A fourth quarter power outage was the biggest mishap to take place inside Husky Stadium Friday.
But only barely.
Washington overcame them all.
The first half of UW’s 24-21 win over Oregon State featured the following:
- A Michael Penix Jr. pick-six, in which Washington’s redshirt junior quarterback stared down wide receiver Jalen McMillan and telegraphed a gift — returned by linebacker Easton Mascarenas-Arnold 37 yards to give the Beavers a 14-7 lead late in the second quarter.
- 106 rushing yards and 4.8 yards per carry from the bruising Beavers, 81 of which came on 11 carries for true freshman Damien Martinez. Redshirt junior Deshaun Fenwick plunged forward for a 3-yard touchdown on Oregon State’s opening drive as well.
- A dropped snap by redshirt freshman punter Jack McCallister, who picked up the football and was promptly blocked for an eight-yard loss. (McCallister’s only other first-half punt was a modest improvement, sailing sideways for an 18-yard net.)
- Zero Washington sacks or forced turnovers, for a team that has earned a single takeaway in its last five games — despite entering Friday ranking second in the Pac-12 with 25 sacks.
- A measly 35 UW rushing yards … 15 of which came on an end-around to wide receiver Ja’Lynn Polk.
Considering the minefield of Husky mistakes, UW should have been buried by halftime. They could have cut the lights even earlier.
So how the heck did the Huskies win?
It’s a complicated answer. But a pair of fourth down stops kept it close.
Trailing 7-0 late in the first quarter, the Huskies abruptly ended a 12-play, 63-yard march. Massive UW defensive lineman Ulumoo Ale absorbed Martinez on third-and-1 for a one-yard loss, then cornerback Mishael Powell and edge Zion Tupuola-Fetui combined to swallow 239-pound wildcat quarterback Jack Colletto for no gain.
Oregon State’s next drive disintegrated in the red zone as well. Following the blocked punt, the Beavers opted to go for it on fourth-and-3 from the Husky 15 — with a persistent wind likely persuading coach Jonathan Smith to gamble again. On fourth down, quarterback Ben Gulbranson sailed a pass over Martinez’s head — resulting in a second consecutive Husky stop.
After which, Washington’s offense finally got going. The Huskies amassed a 15-play, 85-yard drive — thanks to a trio of unlikely conversions. On third-and-16, Penix found wide receiver Rome Odunze on a screen for a 27-yard gain. On third-and-11, he hit McMillan for 17 yards. On fourth-and-10, he found McMillan for 18 more. Senior running back Wayne Taulapapa capped things off by taking a wildcat snap and spinning into the end zone to tie the score at 7-7 with 4:23 left in the second quarter.
So … despite the pick-six, and the poor punts, and the porous run defense, and the lack of a pass rush, and four untimely penalties, UW somehow trailed just 14-7 at halftime. The Huskies even outgained the Beavers 189-162 in that span.
But the mistakes weren’t left in the locker room.
Granted, UW tied the game midway through the third quarter — as Penix took a shotgun snap 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 improbable 24-yard score.
But a facemask penalty shifted momentum.
On the following drive, Gulbranson took a snap from the Husky 42-yard line and was unceremoniously swarmed. Senior edge Jeremiah Martin dismantled left tackle Joshua Gray with a vicious spin move before engulfing Gulbranson at the 50-yard line. It should have prompted a second consecutive Beaver punt.
Martin was flagged for a wholly unnecessary facemask penalty instead. And two plays later, Fenwick paid it off — taking a wildcat snap and galloping 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 ripped off a nine-play, 66-yard drive — featuring runs of 10 and 19 yards. Taulapapa tumbled into the end zone for his second touchdown, this one from four yards out, to tie it again at 21-21.
It was a lights-out drive.
Following a considerable power outage, then three consecutive punts, the Husky offense mounted a remarkable drive. UW amassed an 18-play, 92-yard march — including third down conversions to Devin Culp, Jalen McMillan and Cameron Davis.
On third-and-6 from the Beavers’ 21-yard line, Davis extended to reel in a Penix pass for a six-yard gain. After Penix scrambled for another yard, wide receiver Giles Jackson took a pop pass around the right edge for 12 more yards. Following a pair of incompletions and a Penix kneel-down, kicker Peyton Henry drilled a 22-yard field goal to essentially end the game.
When it needed to, the Husky offense turned out the lights.