His 368 passing yards was a UW freshman record.
Brian Urlacher’s pregame ritual was to eat exactly two Girl Scouts cookies.
John Henderson’s was to have the medical trainer slap him in the face.
Jake Browning’s is, well, this hasn’t been confirmed, but we assume it’s to slather his jersey with oil.
Jake Browning numbers
368 Passing yards for Browning, the most ever by a UW freshman.
3 Touchdown passes for Browning, including two to Dwayne Washington.
22 Completions, out of 31 attempts, for Browning, a season high.
Mistakes seem to roll right off the kid’s back.
Here is the shiny stat line the freshman quarterback posted in Washington’s 31-17 win over Utah State Saturday: 22-31-368-3-1.
That’s a pristine passing-percentage and a top-notch TD total, but the most impressive number? Browning’s one interception.
Namely because of what he accomplished afterward.
On the first play of the second half, with the Huskies up 17-10, Browning chucked a 27-yard pass that fell into the hands of Utah State’s Devin Centers. Immediately, a press-box wag muttered “can’t do that,” and he was right — the throw was indiscreet, inaccurate, and had the potential to render Jake’s first-half stats invalid.
But after cornerback Kevin King got the ball back for Washington via an interception three plays later, something unusual happened: A true freshman transformed the low point of the game into a springboard toward new heights.
Browning completed his next pass to Jaydon Mickens for a gain of 13 yards. He completed the pass after that to Brayden Lenius for a gain of 18.
He followed with a 33-yard pass to Dwayne Washington for a touchdown, then four straight completions on the next drive, which ended in a spin move-turned scoring toss that had him looking like Russell Wilson.
All in all, Browning connected on 12 straight passes after that third-quarter pick and put the Huskies ahead by 21. The kid doesn’t rattle. Call him Hand-don’t-shake Jake.
“That’s kind of how he is. He’s kind of like ‘next play,’ whether he throws a touchdown or he throws an interception he’s on to the next play,” Washington coach Chris Petersen said of Browning, whose 368 passing yards was a UW freshman record.
“I think that’s kind of a rare and unique quality. I think all quarterbacks would like to have that but I still think it’s rare for most quarterbacks to truly have that. He has it.”
Saturday was the most prolific performance in Browning’s young college career, but it was hardly the first time he showed resilience.
Fifteen days earlier, after a dismal first half in Boise, Browning completed passes of 19, 17, 15 and 8 yards on the Huskies’ final drive to set up a potential game-tying field goal from 46 yards.
Did Washington end up falling short on the blue turf?
But in defeat, Browning displayed a sense of calm that hasn’t wavered in the two weeks since.
After Saturday’s win, King described Browning’s composure as “amazing,” adding that he is the most diligent film student he has ever met. Tight end Drew Sample added that, because of his quarterback’s poise in practice, he hasn’t been remotely surprised by Browning’s production thus far.
As for Jake himself? Eh, he’s not all that impressed.
Browning chastised himself for throwing that pick, calling it a “dumb play by me.” He credited his teammates for making him look good in the second half, almost instinctually deferring the praise.
And when discussing how he was able to move on from his interception so seamlessly, he said it all came down to having a short memory.
Have you always had a short memory, or was that something you had to cultivate?, Browning was asked.
“I don’t know. I haven’t really thought about it.”
Of course he hasn’t. It’s in his blood, his makeup, his DNA.
Having said that, Browning is going to have to prove himself all over again next Saturday when the Huskies open up Pac-12 play against undefeated Cal. But he should be ready.
That’s the thing about short memories — you have to forget the bright moments, too.
|UW single-game passing leaders since 1996|
|Jake Browning joined some exclusive company in his third career game with the Huskies. UW’s highest passing games since 1996:|
|Cody Pickett||10/20/01||Arizona||29-49, 455 yards|
|Cody Pickett||9/28/02||Idaho||32-44, 438 yards|
|Keith Price||12/29/11||Baylor||23-37, 438 yards|
|Cody Pickett||11/2/02||UCLA||29-60, 429 yards|
|Cody Pickett||9/21/02||Wyoming||34-45, 404 yards|
|Cody Pickett||10/5/02||California||35-59, 399 yards|
|Keith Price||10/26/13||California||20-32, 376 yards|
|Cody Pickett||11/17/01||Washington St.||25-38, 371 yards|
|Jake Browning||9/19/15||Utah State||22-31, 368 yards|
|Cody Pickett||11/23/02||Washington St.||35-57, 368 yards|
|Source: Associated Press|