Washington football finally played a game! Let’s break down the positives and negatives from their 27-21 win over Oregon State
Washington football hadn’t faced another team since December 21, 2019, and there have been a lot of major changes since then. Just to name a few, the team came into their matchup with Oregon State with a new head coach, offensive coordinator, and quarterback.
Husky fans were left completely in the dark about who the quarterback would be until redshirt freshman Dylan Morris trotted out on the field. He wasn’t exactly thrust into the best situation, with what was reported to be an open competition all the way through camp. This caused him to not take as many snaps as a new starter might like to gain chemistry with his receivers.
That being said, Morris went 14/24 for 141 yards, but that number isn’t very telling. There were three key drops from Washington receivers in the first half that would’ve made the whole game look very different. Whether it was because of the rain, or John Donovan’s new offense, Morris didn’t push the ball down the field a ton, and assuming the weather is better, we might see a much different story against Arizona.
With that being said, there’s a lot to break down outside of the quarterback play, so let’s get into it.
The running game was fierce, with 51 carries as a team for 267 yards and three touchdowns. Sean McGrew was a bright spot, with nine of those carries for 91 yards and a touchdown, and Kamari Pleasant added 12 carries for 61 yards and another score. Cam Davis was a bright spot, with three receptions for 19 yards and two carries for six (he had a 15 yarder that got called back on a penalty).
The running game was so effective thanks to Washington’s excellent offensive line. With three new full-time starters, the big guys didn’t miss a beat. Between the 267 yards on the ground, and not allowing a sack, the future is bright in the trenches.
The secondary is as strong as ever. We’ll get to the rush defense in a minute, but once again, Washington’s corners were incredibly stingy. Oregon State’s leading receiver was tight end Luke Musgrave, who had two catches for 25 yards. Quarterback Tristan Gebbia was held to just 85 yards through the air, to go with Asa Turner‘s game-ending interception. Gebbia finished with a quarterback rating of 21.6.
Player of the game goes to Zion Tupuola-Fetui, who recorded two sacks and two forced fumbles, and proved he’s going to be a force off the edge for the Huskies.
Without Tuli Letuligasenoa and Laiatu Latu, the run defense suffered in a major way. Jermar Jefferson gashed the Huskies for 133 yards and a touchdown, leading the way for the Beavers on the ground. Without two starters in the front seven, the Beavers were able to open some huge holes for Jefferson, who averaged close to six yards per carry.
Outside of an electrifying Trent McDuffie punt return, special teams need to see a major improvement. Between the snap over Race Porter’s head that led to a touchdown, Peyton Henry‘s missed chip shot field goal, and multiple big kickoff returns, Bob Gregory is going to have to make some major adjustments.
The offense wasn’t as receiver friendly as it was said to be over the summer. The 51 runs to 24 passes comes out to 68% runs. Now, it’s way too early to judge, because some of that could’ve been due to the rain, and getting Morris up to speed. But with all the talent the Huskies have at receiver, it wasn’t necessarily a promising start on the playcalling front. While there are no exact numbers, it looked like there were way more sets of six offensive linemen than three receivers. That’s not necessarily an issue when the team is running the ball effectively in the rain, but it’s much easier to establish a balanced offense from 11 personnel.
In this shortened season, we don’t want to be too quick to judge, but there isn’t exactly a lot of time to build momentum. All in all, the defense stepped up when they needed to, and the Huskies still have a ton of exciting young talent to build on. Fans just want to see it now, so they know what to look forward to in a (hopefully) full 2021 season.