The No. 9 ranked University of Washington Huskies completed their mission Saturday afternoon at Husky Stadium when they dispatched the North Dakota Fighting Hawks with a subpar 45 to 3 performance. No disrespect intended to the Fighting Hawks but Saturday’s game was always going to be a matter of how not what.
The Huskies were favored to win and it was a foregone conclusion that they would win, the intrigue was how would the Huskies rebound from last weeks 21 to 16 loss to the Auburn Tigers. North Dakota won the toss and deferred giving the Huskies the opening possession of the game. The Husky offense punted the ball after gaining just one first down in the opening drive. The Husky defense held North Dakota and the offense looked to have settled any concerns when quarterback Jake Browning connected on a four-yard touchdown pass to Ty Jones.
Peyton Henry booted a 29-yard field to give the Huskies the 10-0 lead after a quarter off play and all looked to be going according to plan for the Huskies. Myles Gaskin extended the Huskies lead to 17-0 with a two-yard run in the second quarter. It was ironic that the Huskies used the running game to score their second touchdown of the game. The Huskies had a mere 54 rushing yards in the first. Fortunately for the Huskies, the passing game was decent but not good.
Browning’s performance mirrored that of the run the game, looked good on paper subpar in reality. Browning threw for 244 passing yards and an interception that North Dakota failed to capitalize on when field goal kicker Brady Leach’s 43-yard field was shot of the goal posts.
With a sputtering running game and a mediocre passing game, the Washington defense took it upon its self to be the difference maker in a game that was still close in the third quarter. A one-yard pass from Browning to Cade Oton gave the Huskies a 24-3 lead with 3:35 left in the quarter. The Huskies running game continued to sputter as the Dogs had just 79 rushing yards at the end of the third quarter.
Jake Browning looks down field ( Cascadiasports.net)
With a continued commitment to the run, the Huskies were able to break out of their lethargic rushing game with a Sean McGrew 23 yard touchdown run that padded the score and pushed the Huskies running game stats over the century mark with 102 yards. The Huskies scored two more touchdowns and the win looked efficient and proper on paper but lacked consistency on offense.
- Jake Browning has now thrown for 81 career touchdowns.
- He is the 12th Pac-12 player to throw 80 or more touchdown passes in their career. • Browning went for over 300 yards passing for the eighth time in his career.
- He finished the day with 313 yards through the air and broke into the Pac-12’s all-time top-20 list. He has 9,713 career passing yards, which places him 19th all-time on the Conference list