BRENT STECKER

Jake Browning throws record-tying 5 TDs in No. 8 Huskies’ 59-14 win

Sep 10, 2016, 5:29 PM | Updated: 6:50 pm

Another week, another completely dominant performance for the No. 8 Washington Huskies.

Led by quarterback Jake Browning and a defense that left Idaho players in need of extra ice packs, the Huskies got off to a fast start again and beat Idaho 59-14 on Saturday.

And by fast start, I do mean fast start.

Budda Baker and Sidney Jones crushed Vandals returner Callen Hightower on the opening kickoff, knocking the ball loose for Keishawn Bierria to recover. On the next play, Browning moved outside of the pocket to find an open Dante Pettis in the end zone. And just like that, 16 seconds into a game in which Washington didn’t even receive the initial kickoff, it led 7-0.

It wasn’t all smooth sailing for the Huskies, however, as they failed to really get their running game going again in Week 2 and didn’t score their second touchdown of the game against an overmatched Idaho team until the second quarter. There were no problems in that quarter, however, as UW took a 35-0 advantage into halftime and never looked back to improve to 2-0 on the season.

Turning point: JoJo McIntosh caused a fumble at the goal line and Azeem Victor recovered it, saving the Huskies from finding themselves in a tie game with 6:45 left in the first quarter. Because of that stop and takeaway, Washington kept Idaho out of the end zone until the third quarter, at which point it had already built a 42-point cushion. The turning point nearly was the kickoff fumble recovery and touchdown pass to open the game, but UW had to deal with some ineffectiveness by the offensive line that accounted for a strip of Browning and recovered fumble by Idaho before the Dawgs took complete control.

Biggest takeaway: The UW passing game is going to be a force to reckon with all season, but the running game and offensive line has some work to catch up with Browning and co. The fact that Browning tied the school record with five touchdown passes (to three different receivers) even while having to create time for himself while the O-line worked out some kinks is pretty telling of the level of play he and John Ross, Chico McClatcher and Dante Pettis are setting right now.

Player of the game: Browning gets the nod this week thanks to his record-tying performance. In addition to the TDs, he completed 23 of 28 passes, didn’t throw a pick, and at one point completed 13 straight attempts. He finished with 294 yards through the air and a ridiculous 229.3 rating. He also eluded numerous sacks, which is certainly worth mentioning considering the offensive line’s issues. “He did a great job of scrambling out there and keeping his eyes down the field. We have actually been working on that quite a bit,” head coach Chris Petersen said after the game.

Play of the game: Washington had some success in the screen game, as Browning set up McClatcher for a dazzling 30-yard catch and run for a touchdown in the second quarter. McClatcher’s combination of speed and moves made it look all too easy for the second TD of the year for the sophomore from Federal Way.

A small step forward: Myles Gaskin had a better showing than in Week 1, running for 67 yards and a touchdown on 12 attempts for 5.6 yards per carry. It was definitely an improvement from his 3.8 average against Rutgers, but his long run was just 11 yards as opponents seem set on keeping him under wraps. The passing game’s success hasn’t necessitated the need for more from Gaskin, but you can bet UW will want its sophomore tailback running more efficiently by Pac-12 play.

Hard hitters: The Huskies forced two fumbles, both of which they recovered, and both of which they created the old-fashioned way – through brute force. The combined hit by Baker and Jones on the opening kickoff was of the variety that makes even mere spectators say “ouch,” as was JoJo McIntosh’s touchdown-saving play. Those were far from the only bone-crunching tackles of the day, but they were the most memorable.

They said it: Safety Budda Baker – “We had a great time on defense.”

Brent Stecker

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Jake Browning throws record-tying 5 TDs in No. 8 Huskies’ 59-14 win