Reporters Adam Jude and Percy Allen offer their impressions after the Huskies achieved a 31-17 victory over Utah State at Husky Stadium, improving the team's record to 2-1.
Washington defeated Utah State 31-17 on Saturday afternoon at Husky Stadium to finish nonconference play with a 2-1 record. The Huskies open Pac-12 play next week at home against California in another 2 p.m. kickoff.
Here, three quick impressions on the Huskies’ victory from Adam Jude and Percy Allen, first from Jude:
De-fense: But for one breakdown late in the second quarter, UW’s defense was stout for a third straight game. The defense extended its scoreless streak to seven quarters before the Aggies kicked a field goal in the second quarter, cutting UW’s lead to 10-3. Linebackers Azeem Victor and Keishawn Bierria were all over the field, and cornerback Kevin King had his third interception in three games. Utah State senior QB Chuckie Keeton, banged up a week ago in a loss at rival Utah, had little room to work with, with Bierria chasing him around much of the afternoon. The Aggies scored their lone offensive touchdown in the final minute of the second quarter after UW had a protection breakdown in the secondary.
Budda banged up: Making the defense’s performance all the more impressive was the absence of perhaps its most valuable player. On the first series of the game, sophomore safety Budda Baker appeared to injure his left ankle. He did not return to the game. The severity of the injury is not known, but he was seen walking gingerly on the sideline in the first half. As a true freshman last year, Baker played more snaps than any Husky player — nearly 1,100 in all — and through the first two games this season he was again playing the most snaps on the team.
Runned down: The Huskies’ rushing attack, nonexistent in the season-opening loss to Boise State, disappeared again on Saturday. It wasn’t for a lack of trying: UW had 16 rushing attempts in the first half — but gained just nine yards total on those runs. Without the run game, the Huskies had to get creative, getting a trick-play touchdown run from backup place-kicker Tristan Vizcaino in the second quarter and using backup QB Jeff Lindquist as a Wildcat rushing option. Junior running back Dwayne Washington, a converted receiver, also had a big day through the air, catching four passes for 127 yards and two TDs from Jake Browning. That included an 81-yard catch-and-run down the left sideline for UW’s first touchdown early in the second quarter.
And now, impressions from Allen:
Huskies’ reconfigured offensive line holds up: Three games into the season, Washington coaches blew up the offensive line. Among the wholesale changes, first-year freshman Tre Adams, redshirt freshman Kaleb McGary and redshirt freshmen Jessee Sosebee made their first career starts at left tackle, right tackle and right guard respectively. Adams replaced sophomore Coleman Shelton, who moved inside to left guard. McGary took over for redshirt freshman Matt James and Sosebee replaced junior Shane Brostek. Senior Siosifa Tufunga remained at center. The revamped O-line had difficulty running the ball (74 yards), but it provided plenty of time for quarterback Jake Browning who finished with 368 yards on 22-of-31 passing and three touchdowns. Washington surrendered just one sack to a team that was third in nation last year in sacks.
Dwayne Washington busts loose: After a pedestrian outing last week (four carries for 13 yards and 2 touchdowns), junior Dwayne Washington showed why he remains the No. 1 running back. The one-time receiver is still coming into his own as a runner, but the speedy playmaker is a scoring threat every time he touches the ball. In the second quarter, Washington caught a short pass, outran a Utah State linebacker to the sideline and ran away from the Aggies en route to an 81-yard touchdown reception. Early in the third quarter, Washington also caught a 33-yard touchdown pass. He finished with just two rushing yards on five carries. However, he also had a game-high 127 receiving yards on four receptions.
Washington put a lot on film: In their final tuneup before next week’s Pac-12 opener against California, Washington gave the Golden Bears a lot to think about. The Huskies unveiled a few gadget plays, including a trick field goal that resulted in Tristan Vizcaino’s 3-yard TD run. They used backup quarterback Jeff Lindquist in the red zone for a couple of plays. In his third start, Browning showed a command of the offense that was missing in the previous games. Other than a missed handoff exchange with Washington at the goal line, Browning appeared in control as players while UW showed several offensive formations. Defensively, the Huskies platooned players on the defensive line, linebackers and in the secondary.