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No. 22 Washington steamrolls mistake-prone BYU, 45-19

While quarterback Jacob Eason shredded the Cougars defense with precision and efficiency, BYU made a slew of miscues as Washington walked away with a dominating 45-19 victory. 

Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Zach Wilson (1) kneels on thanks field after being sacked by the Washington Huskies in Provo on Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019. Brigham Young Cougars tight end Matt Bushman (89) checks on him.
Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Zach Wilson (1) kneels on thanks field after being sacked by the Washington Huskies in Provo on Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019. Brigham Young Cougars tight end Matt Bushman (89) checks on him.
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

PROVO — For two weeks in a row, BYU lived on the edge with back-to-back overtime victories against Tennessee and USC.

Then on Saturday afternoon at LaVell Edwards Stadium, the Cougars ran into a purple-and-gold buzz saw.

No. 22 Washington ensured there would be no drama this week, scoring 21 points in the first quarter and 21 more in the third. The Huskies hammered an overmatched BYU team from the outset.

While quarterback Jacob Eason shredded the Cougars defense with precision and efficiency, BYU made a slew of miscues as Washington walked away with a dominating 45-19 victory.

“We made too many mistakes and Washington steamrolled it,” said coach Kalani Sitake. “They’re a great team.”

The Cougars (2-2) had three back-breaking turnovers and a bunch of missed assignments, dropped passes and ill-timed penalties.

“It’s hard to come back after so many turnovers,” said BYU tight end Matt Bushman, who caught six passes for 89 yards and a touchdown off a deflected pass in the end zone at the end of the third quarter. “They’re just a good team. We can’t do that against good teams.”

Meanwhile, losing running back Ty’Son Williams to an injury late in the first half didn’t help the Cougars’ cause, either.

Among the big plays by the Huskies (3-1) were a 69-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown in the first half and an 88-yard punt return TD in the third quarter.

“I thought it was a good performance in all phases,” said Washington coach Chris Petersen. “It was nice to get explosive plays by our defense and it was nice to get them on our special teams. Our offense was striking with explosive plays as well.”

That pretty much covers it.

Eason completed 24 of 28 passes for 290 yards and three touchdowns. During one stretch in the first half, he had 13 straight completions.

“It’s disappointing to see them pick us apart like that,” said defensive back Dayan Ghanwoloku.

“We didn’t do anything to disrupt Eason,” Sitake said.

Last year, in Washington’s 35-7 win over BYU in Seattle, quarterback Jake Browning completed 23 of 25 passes for 277 yards. Combined, that’s 47 of 53 completions for 567 yards in the two games for the Huskies.

“It was good to get my first road game under my belt,” said Eason, a junior transfer from Georgia. “The crowd noise was there, there were some good situations in the game that went well. Our offensive line did a great job of keeping me upright and our receivers made some great plays.”

“He’s a great quarterback; you’ve got to give credit where it’s due,” said BYU linebacker Max Tooley. “You could tell he has experience. He was able to look us off and it helped them to complete passes where last week we were getting takeaways.”

Washington rushed for 187 yards and punted only once all day — and that was in the fourth quarter, when the outcome had long been decided.

The Huskies set the tone early after the opening kickoff, easily driving 75 yards for a score, capped by a 17-yard touchdown pass from Eason to Richard Newton.

After the Cougars cut the deficit to 7-3, Washington had a third-and-9 at its own 38-yard line. Isaiah Kaufusi sacked Eason for a loss, which would have forced a punt. Instead, a face mask penalty on Isaiah Herron gave the Huskies a fresh set of downs. Five plays later, Eason struck again on a 17-yard TD pass to Aaron Fuller.

On BYU’s next series, after a 48-yard kickoff return by Lopini Katoa, the Cougars drove to the Washington 25-yard line when quarterback Zach Wilson was blindsided by Ryan Bowman and fumbled. Brandon Wellington scooped up the ball and rumbled 69 yards to lift the Huskies to a 21-3 advantage.

In the second quarter, BYU made the score 24-9 on a 1-yard touchdown run by Emmanuel Esukpa.

Later, Washington reached the Cougar 5-yard line and tried to execute a fake field goal that was stopped by BYU’s Payton Wilgar. The Cougars then put together a nice drive, scoring with 26 seconds left in the half when Jake Oldroyd booted a 54-yard field goal — the program’s first field goal of at least 50 yards since 2006.

BYU was feeling reasonably good about itself at the start of the third quarter, trailing 24-12. Not long after receiving the kickoff, the Cougars’ possession ended prematurely when wide receiver Dax Milne caught a pass and then fumbled while trying to get extra yardage.

“It was a tough go because we were driving the ball,” Bushman said. “Dax made a good play. He was trying to make a move and they punched it out.”

Washington cashed in again on a 35-yard touchdown pass from Eason to Andre Baccellia. It was 31-12.

Then came the long punt return touchdown by Fuller to make the score 38-12, which eventually turned into 45-12.

“As much as we tried to gain momentum, it seemed like Washington had an answer,” Sitake said. “We did some things that didn’t help ourselves. We didn’t execute well enough and it’s my fault as a coach, and I need to do whatever I need to do to make sure we have a high execution level next week.”

BYU visits Toledo next Saturday.