No. 4 Huskies’ Myles Gaskin has put worries of sophomore slump to rest
In each of the first four games of the Washington Huskies’ season, Myles Gaskin failed to reach the 100-yard mark, prompting questions about a potential sophomore slump for the talented running back out of Seattle’s O’Dea High School.
Four games later, those questions have been put to rest.
Gaskin has rushed for at least 100 yards in each of No. 4 UW’s past four wins, including 151 in last Saturday’s 31-24 victory over No. 16 Utah. He has 878 yards on the year, ranking 19th in the country and first in the Pac-12.
So, has anything changed since those first four games?
UW coach Chris Petersen addressed that on Monday, and the answer is yes – and not just as it pertains to Gaskin.
“I think opportunities and touches and a combination of the O-line doing a little better,” Petersen said. “Getting into a rhythm, so when the O-line is covering guys up, he’s going to find creases, and then when they don’t … he’s getting positive things, and he can make a guy miss and run through a tackle. I think it always comes back to kind of that rhythm and that flow of being able to stay on the field and keep giving him the ball.”
The offensive line surely deserves credit for getting the running game on track, as it isn’t just Gaskin that has found success in recent weeks. Lavon Coleman, who has been the Huskies’ change-of-pace back, has built off of a breakout 181-yard performance in Week 4 against Arizona, rushing for 231 yards on just 32 carries for a 7.2 average over the past four games.
The combination of the bruising Coleman, shifty Gaskin and steadily improving offensive line has resulted in a UW running game that ranks 27th in the FBS at 224 rushing yards per game. Put that together with the highly efficient passing attack led by quarterback Jake Browning, and it’s easy to see why the Huskies are still undefeated after eight games.
Staying on the road
The Huskies head to Berkeley this Saturday for a night game against the Cal Bears, who are 4-4 overall and sit fourth in the Pac-12 North with a 2-3 conference record. It will be the second straight away game for UW, and while that may sound like a disadvantage, there is something to be said for staying out on the road after playing at Utah last weekend, according to Petersen.
“I think it’s good we just went on the road in a tough environment, so it just feels a lot different playing at home than on the road,” Petersen said. “To go right back into another (road) environment I think can be a positive. Cal is good at home like most are. If we’ve got to go on the road, to go back-to-back I think is OK.”
The Cal game will be the final road contest for the Huskies until the Apple Cup in Pullman on Nov. 25.