3 takeaways from Washington's 43-10 win over Tulsa
Washington moved to 2-0 on Saturday with a 43-10 victory over Tulsa.
The Huskies produced 563 yards of offense as quarterback Michael Penix Jr. threw for 409 yards and three touchdowns. It was a second consecutive 400-yard performance from Penix to open the year, who found Jalen McMillan for 120 yards and a score and Rome Odunze for 107 yards and another score.
UW rolled, but it wasn’t exactly a perfect performance. Lots to build on as UW prepares for a trip to Michigan State next Saturday.
Here are three takeaways from the game:
A “put them away” third
Washington did what great teams do in the third quarter.
The Huskies looked a little off in the opening half. They had a 22-3 lead on the scoreboard on account of the talent advantage. Michael Penix Jr. and the rest of the UW offense is just that good.
But Rome Odunze had a couple of drops. Jalen McMillan had a drop. Penix was picked off. McMillan also fumbled the ball at the end of the half. Given the way Husky receivers were running open downfield, Washington probably could have led by 30 at the halftime break.
But it wasn’t. And it didn’t lament that fact. Instead, it came out and put the hammer down in the third quarter.
Two drives. Two touchdowns.
Washington took its first possession of the second half 82 yards in seven plays and 3:39. Penix hit Germie Bernard for a 7-yard touchdown to cap a drive that featured only one unsuccessful play.
UW shook off a roughing the kicker penalty and a pass interference penalty on the next defensive possession and punched Tulsa off the field on downs. Take away the two penalties and Tulsa had 16 yards on nine plays.
Penix then drove the Huskies 71 yards in six plays. Odunze ran it 14 yards for a touchdown to pay off the drive.
In both instances, Penix kicked the possession off with an explosive pass play — first 30 yards to Devin Culp, then 16 yards to McMillan.
It was 36-3 at the end of the third and that was that.
Washington put its foot on the opponent’s throat. After an uneven first half, coach Kalen DeBoer had to be very happy seeing the response in the third.
More patience with the run game?
Washington scored three rushing touchdowns, including a fourth-quarter power score from Daniyel Ngata from just a yard out.
Coach Kalen DeBoer said earlier this week he wasn’t worried about the run game after Week 1.
In Week 2, UW ran the ball 22 times for 109 yards. Wide receivers scored two of the touchdowns. Running backs produced just 49 of the yards, though. And at 3.1 yards a carry.
Are you, Husky fans, concerned about the running game after two weeks?
Does it matter if Washington is going to complete 75% of its passes for 11.4 yards per attempt?
The Huskies will throw the football. With Penix at quarterback and the abundance of talent at receiver, this is who they’ll be.
I suppose we’ll find out if UW can run it when they have to. They haven’t had to yet.
Special special teams
UW has a ton to clean up on special teams. The Huskies had an illegal block on a kick return that wiped away a 38-yard return. They were called for holding on a punt return. They ran into the punter and extended a drive. Grady Gross doinked a 33-yard field goal attempt.
Special teams are generally a work in progress early in the season. Teams just don’t really rep that phase of the game at full-speed in camp, so you’re flying by the seat of your pants somewhat when the year starts.
Washington’s coaching staff will probably appreciate that in a 33-point win they can turn on the tape and point to a number of areas that need to improve.
Special teams is certainly one of those areas.
Bonus: A hot and historic start
Washington has at least 43 points in each of its first two games. UW cleared 43 points in each of its first two games last season as well.
Prior to last season, UW hadn’t done that in the first two games to start a season since 2016.
Before 2016, you have to go back to 1986 to find the last time UW cleared 40 points over its first two games in a single season.