Washington moves through Colorado as the Apple Cup grows in importance

This isn’t basketball.

But Washington’s ball movement was something to behold.

Michael Penix Jr. led 7-0 in the first quarter Saturday with 3:03 to go, grabbing a shotgun snap and handing wide receiver Jalen McMillan in an end-around. McMillan crossed to wide receiver Ja’Lynn Polk, who passed it to the waiting Penix. The redshirt junior collected the ball at Colorado’s 42-yard line and darted a pass to McMillan down the left touchline.

Then the second wide receiver came into action.

With a fleet of blockers in the lead, McMillan shot to the 18-yard line, where 325-pound defensive tackle Jalen Sami tripped over a teammate while attempting the tackle. McMillan sliced ​​inside and flipped on the 6, rebounding off diving defenders Nikko Reed and Tyrin Taylor. Safety Jeremy Mack froze on the 2 as if operated by a video game controller with a bad battery.

One handoff, two laterals, a pass, three missed tackles, 27 yards and 12 seconds later, McMillan nonchalantly trotted into the end zone — leaving a trail of debris in his wake.

“It was time to get back to it (to play),” said UW coach Kalen DeBoer after Washington’s 54-7 win. “(UW offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb) actually thought about calling it right away, right off the bat. But we weren’t in the right place on the field. I was excited to see (execute) the boys. This requires a lot of execution and a lot of ball handling. We just trust our experienced guys to do that and I think J-Mac did a great job missing some guys.

McMillan, who led the Huskies with eight catches for 98 yards and one score (and 31 punt return yards), added, “Grubb has the weirdest plays, but they’re great. It’s so much fun to run.”

Such was Washington’s overwhelming victory over Colorado, a glorified Pac-12 practice wedged between husky rivalry games. After a legendary performance in the 37-34 away win in Oregon, Penix completed 19 of 31 passes and threw for 229 yards and a touchdown in a technical effort. Sophomore Dylan Morris added 66 passing yards, 32 rushing yards and a 15-yard touchdown to run back Sam Adams II.

But barring one particularly memorable game, the husky running game dominated the day.

Senior Wayne Taulapapa – who excelled in difficult circumstances when three former teammates were shot in Virginia on Sunday – rushed for 107 yards, 9.7 yards per carry and two touchdowns, with a 57-yard sprint nearly earning another point . Sophomore Cameron Davis added 59 rushing yards, 4.9 yards per carry and two touchdowns of his own – including a jumping somersault into the end zone in the third quarter. Junior Richard Newton also contributed 21 yards and a 2-yard touchdown on the cleanup.

“We go back and forth. Every time I see Wayne make a good run, I’m like, ‘I have to do the same,'” said Davis, who leads the Huskies with 13 rushing touchdowns. “I guess we feed each other a lot.”

On Senior Day, the Huskies scored half a basketball score — and Colorado’s not-so-special teams certainly helped. A snap in the second quarter sailed over punter Trent Carrizosa’s head and into the end zone for a Husky safety. The Buffs also missed a punt, which immediately resulted in a 33-yard field goal from Peyton Henry to end the half 33-0.

Speaking of…

This isn’t basketball.

But the Buffaloes couldn’t defend the three.

With that half-field goal, Henry — a sixth-grader playing his final game at Husky Stadium on Saturday — surpassed Jeff Jaeger’s 380 career points and became UW’s all-time leading scorer. The Danville, Calif., and former walk-on product recorded a field goal (while missing a 49-yarder) and six extra points and had two (or three?) games left at 384 points.

Granted, it wasn’t a perfect performance. UW’s tackling is still suspect, and Colorado running back Alex Fontenot averaged 6.5 yards per carry in the loss. True freshman Jaivion Green also misjudged a fluttering deep ball, resulting in a 69-yard touchdown from Colorado quarterback JT Shrout to wide receiver Montana Lemonious-Craig. In the third quarter, fourth-placed Taulapapa and Tor were stoned from the 1, leading to a rare rally on downs. And after replacing Penix, Morris threw an unlucky interception that rattled tight end Jack Westover’s usually reliable hands.

But the positives outweighed everything else. Long after the verdict was decided, redshirt rookie Maurice Heims grabbed his first career sack and safety Makell Esteen added an interception. UW finished an unbeaten 7-0 sprint at Husky Stadium with 280 rushing yards, 6.5 yards per carry and five touchdowns in a dominant performance.

Also, a healthy Penix only played two and a half quarters.

That tells you everything you need to know.

And speaking of which, you probably know what’s coming next. At 9-2, No. 15 Washington will travel to face 7-4 Washington State next weekend in an increasingly important Apple Cup. In-state bragging rights and bowl positioning will be at stake.

On Saturday, UW effectively dipped on Colorado.

This time next week it won’t be that easy.

“There’s two games every year that I know of in all circles in the Husky Nation,” DeBoer said, referring to UW’s rivalries with Washington State and Oregon. “We are really looking forward to a great week. We play for a lot of stuff. It’s not just this trophy.”


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