Dante Pettis makes history in win over Oregon
Dante Pettis set an NCAA record, Jake Browning tied a school record and, as a whole, No. 12 Washington added to its overall record against a rival in a 38-3 win Saturday over Oregon at Husky Stadium.
The Huskies (8-1, 5-1 Pac-12) allowed an opening-drive field goal but would go on to score 38 unanswered points in memorable fashion. UW now leads the series 60-45-5 and have won two in a row against Oregon for the first time since its victories in 2002 and 2003. Oregon then won 12 straight, which ended last season when UW left Eugene with a 70-21 win.
UW’s latest win wasn’t as lopsided as last year, but it did have a bit of flair.
“Proud of the guys. For us to run the ball and power it like Oregon ran it, we felt like if we could run it numbers-wise like they would, we’d be in pretty good shape,” Huskies coach Chris Petersen said. “To be able to throw the ball, more than we did last week. Most important was the explosive plays out of that pass game. That’s what happens when you pound the ball in there and shake some guys loose.”
For another week, the Huskies both physically wore down an opponent while coming up with a continuous stretch of crushing big plays.
Thirty-nine of the Huskies’ 58 total plays came on the ground. Junior tailback Myles Gaskin led the way with 17 carries for 123 yards and a touchdown. Senior Lavon Coleman chipped in with 31 rushing yards and 31 receiving yards. True freshman Salvon Ahmed had six carries for 84 yards and a touchdown.
Ahmed, Coleman and Gaskin all had at least one play of more than 31 yards. Ahmed’s 58-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter, was the team’s longest rushing score of the season.
“It was good. I thought we put together a full team win and that’s what it took to beat a good Oregon team,” Browning said. “We had some people step up into some new positions and that was pretty big.”
After Tristan Vizcaino’s 34-yard field goal tied it at 3-3, Pettis went to work by returning a punt for a 64-yard touchdown for a 10-3 lead with 10:05 left. The punt-return score was Pettis’ ninth in his time at UW and it gave him the NCAA record for most in a career.
UW got creative and brought in Ahmed as a decoy on a fake reverse to Gaskin. The play caught the Ducks off guard and it led to Gaskin’s 34-yard touchdown run for a 17-3 lead with 3:54 left in the first half.
Minutes into the third quarter, Pettis came back for more.
The Huskies, on their first series of the second half, scored again. Browning threw a 47-yard strike to Pettis, giving the Huskies a 24-3 edge with 13:42 remaining.
The Huskies’ next touchdown saw Browning get a step closer to making school history. He entered the game two passing touchdowns shy of tying Keith Price for the most in school history.
Browning picked up his second touchdown pass when Lavon Coleman scored on a 31-yarder for a 31-3 lead with 3:59 left in the third.
Such a large lead allowed the Huskies to rotate its younger players, which set the stage for freshman Ahmed.
The former four-star prospect, who dazzled in last week’s 44-23 win over UCLA, was at it again. He took a handoff from Browning and broke a few tackles to score on a 58-yard touchdown with 2:17 left in the third.
UW ran for 247 yards while Browning was 11 of 19 with 204 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.
“It seemed like we kinda settled in on defense, you’d have to ask Keishawn (Bierria),” Browning said. “It seemed like they settled and weren’t getting anything then Dante returned the punt and that’s all she wrote.”
Like Browning said, the Huskies’ defense found comfort after allowing a field goal.
Oregon had 68 plays but only came away with 278 yards.
Ducks freshman quarterback Braxon Burmeister was 7 of 13 with 31 yards and an interception. Oregon also committed fumble which gave the Huskies’ defense two coveted turnovers.
Burmeister was filling in for Justin Herbert, who has missed the past four weeks recovering from an injured collarbone.
UW was led by junior linebacker Ben Burr-Kirven, who finished with 10 tackles while Bierria also had eight tackles.
“They definitely had some plays but that just goes into the type of offense they run,” Bierria said of Oregon. “They wanna run the ball. They’re going run it as much as possible.
“They’re going to get hit here, hit here and stopped twice. Now, you’re in throwing downs and that really doesn’t go into their offense.”
UW’s latest victory was somewhat hampered when Petersen said redshirt sophomore Quinten Pounds would be out for the rest of the season.
Petersen said Pounds, who has 10 catches for 155 yards and a touchdown this season, hurt his knee in practice in a non-contact situation.
He becomes the latest Husky to suffer either a season-ending or long-term injury. UW has already lost left tackle Trey Adams, tight end Hunter Bryant, receiver Chico McClatcher along with cornerbacks Jordan Miller and Byron Murphy.
“It’s just another one of those things,” Petersen said.
Ryan S. Clark: @ryan_s_clark