Recapping the Huskies’ 31-17 victory over Utah State on Saturday with some links, plus a look around the Pac-12.
The throw was supposed to go elsewhere, a play-action pop-pass designed for tight end David Ajamu that would have relied more on superior scheme than flawless execution.
Instead, Jake Browning turned it into Exhibit A — by this point, maybe more like Exhibit F or G or H — of just how much the Washington Huskies have upgraded at the quarterback position since last season. And just how much brighter their fortunes might be this season because of it.
On second-and-goal at Utah State’s 3-yard line, Browning faked a handoff, spun out of a sack attempt with a move he must have borrowed from someone far more athletic, bought some more time, then lofted a touchdown pass to redshirt freshman Drew Sample — a tight end, but not the one the Huskies drew the play for — to put the Huskies ahead by three scores late in the third quarter.
“Drew is, like, not even a factor on that play,” offensive coordinator Jonathan Smith said afterward. “He made the decision to throw it to Drew, and it worked out.”
Washington won this game, 31-17, before a crowd of 59,464 at Husky Stadium, improving to 2-1 going into its Pac-12 opener next week against California. And Browning, the true freshman prodigy from Folsom, California, continued to play in a manner that makes it hard to believe there was ever a quarterback competition during preseason camp.
He completed 22 of his 31 pass attempts for a UW freshman-record 368 yards and three touchdowns, the lone blemish an interception he threw on the first play of the second half.
--- John McGrath writes about Tristan Vizcaino’s fake-field goal touchdown run, and how it fits into Chris Petersen’s reputation for calling trick plays.
--- Listen to audio highlights from UW play-by-play man Bob Rondeau here:
Around the Pac-12 ...
California 45, Texas 44 -- Washington’s first Pac-12 opponent escaped Austin last night with a wild 45-44 win over the Longhorns, thanks in no small part to a missed extra-point in the final minutes.
Stanford 41, USC 31 -- A surprising result in Los Angeles last night, as the Cardinal scored more points against the Trojans than they did in their first two games combined. For USC, this was ugly.
UCLA 24, BYU 23 -- The Cougars appeared for most of this game as if they might pull off the upset, but backup tailback Nate Starks carried the Bruins to victory.
Oregon 61, Georgia State 28 -- Vernon Adams didn’t play, but it obviously didn’t really matter. Still, this was a two-faced performance for the Ducks.
Washington State 31, Wyoming 14 -- The Cougars’ defense was the difference.
Oregon State 35, San Jose State 21 -- The Beavers received important contributions in all phases.
Utah 45, Fresno State 24 -- Devontae Booker finally got to play football in Fresno, and he played it well.
Colorado 27, Colorado State 24 (OT) -- Buffaloes coach Mike MacIntyre called this one “a classic.”
Arizona 77, Northern Arizona 13 -- Another hard-fought victory for the Wildcats over a tough nonconference opponent.
Christian Caple can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @ChristianCaple