The UW football team stayed white-hot to start the season, with a 40-22 win over Pac-12 North rival Stanford Saturday night at Husky Stadium. The Huskies got contributions from all over the field, as the pass-rush walloped Stanford quarterback Tanner McKee, and a pair of UW’s key offensive contributors put up career nights. 

Here are three instant impressions from UW’s convincing victory over the Cardinal. 

Taulapapa terrific

The Huskies’ graduate transfer from the University of Virginia finally broke out in his fourth game with the Huskies, rushing for a career-high 120 yards on 13 carries. It was a solid bounce-back performance for Taulapapa, who had averaged just 62.3 rushing yards per game over the first three weeks, and was held to just 36 yards on 12 carries a week ago against Michigan State, while also catching two passes for 31 yards and a touchdown. 

Taulapapa led Virginia last season with 324 rushing yards on 62 carries, while also catching 11 passes for 62 yards, with two rushing and one receiving touchdown. Saturday’s game marked the first time in his college career that Taulapapa had ever rushed for 100 yards in a game. 

The closest Taulapapa had come to 100 yards before was against Duke on Sept. 26, 2020, when he rushed for 95 yards on 16 carries for the Cavaliers. He also rushed for 94 yards on 12 carries in UW’s win over Portland State on Sept. 10. 

After Saturday’s performance, Taulapapa has piled up 307 rushing yards for UW through the first four weeks, 40 yards receiving and four total touchdowns. 

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Pass-rush batters McKee

After three weeks of watching the UW offense get the bulk of the attention, the UW defense finally got its chance to hog some of the spotlight, as the pass rush kept Stanford quarterback Tanner McKee running for his life early in the game. 

The Huskies’ pass rush came into Saturday’s matchup against Stanford with seven total sacks through the first three games of the season, but the Huskies nearly matched that total before halftime. 

UW’s defense sacked McKee four times in the first two drives of the game, and piled on two more before the halftime break for a total of six in the first half. The total wound up being eight sacks for the Huskies, and 10 tackles for a loss.

When in Rome

Husky quarterback Michael Penix Jr.  put up over 300 passing yards for the fourth straight game and sophomore receiver Rome Odunze reaped the benefits with eight receptions for a career-high 161 yards. 

Odunze’s previous career-high came in the Huskies’ season opener against Kent State, when he caught seven passes for 84 yards. Odunze also surpassed his previous career-high with a 61-yard catch in the fourth quarter, which eventually led to a field goal and a 33-15 UW lead. 

Odunze is the fourth UW receiver this season to finish with over 100 yards through the air, after Jalen McMillan and Giles Jackson finished at 127 and 105 yards, respectively, against Portland State, and Ja’Lynn Polk  hauled in six catches for 153 yards last week against the Spartans.