This game was decided so early and so emphatically that by the time the Washington Huskies finished singing and celebrating in one corner of Reser Stadium, even their fans were already thinking about next week.
First, they finished the fight song. Then, as the Huskies’ coaches and players started to walk away, the fans reminded them of what lies ahead.
They chanted: “Beat Wazzu! Beat Wazzu! Beat Wazzu!”
A few players joined in, too, before the team smiled and high-fived its way back to the locker room, a five-hour bus ride back to Seattle on tap.
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The Huskies won here on Saturday afternoon, 52-7, against an Oregon State team so overmatched that it achieved just a single first down in the first half (and eight total), completed only two passes before halftime (and eight total) and trailed 21-0 before it had run its seventh offensive play.
That first half was perhaps as dominant as any UW has ever played against a Pac-12 opponent. The Huskies tied school records for points in a first quarter (28) and points in a half (45), and they ultimately scored touchdowns on seven of their first nine possessions.
So, about that Apple Cup. Washington’s thrashing of the Beavers improved the Huskies’ record to 5-6 overall (3-5 in Pac-12), meaning UW needs to beat Washington State on Friday at Husky Stadium to assure bowl eligibility.
The Cougars, who carried a 7-3 record into Saturday night’s game against Colorado, are already destined for the postseason.
“I think nobody’s playing better in this conference than Washington State, without question,” UW coach Chris Petersen said. “So we’ve got our hands full.”
But the Huskies weren’t thinking about the Cougars quite yet on Saturday, instead focusing on taking apart a Beavers team that has now lost eight consecutive games and scored only 56 points in its last five losses.
Jake Browning, UW’s freshman quarterback, completed 18 of 20 passes for 211 yards and four touchdowns, all in the first half. He threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Brayden Lenius on the game’s opening possession, capping a 43-yard scoring drive that required only three plays.
After the Huskies wasted several scoring chances in the first half of a disheartening 27-17 loss the previous weekend at Arizona State, they wanted to avoid leaving points on the field in Corvallis.
“We just had to play a full game, full four quarters,” Browning said. “We started fast last week and didn’t finish it, so we wanted to make sure we did this week.”
Chico McClatcher took a pitch 2 yards for a touchdown. Dante Pettis returned a punt 89 yards for a touchdown. Browning threw another touchdown pass (18 yards) to Joshua Perkins, then another one (19 yards) to Jaydon Mickens, then another one (10 yards) to Lenius just before halftime.
Oregon State (2-9, 0-8), meanwhile, went three-and-out on five of its seven first-half possessions and lost a fumble on another. Its lone first-half first down, which came with the Beavers trailing 21-0, also represented its best scoring chance: Freshman receiver Paul Lucas broke a pair of tackles near the line of scrimmage and sprinted up the right sideline, and he would have scored if UW linebacker Travis Feeney hadn’t chased him down and pushed him out of bounds at the Huskies’ 8-yard line.
That turned out to be a significant tackle. Oregon State threw an incompletion, moved back 10 yards due to a holding penalty, threw two more incompletions and missed a 36-yard field-goal attempt.
Then the Huskies scored, and scored, and scored, leading 52-0 before pulling their starters early in the third quarter.
Oregon State finally did get on the board with a 24-yard touchdown pass from third-string freshman quarterback Marcus McMaryion to receiver Victor Bolden against UW’s second-string defense.
The Huskies ran 36 plays in the second half — 34 were rushes — and used nearly every player on their travel squad.
“We came out here and we know what we wanted to do,” said Mickens, who caught seven passes for 59 yards. “We dominated in all phases — blocking on the perimeter so we can get some nice chunk runs. Also, making the big play, punt returns, long catches down the field. Everybody just doing their assignment and doing it correctly so we can be successful.”
Now, the Huskies prepare for a short week that culminates in a high-stakes game against their biggest rival.
“Now we can really focus on that game,” said tailback Deontae Cooper, who rushed for 48 yards and a 10-yard touchdown on six carries. “I think everyone in town and in Washington knows how special this Apple Cup is. Not just to the players, but the fans. Everyone who’s alumni, this is an important rivalry, and we’re excited.”