SEATTLE – Jake Browning threw for 287 yards and three touchdowns, John Ross caught two touchdowns and returned a kickoff for another score in his first game since the end of the 2014 season, and No. 14 Washington looked every bit a Top 25 team with a 48-13 rout of Rutgers on Saturday.
Entering a season of lofty expectations, the Huskies (1-0) raced to a 24-0 first-quarter lead and were never threatened by the rebuilding Scarlet Knights, in their first game under new coach Chris Ash.
“It’s good to get out of the gate fast, especially with so many unknowns, unknown coaches, unknown players on both sides,” Washington coach Chris Petersen said.
Browning threw for 277 yards and all three scores in the first half as the Huskies built a 34-3 lead. Browning should have thrown four TDs in the half, but Darrell Daniels dropped a pass in the end zone late in the second quarter.
Browning’s offseason goal was to be better on deep throws. He was certainly good to start the season, hitting Chico McClatcher on a 43-yard touchdown on his second pass of the season, followed by TD throws of 38 and 50 yards to Ross as the Huskies burned Rutgers’ decision to play man coverage on the outside.
Ross missed the entire 2015 season after injuring a knee during spring camp.
“It was just really cool to obviously have thrown the ball to him but to see him come into his own after missing all of last season and all the anticipation of him coming back,” Browning said of Ross.
The Huskies were also dynamic on special teams. Ross took a kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown and Dante Pettis returned a punt 68 yards for a score in the third quarter. It was the third time in school history Washington had kickoff and punt return touchdowns in the same game, and first since 2001.
Rutgers: Ash’s rebuilding job at Rutgers (0-1) is significant and it will take a while for the new offensive system to improve. Chris Laviano was 24 of 40 passing for 168 yards in his first game running a spread offense. Rutgers only TD came on a 10-yard run by Janarion Grant in the fourth quarter against Washington’s backups.
Washington: While there were plenty of highlights for the Huskies offense, the run game was absent. Myles Gaskin was held to 57 yards on 15 carries despite Washington spending the majority of the third quarter trying to get the run game established. The Huskies had the luxury to experiment with a 31-point halftime lead.
Rutgers: The Scarlet Knights get a break facing Howard of the Football Championship Subdivision, the first of three straight home games.
Washington: The Huskies meager non-conference schedule continues by hosting Idaho. It will be another chance for the Huskies to give some of its younger players experience before the schedule toughens at the end of September.
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