CORVALLIS, Ore. – Washington football fans were subjected to a rerun on Saturday night.
For better or for worse.
In a 27-24 loss at Oregon State, Washington’s offense soared, then stagnated – again. This time, the Huskies opened with a convincing touchdown drive (just as they did against Montana). Quarterback Dylan Morris completed all four of his passes, the last of which went for a 44-yard score to senior wide receiver Terrell Bynum.
The Huskies proceeded to produce, in order: a three-and-out, a lost fumble, a three-and-out, an interception, a three-and out, a field goal, a three-and-out and a punt. Their once promising offense fell flat (just as it did against Cal).
The game was decided by a few inches. With the score tied at 24 and just over 3 minutes left, the Huskies failed to convert a fourth-and-1 Morris sneak, which gave the Beavers the ball back at midfield.
The rest felt inevitable. The Beavers marched down field with five straight rushes to the 11-yard line as the Huskies helplessly watched the clock dwindle, before Everett Hayes connected on the winning 24-yard field goal as time expired.
UW’s nine-game winning streak over Oregon State was snapped as they fell to fourth place in the Pac-12 North, while the Beavers rose to first.
But not all UW deja vu was negative. From the wildcat formation, sixth-year senior running back Sean McGrew scored – again, and again. Early in the fourth quarter, he took a direct snap, busted through a hole and tip-toed along the sideline to tie the score at 17 with a 39-yard run.
Then Faatui Tuitele made an impact – again. The redshirt freshman defensive lineman produced a strip-sack for the second time in his past three games, dragging down Oregon State quarterback Chance Nolan and dislodging the ball. Sam “Taki” Taimani recovered and rumbled to the Beavers 6-yard line. On the next play, McGrew took another wildcat snap and scored from 6 yards out … thanks, in part, to 330-pound right guard Henry Bainivalu, who carried him across the line.
But, to continue the theme, UW’s run defense wore down – again. Trailing 24-17, Beavers running back B.J. Baylor bounded through a hole for a tying 27-yard score.
Oregon State barely bothered to attempt a pass (same as Michigan), with Nolan completing just 7 of 15 passes for 48 yards with an Asa Turner interception.
The Huskies struggled to contain a running quarterback (just as they did against California), and Jack Colletto thundered around the right edge for a tying 3-yard score early in the second quarter.
After flashing early, Morris surrendered an untimely interception – again. Trailing 14-7 midway through the second quarter, the redshirt freshman was pressured into delivering a pass right to linebacker Avery Roberts at the Beavers 42-yard line, ending an otherwise promising drive. It was Morris’ sixth interception in five games this season. He completed 17 of 26 passes for 142 yards with a touchdown.
For long stretches, wildcat aside, UW struggled to establish a running game – again. The early exception was a 12-play, 68-yard drive at the end of the first half that included 55 rushing yards from sixth-year senior Kamari Pleasant. And even then, the Huskies stalled at the 2-yard line, when Morris threw wide of Bynum on third-and-goal and UW settled for a 20-yard Peyton Henry field goal.
UW’s defense failed to provide pressure – again. The Husky outside linebackers managed just two total sacks in their first four games, and they didn’t fare much better against Oregon State. UW outside linebackers were credited with a single sack … which occurred when Nolan accidentally stepped out of bounds.
Oh, and speaking of familiar failures: Remember when Husky long snapper Jaden Green sailed a snap over the head of punter Race Porter in last season’s game against Oregon State? The pair nearly produced a similar feat on Saturday, as Porter dropped a snap in the second quarter … only to gather it, sidestep Beavers defenders and produce a punt that was downed on the Oregon State 12-yard line.
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