The Washington Huskies took care of business at home against the Oregon State Beavers, winning 42-23 in their final game at Husky Stadium of the season. Washington’s senior-laden offense came out firing, scoring a touchdown on each of their first four drives of the game.
“We felt good about it,” offensive coordinator Bush Hamdan said following the win. “We put an emphasis on starting fast, I thought we executed well. We need to put two halves together. I think that’s the biggest thing as we move forward here finishing a game and we have to do a better job in the second half.”
Senior tight end Drew Sample reiterated the sentiment that although his team started fast, they would like to perform better in the third and fourth quarter.
“We felt good about it,” the Newport High School product added. “We put an emphasis on starting fast, I thought we executed well. We need to put two halves together. I think that’s the biggest thing as we move forward here finishing a game and we have to do a better job in the second half.”
The Huskies had only scored 30 or more points once in conference play prior to their handling of Oregon State. Hamdan mentioned that the bye week gave the coaching staff a chance to analyze the offense and figure out what makes it tick.
“Yeah, I just think it’s always good to have a bye week. It came a lot later than normal for us, but the ability to just look at what you’ve done, what’s been efficient and what hasn’t been as good. But overall, just a big focus for us, did some better things in the passing game to compliment the run game. That was the biggest thing that probably comes to mind.”
Washington ran the ball exceptionally well, earning 275 yards on the ground. Senior tailback Myles Gaskin picked up 101 yards on his first three carries of the game before finishing the night with 135 yards and a score. Salvon Ahmed, who scored a pair of touchdowns and tallied 76 yards on the ground, was complimentary of Gaskin’s strong performance.
“It’s big to have him. He’s a big part of our offense,” the Juanita High School alum said. “I know as running backs we are just cherishing every single moment we get to have and he’s going to be gone soon, so we’re still just trying to learn as much as possible and we’re happy to have him back.”
The Huskies had already tallied 151 yards by the end of the first quarter. Gaskin ’s 107 first quarter yards set the tone for a big game on the ground for Washington.
“I think it was just dominant, just being him,” Ahmed explained. “I think a lot of it has to do with the offensive line as well. They were able to get a lot of big holes for us and he was able to break out and do what he does. I was really happy for him. I always want to see him succeed.
Over the course of the game, the Dawgs averaged 6.5 yards per carry and found the end zone three times.
“We felt like we did a decent job of mixing the inside stuff, the outside stuff” Hamdan explained. “Just changing up the different types of runs we were doing, keeping it balanced, and once we started blocking in the secondary, we started creating big plays.”
The run game wasn’t the only thing working for the Huskies. Senior signal caller Jake Browning finished the night with 248 yards and three touchdowns while completing 17 of his 23 attempted passes. The record-setting quarterback broke yet another record, as his 37 career wins are the most by any quarterback in the history of the PAC-12.
“Feels good,” Browning said of the accolade. “Played a lot of football. I think we’re moving on with the Cougs though. That’s pretty much it.”
Washington’s next opponent is their cross-state rival, Washington State. The Cougars and the Huskies will battle for the right to represent the north in the conference championship. Browning is aware that his squad has to come ready for a fight Friday night in Pullman.
“They’re ranked pretty high and are playing at a high level. We have to come ready to play.”
Just like every year, the PAC-12 has been a brutal bloodbath of equally matched teams trudging through a nine-game long conference schedule. The now 8-3 Huskies had high hopes heading into the season, and while they have suffered three losses to date, they still have a PAC-12 title in their sights.
“I don’t really care what people were hoping for this season,” Browning admitted following the win. “Every team is undefeated at the beginning of the season, so it’s like everybody beats the crap out of each other in the PAC-12 and it’s who can absorb the blows and just keep battling, because there are plenty of teams that, like us, had high expectations for the season and haven’t been able to absorb the blows and keep battling.”
The Huskies will look to continue to battle next Friday in Pullman.