Washington quickly, decisively ends BYU two-game win streak
Washington’s Jacob Eason carved up BYU’s defense and Cougar mistakes proved costly for any chance to chase the Huskies in Provo Saturday
PROVO — Bubble popped.
Euphoric successes in three overtimes that led to a 2-0 win streak against Power Five Tennessee and Southern Cal took a retro setback big-time when No. 22 Washington visited LaVell Edwards Stadium on Saturday and left with a convincing 45-19 victory.
What it means is Kalani Sitake’s squad will take a 2-2 September record on the road to Toledo next week. That mark defies what most experts predicted. There is no shame in losing to Chris Petersen’s talent-laden team. But BYU’s failure to play clean and avoid mistakes was disappointing after two thrilling victories.
“The guys came out ready to play, but we made too many mistakes and Washington just steamrolled us. We didn’t do anything to disrupt Jacob Eason, and they disrupted our timing and that led to turnovers.” — BYU coach Kalani Sitake
“The guys came out ready to play, but we made too many mistakes and Washington just steamrolled us. We didn’t do anything to disrupt Jacob Eason, and they disrupted our timing and that led to turnovers,” said Sitake, who accepted the blame for the loss.
To add to a bad news Saturday, BYU star senior running back Ty’Son Williams left the game with what looked like a knee injury after a run and sandwich tackle in the second quarter. The South Carolina transfer had a sensational start to his Cougar career in September.
If the Cougars play this kind of opponent, their act has to be near flawless. This one had warts from start to finish including yielding an 88-yard punt return for a third-quarter score. That, plus a fumble return for a TD, was 14 points on two plays by Washington.
Recipe for disaster.
Washington lit the fuse early, attacking and exposing BYU’s soft defensive game plan. The Huskies didn’t punt until 11:19 remained in the game up 45-19.
In the past two games against Washington — Saturday and last season — BYU’s defense allowed Husky QBs to complete 88.6% of their passes (47 of 53) for 567 yards, four touchdowns and one interception for a pass efficiency rating of 199.68.
BYU tried to drop into coverage and mostly rush just three linemen against Georgia transfer Jacob Eason. It worked against USC’s freshman QB, but Eason ate it alive, turning the Cougar defense into a shooting gallery. At one point in the first half, Eason completed 13-straight passes in carving out a 24-12 halftime lead.
“He’s a great quarterback and you have to give him his due,” said linebacker Max Tooley.
Offensively, BYU QB Zach Wilson moved the ball effectively but mistakes poured acid on the effort. With the defense yielding real estate as fast as a Daytona speedway, it was disheartening to watch.
Washington decided to single-cover BYU’s Matt Bushman and he compiled a season-high six catches for 89 yards and a third-quarter TD.
Jake Oldroyd, who missed a chip shot PAT, knocked through a 54-yard field goal, the second longest in school history.
Those, plus Tooley’s 33-yard interception return, were the highlights.
But they were too few and far between to beat Washington.
The Cougars may have had a small chance to chase Washington with points, at least early, but untimely penalties (six for 50 yards), a dropped pass in scoring position and a strip fumble, scoop and 69-yard touchdown run by Brandon Wellington pretty well sealed the Husky superiority that BYU could not answer.
“We didn’t play at a high level early,” said Sitake. “We just couldn’t finish drives and were not assignment sound on defense. That isn’t to take away from what Washington did in playing very well.”
Sitake said Washington came out with some different formations they hadn’t seen and were successful in confusing the Cougar defense. On the other side, the coach said Washington’s pressure packages stymied what BYU tried to do on offense and he credited Petersen’s staff.
“We need to put our guys in even more difficult positions in practice. We have coaches with tons of experience and we did make adjustments, but they countered what we did and we’ll have to do better. Washington is a team that does that all the time to people.”
Bushman said BYU’s mistakes were dumb and simple things that shouldn’t happen. “The coaches did prepare us to play well and we didn’t do it.”
Bushman said BYU hurt itself when the offense had momentum the turnovers hurt.
“It was hard to get back after a turnover like that. It’s hard to come back after so many turnovers. It was rough,” said Bushman of the punchout fumble that Washington returned for a score.
“They were a good team but I think our mistakes made them look better,” said Bushman. “Our mistakes made them look like world beaters. We had false starts, and really dumb mistakes made it look worse than it was. They came out pretty hot and came down and scored and we wanted to go down and score but made mistakes. We were confident but can’t have so many mistakes against a really good team.”
Bushman proclaimed BYU would own up to its mistakes and get on to Toledo.
It’s another month as an independent.
In a sense, it’s like BYU now shifts into a new phase of the season for Sitake and Company.