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As injuries mount, Huskies’ passing attack is adapting on the fly

UPDATED: Tue., Nov. 7, 2017, 7:28 p.m.

Washington quarterback Jake Browning throws during warmups before a Nov. 14 game against Oregon in Seattle. Browning and the Huskies have had to deal with a depleated group of receivers this season due to numerous injuries. (Ted S. Warren / Associated Press)
Washington quarterback Jake Browning throws during warmups before a Nov. 14 game against Oregon in Seattle. Browning and the Huskies have had to deal with a depleated group of receivers this season due to numerous injuries. (Ted S. Warren / Associated Press)

SEATTLE – Jake Browning lost yet another downfield option last week when sophomore wide receiver Quinten Pounds suffered the second major knee injury of his career. He’s out for the rest of the season.

Pounds’ injury continues a rocky season for the Huskies’ passing attack.

Just a few days earlier, true freshman tight end Hunter Bryant was lost to a season-ending leg injury against UCLA. He’s expected to miss the rest of the season too. At the time, Bryant was the Huskies’ second-leading receiver.

Those injuries followed Chico McClatcher’s season-ending broken ankle from late September. At the time, McClatcher was the Huskies’ second-leading receiver.

And in early September, starting receiver Andre Baccellia sustained an injury that has hampered him since. He has missed five games and hasn’t had a catch since Week 2.

Who’s left for Browning to throw to?

Besides senior star Dante Pettis (49 catches, 571 yards, 7 TDs), the Huskies don’t have any pass-catching option with more than 13 catches. Senior tight end Will Dissly has 13 catches for 162 yards and 2 TDs, and sophomore wide receiver Aaron Fuller has 12 catches for 154 yards.

Defenses, as they should, are paying extra attention to Pettis, often rolling safety help over the top.

“We knew we had to step up with everybody double covering Dante,” Fuller said after the Huskies’ 38-3 victory over Oregon. “Dante can’t do it all by himself, so we took it upon ourselves to help out.”

Fuller had four catches for a season-high 76 yards against the Ducks, including a 46-yard catch to convert a third-and-long in the first quarter. He also had a terrific juggling catch on the left sideline that was wiped out by a UW penalty on UW’s first drive.

“I’ve been waiting for this (from Fuller),” UW coach Chris Petersen said.

Brayden Lenius, a 6-foot-5 junior, has been a nonfactor of late. He played only a few snaps against Oregon and hasn’t had a catch since the Sept. 30 win at Oregon State.

Ty Jones, a 6-4 true freshman, has had a greater role in the offensive plan the past two weeks, and he is an intriguing option going forward. He has two catches for 14 yards on the season, both coming against UCLA.


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