One of the biggest storylines for the Pac-12 during the offseason centered around all of the hype the Washington Huskies were receiving. Judging by the early returns in the team’s season opener, perhaps that hype was warranted.
Chris Petersen’s squad steamrolled the visiting Rutgers Scarlet Knights 48-13 in an outing that wasn’t particularly close in any phase of the game. The Huskies’ offense scored on their first four drives of the game to all but secure the win, the defense forced three turnovers and special teams contributed two touchdowns on returns.
In short, the game wasn’t even as close as the scored indicated.
Washington quarterback Jake Browning finished the game 18-of-27 for 287 yards and three touchdowns in three quarters of work. Star tailback Myles Gaskin didn’t quite pick up where he left off last year but added 57 yards on the ground.
Perhaps the most notable takeaway for the Huskies was the stellar return of John Ross III. The speedster missed all of last season with an injury but quickly made his presence felt with two long touchdown catches in the first quarter and added a 92 yard kick return before halftime for good measure. He finished with 182 all-purpose yards and three total scores.
The contest was not the outcome Chris Ash was hoping for in his debut as head coach for the Scarlet Knights. The bulk of Rutgers’ 304 yards of offense came against backups and the defense gave up 6.4 yards per play in a lackluster effort. Special teams added to the misery of the cross-country jaunt by allowing both a punt and kick return for a touchdown.
Remarkably each team converted just 25 percent of their third down conversions, but that is in part due to the fact that Washington scored so quickly with big plays that Rutgers simply had no answer for.
There was a lot of talk about how undeserving the Huskies were f their top 15 rankings but if Saturday was any indication, the team might just be one to watch this season in a loaded Pac-12 conference.
Rutgers, on the other hand, certainly isn’t must-watch television — even if you’re an alum.