SEATTLE – This isn’t basketball, but Washington’s ball movement was something to see.
Leading 7-0 with 3 minutes, 3 seconds left in the first quarter Saturday, Michael Penix Jr. took a shotgun snap and handed to wide receiver Jalen McMillan on an end around. McMillan lateraled to fellow wide receiver Ja’Lynn Polk, who passed it back to the waiting Penix. The redshirt junior collected the ball at Colorado’s 42-yard line and whizzed a pass to McMillan along the left sideline.
That’s when the sophomore wide receiver got to work.
With a fleet of blockers in front, McMillan darted to the 18-yard line, where 325-pound defensive tackle Jalen Sami tripped over a teammate while attempting the tackle. McMillan cut inside and swiveled at the 6, bouncing off diving defensive backs Nikko Reed and Tyrin Taylor. Safety Jeremy Mack froze in place at the 2.
One hand off, two laterals, one pass, three missed tackles, 27 yards and 12 seconds later, McMillan trotted nonchalantly into the end zone – leaving a trail of wreckage behind.
So it was in Washington’s 54-7 win over Colorado, a glorified Pac-12 practice sandwiched between Husky rivalry games. Fresh off a top performance in the 37-34 road win at Oregon, Penix completed 16 of 27 passes and threw for 189 yards and a touchdown in a workmanlike effort.
Sophomore Dylan Morris added 66 passing yards, 32 rushing yards and a 15-yard touchdown to running back Sam Adams II in relief.
But outside of one particularly memorable play, the Husky running game ruled the day.
Senior Wayne Taulapapa – who excelled in difficult circumstances, with three former teammates at Virginia being shot and killed Sunday – rushed for 107 yards, 9.7 yards per carry and two touchdowns, with a 57-yard sprint nearly yielding another score. Sophomore Cameron Davis added 59 rushing yards, 4.9 yards per carry and two touchdowns – including a leaping third-quarter somersault into the end zone. Junior Richard Newton also contributed 21 yards and a 2-yard touchdown in mop-up work.
On Senior Day, the Huskies produced one half of a basketball score – and Colorado’s special teams certainly helped. A second quarter snap sailed over punter Trent Carrizosa’s head and into the end zone for a Husky safety. The Buffs muffed a punt as well, immediately resulting in a 33-yard Peyton Henry field goal to close the half with a 33-0 lead.
With that half-ending field goal, Henry – a sixth-year senior, who played his final game inside Husky Stadium – surpassed Jeff Jaeger’s 380 career points to become UW’s all-time leading scorer. The Danville, California, product and former walk-on logged one field goal (while missing a 49-yarder) and six extra points, sitting at 384 points with two (or three) games to go.
Granted, this was not a perfect UW performance.
Tackling is still suspect, and Colorado running back Alex Fontenot totaled 6.7 yards per carry in defeat. True freshman corner Jaivion Green also misjudged a fluttering deep ball, resulting in a 69-yard touchdown from Colorado quarterback J.T. Shrout to wide receiver Montana Lemonious-Craig
But a healthy Penix played only 2½ quarters.
At 9-2, No. 15 Washington will travel to meet Washington State (7-4) next weekend in an increasingly important Apple Cup.
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe to the sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.