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A closer look at UW's big 44-31 win over Southern Miss in the Heart of Dallas Bowl

Washington got to 7-6 on the season with a big 44-31 win over Southern Miss in the Heart of Dallas Bowl. Here's a closer look at what went right and what went wrong as the Huskies close out the season on a three-game winning streak...

Turning Point/Play of the Game: Myles Gaskin's 86-yard touchdown run. Husky nation got a tad nervous after Southerm Miss tied the game at 24 apiece with 2:47 left in the third quarter, but no worry, on Washington's first play from scrimmage, Gaskin took the handoff and headed to the right, after picking up about five yards, the freshman tailback noticed a bunch of open field off to his left and he shrugged off a tackle and then outraced the Golden Eagle defense for an 86-yard touchdown run, giving the Huskies a 31-24 lead and deflating the momentum bubble that Souther Miss had built.

The runner up would have to be the defense, on the following series, Southern Miss was trying to respond, but all they did was go backwards, 15 yards which resulted in a punt from their own 10 and punter Tyler Sarrazin didn't help matters as he shanked a 15-yard punt off the right of his foot.

Offensive Player of the Game: No quiestion...Myles Gaskin. He got off to a rough start, averaging just 1.7 yards on his first eight carries, but he kept plugging along and eventually he wore down the Golden Eagle defense and finished with 181 yard and four touchdowns on 26 carries.

Defensive Player of the Game: This one was a tough one, but I'm going to give it to DT Elijah Qualls who was a constant force for the Huskies on the inside. His numbers weren't eye-popping -- two tackles, one sack and two quarterback hurries -- but he consistently drew double-teams and opened rush lanes for his teammates on stunts and blitzes.

Handouts to the standouts: QB Jake Browning had a very solid afternoon finishing the game 26 of 34 for 280 yards. While he didn't throw a touchdown, he also didn't throw an interception and you can see how much he's matured over the course of the season; WR Jaydon Mickens finished his Husky career with his best game of the season, hauling in eight receptions for 95 yards. The senior also got into the endzone in his final game as a Dawg, taking a handoff from Gaskin, making two players miss in space and running 29 yards for a touchdown; TE Josh Perkins had three receptions for 69 yards including a 41-yarder that put Washington in position to get their first touchdown; the offensive line, especially starters Andrew Kirkland, Jake Eldrenkamp, Siosifa Tufunga, Coleman Shelton and Kaleb McGary paved the way for Washington to have their best day on the ground all season -- 269 yards rushing; S Budda Baker had seven solo tackles and a pass breakup in today's bowl win; LB Azeem Victor had seven tackles, 1.5 tackles-for-loss and a sack; LB Travis Feeney had three tackles, two tackles-for-loss, a sack and two quarterback hurries.

Key stat: 22 yards rushing for Southern Miss. The Golden Eagles were averaging just over 191 yards per game on the ground, but against the Huskies, they totaled just 22 yards on 30 carries. 

The Bottom Line: As we said in our prediction, the outcome of the game was predicated on Washington's intensity level. When they let up, Southern Miss was able to make a game of it, but when they amped up the effort and intensity, they were too much for the upstart Golden Eagles. The Huskies took an big step, getting a win in a bowl game as they head into an important offseason. With so much talent and depth returning, Washington should be one of the favorites in the Pac 12 this coming fall and a win like this will do wonders for their confidence as they head into the winter.


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