University of Washington football Chris Petersen says he vividly remembers the hardest hit he ever took playing quarterback.
It was when Petersen was at UC Davis, either in 1986 or 1987. The Aggies were playing Chico State.
Petersen dropped back to pass, and was de-cleated by, oddly enough, a former teammate of his at Yuba City High School.
“He blasted me,” Petersen said. “Right now, that (hit) would have him thrown out of the game for targeting, and going to the head and all of that stuff.
“You always remember the hardest ones.”
If that is true, then Huskies quarterback Jake Browning won’t forget Friday night anytime soon.
It was on the second offensive series of the game. On third-and-6, the Rutgers defense overloaded the left side of the line of scrimmage.
Whatever happened next, Petersen called the lack of pass-protection adjustment a coaching mistake from the sideline.
With Browning glued in on a pass-catching target to his left, the junior never saw Rutgers’ defensive end Darnell Davis coming at him from his right side.
Davis planted the UW quarterback with such force, he landed on the turf at High Point Solutions Stadium in a horizontal position, with the football rolling free. It was eventually recovered by right tackle Kaleb McGary.
“That was the worst hit,” Petersen said. “Those are like the worst kind. You don’t want to see those (as a coach) — he did not see that one coming.”
Observers who have followed Browning’s entire career have noted it was the hardest hit they’ve seen him take on a sack.
Amazingly, even though dazed, Browning popped right back up and went to the UW sideline.
“He’s fine,” Petersen said. “The first thing he said to me (was), ‘I was up in two seconds.’ So, he’s a tough guy.”
Petersen remarked it wasn’t the only hit Browning took in the game. He got rocked in the second half on the 18-yard touchdown completion to running back Myles Gaskin as well.
“That was as impressive a play as I’ve seen in a while,” Petersen said. “That’s real football. That’s how it’s going to go sometimes.”
Even though he was pleased he was able to find playing time for 55 players against Rutgers, Petersen said one regret was not finding more plays for true freshman Salvon Ahmed, who was on the field for two snaps (one carry) on offense. ... Petersen confirmed that suspended linebacker Azeem Victor has returned to the team this week. ... Petersen praised a few of his standout performers from Rutgers — Browning, Gaskin, tight end Drew Sample and center Coleman Shelton on offense; and nose guard Greg Gaines, middle linebacker Ben Burr-Kirven and cornerbacks Myles Bryant and Byron Murphy on defense. ...
UW OPPONENT THIS WEEK: MONTANA (1-0)
5 p.m. Saturday, Husky Stadium, Seattle, Pac-12 Network, 1000-AM, 97.7-FM
Coach: Bob Stitt (15-10 in 3rd year at Montana).
Against the Grizzlies: UW leads, 14-0-1.
Scouting report: Like many of his coaching predecessors, Stitt prefers to throw the football and at a fast tempo. In last week’s 45-23 victory over Valparaiso, the Griz scored three touchdowns in the span of six plays at the end of the third quarter to pull away. Senior quarterback Reese Phillips, making his first start since high school, threw for 381 yards and four touchdowns. Phillips will have to be careful with the football come Saturday as the Huskies intercepted Rutgers quarterback twice in their opener, both times by redshirt freshman Byron Murphy.
WSU OPPONENT THIS WEEK: BOISE STATE (1-0)
7:30 p.m. Saturday, Martin Stadium, Pullman, ESPN, 710-AM
Coach: Bryan Harsin (32-9 in 4th year at Boise State).
Against the Broncos: WSU leads, 4-1.
Scouting report: If you thought the Broncos were going to drop off significantly after former coach Chris Petersen left, think again. Harsin’s 31 wins in his first three seasons trail only Petersen (35) and Dan Hawkins (33). The Broncos are coming off a 24-13 non-conference victory over Troy to start the season. And while Brett Rypien is the starting quarterback, he stood on the sideline the entire fourth quarter as backup Montell Cozart, a transfer from Kansas, put the finishing touches on the victory. A quarterback controversy? Not yet, but the aggressive Cougars’ defense could deepen the issue with another strong showing Saturday.
– Todd Milles