryon’s penalty came on the first play of the third quarter, and the timing is significant. By rule, the sophomore starter must also miss the first half of next weekend’s home game against USC.
“I can’t tell you how much we work on that,” Petersen said. “Things happen fast out there, and it’s all about pad level. There’s a certain strike zone, and if you’re not there it’s a stiff penalty.”
UW snaps third quarter streak
Washington was essentially dominated in back-to-back third quarters against Cal and Hawaii.
The opposite occurred Saturday.
UW outscored BYU 21-7 in the third quarter, essentially scoring in every which way. After a Trent McDuffie forced fumble, quarterback Jacob Eason dodged a blitz and hit Andre Baccellia on a slant for a 35-yard score. Senior receiver Aaron Fuller added an 88-yard punt-return touchdown, and Newton barreled in for a 3-yard score.
The Cougars’ only rebuttal was the result of Eason’s only interception of the day. On the next play, Wilson found receiver Matt Bushman (on a pass that corner Keith Taylor probably should have intercepted) for a 7-yard touchdown.
But one mistake, in this case, is many fewer than the Huskies had made in previous third quarters.
“I don’t know why the last two weeks we haven’t started that (way in the third quarter),” Petersen said. “You can’t just talk about things, right? You’ve got to work on them. That’s not good coaching, just talking, ‘Hey, we’ve got to come out in the third quarter …’
“There’s some things in practice we tried to emphasize and tried to get done to help those things. But they came out and they played (well).”
McDuffie makes starting debut
Before he forced (and recovered) that fumble, freshman cornerback McDuffie leap-frogged Kyler Gordon to make his first career start.
“Certain guys earn it,” Petersen said. “You give them reps. They play well. They do well in practice. (Defensive coordinator Jimmy Lake is) going to rotate guys in there. Trent’s been one of those guys since we got him; he’s been locked in.
“It’s … yeah, it’s hard to describe. You can just tell. The stage is not too big. He’s ready to compete and ready to go.”
Fake field goal
Washington’s fake field goal from the BYU 5-yard line in the second quarter — in which holder Race Porter caught the snap, took off and was swallowed up 4 yards shy of the end zone — was so ineffective it almost looked like the Huskies didn’t plan to run it.
Because, well, they didn’t.
“The (fake) field goal was a miscommunication,” Petersen said. “The fake should not have been run. It’s on me. That’s me.”