SEATTLE (AP) — The unsatisfying appetizers for No. 8 Washington are done. Proving the Huskies are worthy of their lofty ranking three weeks into the season now begins.
“We’ll find out quick. We’ll find out quick what we have,” Washington coach Chris Petersen said.
Jake Browning threw three touchdown passes in the first 16 minutes and No. 8 Washington closed out its uninspired nonconference schedule with a 41-3 win over Portland State on Saturday night.
Browning and the Huskies (3-0) led 14-0 after less than 3 minutes and coasted their way past the lower division opponent. Browning threw a 43-yard touchdown to Chico McClatcher on Washington’s opening drive, and added TD tosses of 11 yards to Darrell Daniels, 13 yards to McClatcher on the second play of the second quarter and a 4-yard TD pass to Myles Gaskin early in the fourth quarter.
“I think we learned some things about our team that are good things and some things that we still need to clean up,” Petersen said.
Browning finished 12 of 19 for 163 yards. His numbers were less impressive than the first two weeks due to the Huskies being helped out by a pair of Portland State turnovers deep in its own end, giving Washington a short field. Browning now has 12 touchdown passes in three games after throwing 16 TDs all of last season.
Will Dissly, a converted defensive end now playing tight end, caught a 27-yard touchdown from K.J. Carta-Samuels in the fourth quarter as Washington extended its streak of scoring 40 or more points to six straight games dating to last season.
Portland State served as the final warmup before Washington’s season really begins next week at Arizona. The Huskies outscored its three nonconference opponents — Rutgers, Idaho and Portland State — 148-30 and Washington’s starting defense has yet to allow a touchdown while on the field.
“I think we have proved that we aren’t looking past anything and that we are focused on the game, which I’m sure you’ve heard millions of times from guys on our team,” Browning said. “We just have to continue that approach and get ready for Arizona.”
Alex Kuresa was 11 of 17 passing for 148 yards and one interception for Portland State. The Vikings (1-2) had four total turnovers and managed just 34 yards rushing on 42 carries.
“That’s brutal,” Portland State coach Bruce Barnum said of the 34 yards rushing. “I just read that stat. I’d also like to marry Miss America but some things never happen. Not against that defense.”
Portland State: The Vikings played a nearly perfect game when they upset Washington State last year. This season, too many miscues protecting the ball kept Portland State from being competitive in either of its games against FBS competition. The Vikings committed six turnovers in last week’s loss at San Jose State then fumbled the first kickoff they received on Saturday and found themselves down 14-0 in a hurry.
Washington: The Huskies’ run game continues to baffle. Gaskin finished with a season-high 93 yards rushing on 13 carries, including a season-best 37-yard run early in the fourth quarter. The Huskies rushed for 213 yards but it took into the fourth quarter before the finding sustained success on the ground against a Portland State defense that allowed 409 yards rushing to San Jose State last week.
Washington may creep a little higher in the Top 25 but not much. The impressive win by No. 10 Louisville over No. 2 Florida State will likely vault the Cardinals past Washington in the Top 10. The Huskies will get their chance to impress in the coming weeks.
Petersen was thrilled with the performance of Washington’s defense against Portland State’s unique run game. Kuresa was held to (minus)-8 yards on 12 carries. Paris Penn, who rushed for 137 yards against San Jose State was held to 7 yards by Washington.
“To do what we did I couldn’t be more pleased,” Washington defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski said.
Portland State: The Vikings return to the FCS level and open Big Sky play next Saturday at defending conference champion Southern Utah.
Washington: The Huskies finally get tested when they travel to Arizona for their Pac-12 opener next Saturday. It’s a challenging stretch for Washington playing a late Saturday night game in the desert following by a short week before hosting Stanford on Friday, Sept. 30.
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