CORVALLIS, Ore. – Washington has blown some leads this season, not the least of which came in its most recent game, when a 17-point lead became a 27-17 loss at Arizona State.
There were no such issues Saturday, when the Huskies stomped on the gas from the outset and coasted to a 52-7 win over Oregon State.
Washington scored the game’s first 52 points as freshman quarterback Jake Browning threw four touchdown passes and the Huskies scored on their first six possessions.
“We tried to play a full game, a full four quarters. Started fast last week and couldn’t finish, so we wanted to make sure we did this week,” Browning said.
The Huskies (5-6, 3-5 Pac-12) kept their bowl hopes faintly alive. Washington can become bowl eligible with a win next Friday against Washington State. At 6-6, UW probably is searching for an at-large bowl berth, as the Pac-12 already has nine bowl-eligible teams with seven contracted bowl berths.
“Our backs were against the wall a little bit, so we had to win this one,” Browning said.
Washington coach Chris Petersen never doubted his team’s resolve.
“We’ve had some tough Sundays coming in some-hard fought games. And they’ve never backed down and they’ve never flinched. They just keep working and getting better. I think we saw a little bit of that tonight,” Petersen said.
That may be understating it a little. Washington rolled to a 45-0 halftime lead, and threw only two passes in the second half – both early in the third quarter – to keep the score from getting completely out of hand.
Washington tied a school record with a 28-point first quarter. The Huskies outgained Oregon State 482-257 in yardage. Browning completed 18 of 20 passes for 211 yards. Brayden Lenius caught two touchdown passes, while running back Myles Gaskins had 23 carries for 127 yards. The Husky defense had two takeaways.
“They were physical, their inside run game got to the edges and they were able to throw the ball. We were unable to stop them in any of those three phases,” Oregon State coach Gary Andersen said.
The Beavers (2-9, 0-8) lost their eighth consecutive game.
Oregon State quarterback Nick Mitchell, who returned to action after getting knocked out of last Saturday’s game at California, missed his first seven passes when he was replaced in the second quarter by Marcus McMaryion.
McMaryion finished the game, completing 8 of 16 passes for 109 yards and a touchdown. Victor Bolden caught five passes for 52 yards and OSU’s lone touchdown.
The onslaught took little time to commence. Washington’s Chico McClatcher returned the opening kickoff 56 yards to the OSU 43. Three plays later, the Huskies were in the end zone, a 14-yard pass from Browning to Lenius.
Washington scored two touchdowns during a two-minute span midway through the first quarter. McClatcher ran 2 yards for a score to make it 14-0. Following a three-and-out by Oregon State, Dante Pettis returned a punt 89 yards for a touchdown, the fourth longest punt return in Husky history.
Browning finished the next two drives with touchdown passes, an 18-yarder to Joshua Perkins and a 19-yarder to Jaydon Mickens to make it 35-0 early in the second quarter.
It was 38-0 when Washington attempted its first punt, with 3:47 left in the second quarter. But the Huskies weren’t finished scoring in the first half. Browning increased the lead to 45-0 with eight seconds left before halftime on a 10-yard touchdown pass to Lenius.
In the first half, Washington outgained Oregon State 329-111, and had 18 first downs to the Beavers’ one, that coming on a 74-yard first-quarter run by Paul Lucas.
After halftime, all that was left to determine was whether Washington could top its performance of 2013 against the Beavers, when the Huskies scored 69 points, a school record by an OSU opponent. Most of the announced crowd of 34,390 left after halftime, as less than 5,000 spectators watched the second half.
Trailing 52-0, Oregon State finally got on the board late in the third quarter when McMaryion threw a 24-yard touchdown pass to Bolden.
Next up for the Huskies is the annual Apple Cup on Friday against Washington State.
“Nobody is playing better in this conference than Washington State, without question. We’ve got our hands full, with a lot riding on this,” Petersen said.
Oregon State finishes its 2015 season with the annual Civil War game Friday at Oregon.
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