SEATTLE – It stands that the real test of No. 5 Washington’s validity as a playoff contender is about to begin.
The warm ups for the Huskies are done.
“As we head down the stretch here it’s not always going to be like this with the teams we have coming and there is stuff to talk about and work on,” Washington coach Chris Petersen said.
Jake Browning threw three touchdown passes to give him 26 for the season, added another rushing TD, and Huskies used a big first half to roll past Oregon State 41-17 on Saturday.
After a week off, the Huskies (7-0, 4-0 Pac-12) easily outworked the undermanned Beavers (2-5, 1-3) despite a performance that gives Petersen plenty to work on heading into a schedule that’s about to get more difficult.
While getting past Stanford and Oregon earlier this season were important moments for the Huskies, it turns out they were not the tests to prove Washington’s worth. The schedule gets more difficult beginning next week with a trip to No. 19 Utah, followed by a road game at California, with USC, Arizona State and a trip to Washington State still looming on the schedule.
“We were just paying attention to Oregon State. When Utah comes up, we’ll think about Utah,” Washington safety Budda Baker said. “We know Utah is a great team.”
The Huskies won their 10th straight, a streak that started with a victory at Oregon State last season. It is Washington’s longest win streak since winning 12 straight during the 2000-01 seasons.
And they continue to dominate the first half. Washington put away this expected blowout early, jumping to a 21-0 lead after one quarter and leading 31-0 at halftime. Washington has now outscored opponents 100-7 in the first quarter and 200-24 in the first half this season.
“We came out pretty hot,” Washington wide receiver John Ross said. “We had a great week of practice and those are the kind of weeks that we need to stay consistent.”
Browning led the attack, even if his completion percentage wasn’t up to the standard he set through the first six games when he led the country hitting 72 percent of his throws. Browning threw touchdowns of 19 yards to Aaron Fuller and 23 yards to Dante Pettis sandwiched around his own 1-yard TD run in the first quarter.
Browning added a 41-yard touchdown pass to Pettis in the third quarter. Browning finished 14 of 28 for 291 yards and Petersen said part of the game plan was to take more shots downfield leading to the lower completion percentage.
Ross had 115 yards receiving and Pettis added 112 yards – both with four catches – giving the Huskies two receivers with more than 100 yards for the first time since 2002.
The depleted Beavers started third-string quarterback Marcus McMaryion after Darell Garretson and Conor Blount were injured. McMaryion was 12 of 26 for 148 yards and two interceptions.
The Beavers were also without starting running back Ryan Nall due to a foot injury aggravated in last week’s loss to Utah. Tim Cook had 108 yards rushing and a late TD, while Victor Bolden Jr. had a 75-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.
“If you watch college football or care about defense of care about the Pac-12 on defense you know how good those guys are up front and they are elite,” Oregon State coach Gary Andersen said of Washington’s defense.
The Huskies should stay where they’ve been for the past few weeks at No. 5. An impressive win at Utah next week might be enough to sway some voters for a spot higher in the top five.
Oregon State: The Beavers came in with the second-best pass defense in the Pac-12 giving up just 179.5 yards per game. But Washington attacked from the start and exposed holes in what has been a very good secondary.
Washington: Injuries could be a concern going into next week against Utah. Washington played without starting DE Joe Mathis, the team leader with five sacks. Mathis was on the sideline during the game but his absence left Washington undersized on the end of its defensive line. Connor O’Brien started in place of Mathis.
One bright spot for Washington’s offense was the performance by Myles Gaskin. After breaking out for 197 yards rushing against Oregon, Gaskin followed up with 128 yards on 18 carries, most of that coming in just over a quarter. Gaskin had just two carries for 15 yards in the first quarter and by the middle of the third quarter had his third straight 100-yard game.
Since 1961, Frazer Cook has been the voice of the University of Washington band for any football game where the entire band is performing, home, away and bowl games. Cook, 74, missed his first game in 55 years on Saturday. The school said Cook was ill but did not provide any specifics.
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