One month into the season, and the Washington Huskies already are one of the national leaders in interceptions.
And of their eight interceptions, six of come from first-year regulars in their secondary.
In the first game, redshirt freshman Byron Murphy had two picks against Rutgers. A week later, Jomon Dotson, who switched to cornerback in the offseason, returned an interception for a touchdown against Montana.
And in No. 7 UW’s 37-10 victory over Colorado on Saturday at Folsom Field, two more cornerbacks added to the total.
Junior Jordan Miller picked off Buffaloes’ starting quarterback Steven Montez on back-to-back drives late in the first half.
And at the time the Huskies were ready to break the game open in the third quarter, sophomore Myles Bryant undercut a route and took an interception back 35 yards for a decisive touchdown.
“First off, we had great examples in front of us — Sidney Jones, Kevin King, Budda Baker,” Miller said. “You know what the standard is. You know what you’ve got to go out there and do. We practice with an edge. We play with an edge.”
As easy as it was for Montez and his crew to move the football up and down the field the first 20 minutes, Millers’ first interception could not have come at a more opportune time.
In a 7-7 game, the Buffaloes were driving in UW territory with less than seven minutes remaining in the first half. And Montez tried getting a pass out quickly to tailback Phillip Lindsay in the right flat.
It clanked right off of Lindsay’s hands. And Miller, who was already coming in low to make a tackle, somehow gathered himself to corral the deflection for a much-needed turnover.
Tristan Vizcaino broke the 7-7 tie with his 25-yard field goal at the 3:36 mark, and the Huskies never trailed again.
On Colorado’s next series, Montez tried going over the top to Shay Fields in the end zone, but Miller stepped over to easily pick it off with a minute remaining in the first half.
“At that point, I thought we had some pretty good momentum going ... so I felt like taking a shot,” Montez said. “I overthrew him.”
Those mistakes were not fatal. The one to Bryant was.
Bryant had just tackled Lindsay for a 2-yard loss to set up Colorado’s third-and-4 play.
And as Montez looked left, Bryant came off his inside coverage, and jumped the route to the outside receiver. He scored to give the Huskies a 24-10 lead late in the third quarter.
“I’ve made that play a few times in practice, so I just had to execute just like I did in practice,” Bryant said. “And I just had to make sure I scored.”
Junior wide receiver Chico McClatcher, a graduate of Federal Way High School, suffered a serious injury to his left foot at the end of the third quarter after he got it stuck underneath a few players on the ground. ... Jake Browning added another touchdown pass, and is up to 68 for his UW career — seven behind Keith Price for the all-time record.
With the rain coming down hard 90 minutes before kickoff, 20-30 UW players came out for warmups shirtless. ... Longtime UW radio announcer Bob Rondeau, who is retiring at the end of his 37th season, was recognized at the end of the first quarter by his alma mater. Rondeau is a 1972 Colorado graduate, and grew up in the Denver area.