For a quarter, the Washington Huskies appeared on Saturday afternoon as if they might fail to assert the expected measure of dominance against the visiting, here-for-a-paycheck Idaho Vandals.
Then that quarter ended, and so did any thought that Idaho might challenge the nation’s No. 8-ranked team.
Once the second period started, the Huskies settled in and did pretty much whatever they pleased, creating the separation necessary to rest their starters for nearly the entire second half of this 59-14 blowout at Husky Stadium.
The victory, meaningless as it was, required edits to UW’s record book. Washington has now scored 40 or more points in five consecutive games for the first time in school history. Jake Browning, UW’s sophomore quarterback, tied a school record by tossing five touchdown passes – two each to juniors John Ross and Dante Pettis, and one to sophomore Chico McClatcher – and finished 23-for-28 passing for 294 yards. At one point, he completed 13 consecutive passes.
Browning’s precision helped the Huskies score 28 points in the second quarter, tied for third-most in a second quarter in UW history.
That’s when the Huskies ran away with this game. They outgained Idaho 233 to 9 in the second quarter alone. They tallied 14 first downs and held Idaho to zero. They ran 24 plays in the quarter and scored on four of them – a 7-yard pass from Browning to Pettis, a 30-yard pass from Browning to McClatcher, a 7-yard rush by Myles Gaskin and a 9-yard pass from Browning to Ross – and took a 35-0 lead into halftime.
The first possession of the second half was the last for Browning and UW’s first-team offense, but they made it count, capping a six-play, 65-yard drive with Browning’s 8-yard touchdown pass to Ross.
Browning’s backup, third-year sophomore K.J. Carta-Samuels, found redshirt freshman receiver Quinten Pounds for a 26-yard touchdown late in the third quarter, the first score of Pounds’ career.
Washington’s first touchdown came just 16 seconds into the game – and the Huskies didn’t even receive the opening kickoff. Idaho receiver Callen Hightower did, and he fumbled after a big hit by Budda Baker. UW linebacker Keishawn Bierria recovered at Idaho’s 21-yard line, and Browning threw a touchdown pass to Pettis on the next play.
The Huskies (2-0) otherwise struggled to move the ball in the opening quarter, finishing that period with just 52 yards of total offense and an average of only 3.5 yards per play. Idaho nearly tied the score twice during a drive set up by a Browning fumble, first on a pass to the front left corner of the end zone that was originally ruled a catch at the 2-yard line but overturned on review, then again when quarterback Matt Linehan found receiver Jacob Sannon for a gain to UW’s 1-yard line.
But as Sannon struggled for more yardage, he was popped by UW safety Jojo McIntosh, fumbled the ball, and Azeem Victor recovered it at the 1-yard line.
By the time the Vandals finally did get on the scoreboard, they trailed by 42 points in the third quarter, and a sizeable portion of the announced crowd of 60,678 had departed Husky Stadium in pursuit of more interesting affairs.
They saw all they needed in the second quarter, anyway.