Game Analysis - UW/Rutgers

A look at the good, the bad and the ugly in Washington's 48-13 win over Rutgers to start the 2016 football season...

Turning Point/Play of the Game: With Washington leading 10-0, the Huskies faced 3rd-and-4 from midfield. Jake Browning dropped back to pass and lofted a perfectly placed pass into the waiting arms of wide receiver John Ross III for the first of Ross' three touchdowns on the day. What made the pass even more important was seeing Browning put enough air under the throw to let the fastest Husky player run under it, something that was hit and miss, with more misses, last season.

Offensive Player of the Game: It's got to be Ross who missed all of the 2015 season with a torn ACL. He finished the day with a team-leading five receptions for 50 yards and two touchdowns while also returning a kickoff 92 yards for his third touchdown of the day.

Defensive Player of the Game: LB Keishawn Bierria led the team in tackles with 12, but it was his forced fumble on Rutgers' second drive that really set the tone for the rest of the game.

Handouts to the standouts: The offense really lagged in the second half, so the defense was on the field quite a bit and the stop unit had a lot of contributors. Linebacker Azeem Victor finished second on the team with 11 tackles and set the tone, as he always does, with his physical style of play; CB Kevin King had seven tackles and two tackles-for-loss; DT Vita Vea finished with three tackles and a sack; DT Elijah Qualls totaled two tackles and a big sack; DL Benning Potoa'e had four tackles and a forced fumble in mop-up duty; Browning finished 18 of 27 for 287 yards with three touchdowns. The lone blemish on his sheet was an ill-advised pass that was intercepted in the third quarter; TE Darrell Daniels hauled in four receptions for 64 yards, but it was his dropped touchdown that most will remember; WR Chico McClatcher had three receptions for 52 yards and he scored the first touchdown of the season on a pretty 43-yard pass from Browning on Washington's first possession; WR Dante Pettis had a 68-yard punt return for a score, the second touchdown off of special teams on the day, while also hauled in both passes thrown his way for 24 yards; WR Andre Baccellia caught his first pass, hauling in a 36-yarder from Browning and then, later in the game, he grabbed a four-yard touchdown pass from K.J. Carta-Samuels to finish the scoring for the Dawgs.   

Stat of the game: Washington forced three turnovers -- two fumbles and an interception -- which led to 10 points for the Huskies.

Needs work: Washington rushed for just 91 yards on a day. The offensive line held up well in pass-protection, but they were unable to get much in the way of a push against a big and physical Rutgers front seven. Luckily the Huskies will have two more games to work on that aspect of the game before they begin conference play.

Bottom Line: This was a solid first win for a team that many think was a little overhyped heading into the season. They played solid fundamental football and didn't give Rutgers any hope of coming back. Ross proved himself to be threat many think he can be while the defense definitely lived up to expectations. However, this is just the first step toward the ultimate goal of winning the Pac 12 North and then moving on to the conference championship game. Now it's on to Idaho and, as head coach Chris Petersen and his staff would tell you, they have quite a bit to work on before they take the field again next Saturday.

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