How would a young Washington team respond in its first game on the road?
The results speak for themselves (but if they don’t, we’ll add some context). Here are three impressions from the Huskies’ 45-19 win over Brigham Young.
Eason on the mark
A hostile road environment did not affect Jacob Eason much Saturday.
So little, in fact, that Washington’s junior quarterback completed 24 of 28 passes for 290 yards with three touchdowns and an interception — and one of those incompletions was voluntarily thrown out of bounds.
Eason — a 6-foot-6, 227-pounder from Lake Stevens — capped Washington’s first two drives with 17-yard touchdown passes to running back Richard Newton and wide receiver Aaron Fuller, respectively. On his first touchdown, the supposedly immobile Eason was flushed out of the pocket, before rolling right and finding Newton alone in the corner of the end zone. He then flashed his elite arm strength in touchdown strikes on crossing routes to Fuller and Andre Baccellia.
When the former five-star quarterback announced his transfer from Georgia to Washington last year, many fans might have allowed themselves to imagine performances like the one Eason unleashed on the helpless BYU Cougars. He was accurate. He was efficient. His right arm was a rocket launcher, delivering seeds to teammates in precariously tight windows.
Yes, there were red-zone issues — again. Yes, Eason threw his second interception of the season. It was not a perfect performance for the Washington offense.
But for Eason, at least, Chris Petersen and Bush Hamdan will take that performance every time.
Fuller’s big day
There have been more than a few knocks on Aaron Fuller in the past.
He drops too many passes.
He doesn’t break enough tackles.
He doesn’t play tough enough.
You’ve heard them all. You might have even said them.
But Fuller certainly looked like a premier Pac-12 wide receiver Saturday. The 5-11, 188-pound senior hauled in a 17-yard touchdown pass in the first half, and added an 88-yard punt-return touchdown in the third quarter for good measure. He led the Huskies with eight catches, 91 yards and two touchdowns Saturday. Fuller has scored five touchdowns in four games this season.
The former three-star recruit is not John Ross or Dante Pettis. We know that. But on Saturday, he was too much for BYU to handle nevertheless.
The fortuitous fumbles
Washington’s defense was not remarkably impressive.
Of course, besides the forced fumbles.
UW forced and recovered a pair of fumbles that resulted immediately in Huskies touchdowns. Late in the first quarter, junior outside linebacker Ryan Bowman burst into the backfield and strip-sacked BYU quarterback Zach Wilson. Linebacker Brandon Wellington — a former Eastside Catholic running back, by the way — scooped the ball up and returned it untouched 69 yards for a touchdown, placing the ball neatly in the end zone.
With Washington holding a somewhat narrow 24-12 lead to begin the third quarter, freshman cornerback Trent McDuffie made the most impactful play of his young UW career, stripping BYU receiver Dax Milne before recovering the fumble. Three plays later, Eason stared down a blitz and found Baccellia on a crossing route for a 35-yard score.
On the road, against a legitimate opponent, it sometimes takes a turnover or two to secure an impressive victory. The UW defense forced enough fumbles to eventually put the Cougars away.