The Washington Huskies continued their positive momentum to the start of the season with their 52-6 victory over Portland State. The Kalen DeBoer era is off to a great start at 2-0, as the Huskies move into the tougher part of their schedule ahead.
Here are some things that stood out during the game…
Emphasis On Running Game From The Start
Last week, the Husky offense displayed a full air assault with Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. leading the way. This week, Husky offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb made it a point of emphasis to get the running game going early. Washington running backs Wayne Taulapapa and Cameron Davis had their way early with the Portland State defense. Both runners together averaged 7.8 yards per carry in the first half and Davis capped off a drive with an 8-yard TD of his own. It’s clear that Grubb wants to have the running game be efficient and productive, despite the aerial attack that Penix Jr. provides for the offense.
Pass Defense Needs To Improve
Throughout the game defensively for the Huskies, the pass defense was often exploited with busted coverages and missed assignments. Even though the Huskies didn’t really pay for those mistakes, the Portland State receivers were wide open and dropped some balls that could have been touchdowns. In recent years, Husky fans have been accustomed to the secondary controlling games with “lockdown” coverage and suffocating defense. If the Huskies want to do something special in DeBoer’s first season on Montlake, then the pass defense and defense, in general, will have to make an impact to match the offense.
The Ability To Sustain Drives On Offense
One thing that has really stood out so far this season and continued today was the ability to sustain drives by the offense. In the first half, the Huskies scored on 5 out of 6 drives for a total of 31 points, and scored on 8 out of 11 drives total. Led by Penix Jr, the offense was able to consistently move the chains and put up points on the scoreboard. Grubb has been a rhythm playcalling so far and has operated at the right tempo for this offense to succeed! It’s a 360-degree turn from last season when the Husky offense continually went three-and-out and couldn’t sustain any drives. The Husky defense is benefitting from this by staying off the field and fresh in the 4th quarter.
A “Sack Lunch” For The Husky Defense
After the win last week against Kent State, Washington head coach Kalen DeBoer said they needed to find ways to get more sacks, after only recording one last week. The team answered the bell and it took it to heart with getting after the quarterback often and early. Husky inside linebacker Alphonzo Tuputala, came away with a punishing sack of his own. What was even more impressive was edge player Bralen Trice came away with back-to-back sacks. All three of those sacks were notched on the same drive, and the Huskies were really setting the tone with their pressure. The Huskies finished with 4 total sacks. If the Huskies can continue to manufacture sacks on a weekly basis, it will make the defense consistently dangerous!
Michael Penix Jr. Has Full Command Of The Offense
The Husky offense was “explosive” once again today with touchdowns coming from all over the field. The biggest reason the offense is executing at a high level so far is the command and play of Penix Jr. You can really start to see the poise that he possesses in the pocket and he makes the right reads on a consistent basis. Despite his one pick on the day, Penix Jr. has put his receivers, tight ends, and running backs in the right positions to succeed. He has full command of DeBoer’s offense which dates back to their time together at Indiana back in 2019. Penix Jr. finished the game going 20 of 27, 337 yards, 2 TD’s, 1 pick, and a QB rating of 196. You can see why DeBoer brought him to Washington and named him the starter in his first year as head coach of the Huskies.
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