A fourth-quarter power outage was Friday’s biggest incident inside Husky Stadium.
Washington has overcome them all.
The first half of UW’s 24-21 win over Oregon State featured the following:
- A pick six Michael Penix Jr., in which the Washington redshirt junior quarterback looked at wide receiver Jalen McMillan and telegraphed a gift – returned by linebacker Easton Mascarenas-Arnold 37 yards to give the Beavers a lead 14-7 at the end of the second quarter.
- 106 yards rushing and 4.8 yards per carry for the murderous Beavers, including 81 on 11 carries for true rookie Damien Martinez. Redshirt junior Deshaun Fenwick also dove forward for a 3-yard touchdown during Oregon State’s opener.
- A snap dropped by redshirt first-year punter Jack McCallister, who picked up the soccer ball and was quickly blocked for an eight-yard loss. (McCallister’s only other punt in the first half was a modest improvement, sailing wide for an 18-yard net.)
- Zero sacks from Washington or a forced turnover, for a team that has won just one takeaway in its last five games — despite entering second in the Pac-12 on Friday with 25 sacks.
- A paltry 35 UW rushing yards … 15 of which came on a late-inning to wide receiver Ja’Lynn Polk.
Given Husky’s minefield of errors, UW should have been buried at halftime. They could have cut the lights even earlier.
So how the hell did the Huskies win?
It’s a complicated answer. But a pair of fourth saves kept him close.
Trailing 7-0 late in the first quarter, the Huskies abruptly ended a 12-game, 63-yard run. Massive UW defensive lineman Ulumoo Ale absorbed Martinez in third-and-1 for a one-yard loss, then cornerback Mishael Powell and edge Zion Tupuola-Fetui combined to swallow the wild 239 quarterback Jack Colletto books without gain.
Oregon State’s next record also disintegrated in the red zone. After the blocked punt, the Beavers went for the fourth-and-third of the Husky 15 — with a lingering wind that likely persuaded coach Jonathan Smith to play again. On fourth down, quarterback Ben Gulbranson delivered a pass over Martinez’s head, resulting in a second consecutive Husky stoppage.
After which, Washington’s attack finally began. The Huskies amassed a 15-game, 85-yard drive — thanks to a trio of unlikely conversions. On the third and 16, Penix found wide receiver Rome Odunze on a screen for a 27-yard gain. On the third and 11, he hit McMillan for 17 yards. On the fourth and 10, he found McMillan for another 18. Senior running back Wayne Taulapapa capped things off by taking a wild snap and spinning in the end zone to tie the score at 7-7 with 4:23 left in the second quarter.
So…despite picking six, poor punts, porous run defense, no passing and four untimely penalties, UW trailed just 14-7 at halftime. The Huskies even beat the Beavers 189-162 during that span.
But the mistakes did not stay in the locker room.
Granted, UW tied the game midway through the third quarter – as Penix took a shotgun blast on third and goal (following an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty by left guard Troy Fautanu) and found tight end Jack Westover all alone in the corner of the end zone for an unlikely 24-yard score.
But a face mask penalty changed the momentum.
On the next drive, Gulbranson took a snap from the 42-yard Husky line and was unceremoniously swarmed. Senior helper Jeremiah Martin dismantled left tackle Joshua Gray with a vicious spinning motion before engulfing Gulbranson at the 50-yard line. That should have triggered a second straight Beaver punt.
Martin was flagged for a totally unnecessary face mask penalty instead. And two plays later, Fenwick called — taking a wild, galloping snap into the end zone for a 19-yard score that gave Oregon State a 21-14 lead.
But the Huskies had yet another answer. UW snatched a nine-play, 66-yard drive — with rushes of 10 and 19 yards. Taulapapa fell in the end zone for his second touchdown, this one from four yards out, to level again at 21-21.
It was an extinct car.
After a sizable blackout and then three straight punts, the Husky offense mounted a remarkable drive. UW amassed an 18-play, 92-yard walk — including third conversions to Devin Culp, Jalen McMillan and Cameron Davis.
On third-and-six from the Beavers’ 21-yard line, Davis extended to catch a pass from Penix for a six-yard gain. After Penix rushed for another yard, wide receiver Giles Jackson popped the pass around the right edge for another 12 yards. After a pair of misses and a kneeling Penix, kicker Peyton Henry scored a 22-yard field goal to essentially end the game.
When needed, the Husky attack knocked out the lights.