SEATTLE – Jake Browning completed 23 of 25 passes for 277 yards and one touchdown, and No. 11 Washington was thoroughly dominant on both sides of the ball in a 35-7 rout of No. 20 BYU on Saturday night.
Washington (4-1) watched Browning play with the poise and accuracy expected of a fourth-year starting quarterback and saw its defense suffocate the Cougars (3-2).
“I thought we were primed and ready for this kind of performance,” Browning said.
The Huskies were on the verge of their first shutout of a ranked opponent since 1990 until a muffed punt led to Lopini Katoa’s 1-yard TD run with 41 seconds left against Washington’s backups. The Huskies last shutout of a ranked team came against USC nearly 30 years ago.
It was still an impressive beating of a BYU team that already owned a pair of Power Five road wins this season at Arizona and at Wisconsin.
Browning spearheaded the entire performance, falling just short of matching the NCAA record for highest completion percentage in a game. Browning was 23 of 24 early in the fourth quarter when his pass attempt into the end zone caromed off the hands of Aaron Fuller and Ty Jones couldn’t pull in the deflection. If either had made the catch, Browning would have matched the mark set by Greyson Lambert of Georgia, who hit 24 of 25 passes in a 2015 win over South Carolina.
Browning ran for a 9-yard touchdown in the final seconds of the first half, giving Washington a 21-0 lead following a costly BYU turnover. He found Drew Sample on a 15-yard TD in the third quarter.
“I think you saw one of the better versions of his whole game,” Washington coach Chris Petersen said about Browning.
Browning hit his first 11 passes and his only incompletion of the first half came late in the second quarter on a pass intended for Fuller. He connected with eight different receivers, his favorite target being Fuller who had eight catches for 107 yards.
Salvon Ahmed rushed for a pair of touchdowns and Myles Gaskin added a 6-yard TD run for his 48th career rushing TD, moving him into a tie for sixth all-time in the Pac-12.
Tanner Mangum completed 18 of 21 passes for 160 yards, but BYU’s offense managed just seven first downs. The Cougars went three-and-out four times and had just one drive of longer than seven plays.
“As a team we made way too many mistakes to even have a chance in this game,” BYU coach Kalani Sitake said. “Washington is a great team, and you can’t give great teams that opportunity. Otherwise, what happened tonight happens.”
BYU was poised to go into halftime trailing by only two scores after Peyton Henry missed a 40-yard field goal late in the second quarter. The Cougars needed to just run out the clock.
But on third-and-15 from their 17, Katoa fumbled at the end of a short run as he was hit by Ryan Bowman and Ben Burr-Kirven. Burr-Kirven fell on the loose ball and three plays later, Browning weaved his way through the BYU defense for his 14th career rushing touchdown for a 21-0 lead.
BYU: The Cougars could not get its running game started. BYU finished with 34 yards on 28 carries and was unable to copy the blueprint of Arizona State a week ago who used a successful run game to create manageable third-down situations and keep the ball away from the Washington offense.
Washington: While Browning will deservedly receive a ton of praise, the Huskies run game was again fantastic. Ahmed and Gaskin combined for 167 yards.
Browning became Washington’s all-time leader in yards passing when he hit Sample on a 9-yard pass late in the second quarter, moving past Cody Pickett’s previous mark of 10,220 yards passing. Browning set the record in 208 fewer pass attempts than Pickett, who played at Washington between 1999-2003. Browning also reached 100 total touchdowns passing and rushing when he hit Sample on the first drive of the second half.
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