After beating then-No. 7 Stanford 44-6 on Sept. 30, the Washington Huskies, in the eyes of many, were instantly national title contenders.
Washington’s 70-21 at Oregon last weekend didn’t exactly slow down the hype train.
“They are the real deal,” Seattle Times Huskies reporter Adam Jude said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “Seventy points at Autzen Stadium – nobody does that, beating Oregon by 49 points. This is a Washington program that had lost 12 in a row to the Ducks, their most hated rival. It was very frustrating for a longtime Seattle sports fan that they had to endure that for the last 12 years. So those 70 points helped make up for a lot of that lost decade-plus.”
Stanford and Oregon have been the best teams in the Pac-12 for several years. Well, Washington has beaten them by a combined score of 114-27. Remember: The Huskies have finished 7-6 in four of the last six seasons. Heck, they went 0-12 in 2008 under Tyrone Willingham.
Now they’re national title contenders.
“I think folks are familiar with Chris Petersen and his time at Boise and really putting Boise on the college football map,” Jude said. “It’s taken him a couple years up in Seattle but he’s finally got things rolling. He’s got thing clicking, as you hoped he would. And man, look at them right now. No. 5 in the country, 6-0, and not only did they do that to Oregon, but they did it at home to Stanford a couple weeks ago. I think we can officially say the Washington Huskies are back and officially in the national title race.”
Washington, which plays just one ranked team the rest of the way – No. 21 Utah (5-1) on Oct. 29 – has been led by quarterback Jake Browning. The sophomore has completed 72.2 percent of his passes for 1,418 yards, 23 touchdowns and just two interceptions. He’s also rushed for three scores.
“Jake Browning, if go back to high school in Northern California, set a national record with 229 career touchdown passes in three seasons – so he’s used to putting up big numbers in this type of offense,” Jude said. “He’s not a (big) guy. He looks more like the punter. He’s about 6-1, 6-2, 205 maybe 210. He’s got sneaky athleticism, but he doesn’t necessarily have the big arm. He doesn’t have the physical attributes that make you go, ‘Wow.’ He’s not Josh Rosen, the kid down at UCLA, with the big arm that everyone thinks is going to be the future No. 1 prospect. That’s not Jake Browning. Jake Browning is a real cerebral quarterback. He rarely is fooled. I can’t remember the last time he looked confused by what the defense was showing him. He’s (able to) diagnose what’s happening before it actually happens. Obviously when you can do that at the quarterback position, you’re ahead of the game.”
The Huskies, who have a bye this week, host Oregon State (2-3) on Oct. 22.