Huskies roll past Portland State

Washington concludes non-league portion of schedule with 41-3 rout of Portland State

SEATTLE — The Huskies concluded their most dominant run through their nonconference schedule in 25 years with another blowout at Husky Stadium. Yawn.

Final score: No. 8 Washington 41, Portland State 3.

The outcome was never in doubt. It was never going to be.

The Huskies led 28-0 at halftime, and it could have been worse. They improved to 3-0 even while sleepwalking through the second half before a half-empty stadium on a cool Saturday evening.

With the start of Pac-12 play here, finally, Washington might get a much-needed wakeup call this Saturday in the Arizona heat. Kickoff against the Wildcats in Tucson is set for 7:30 p.m., and the Huskies are eager for a greater challenge against a team of comparable skill.

Question is: Are they ready for it?

“We’ll find out,” UW coach Chris Petersen said. “We’ll find out quickly what we have.”

Six days after the trip to Arizona, No. 7 Stanford comes to Husky Stadium for a Friday-night showdown on ESPN. If both teams remain undefeated, that would be the first matchup of top-10 teams in Husky Stadium since 1997 (when the No. 2 Huskies lost to No. 7 Nebraska, 27-14).

UW then travels to Oregon on Oct. 8.

After getting fat on three cupcakes, the Huskies enter the meat of their schedule over the next weeks.

“Of course,” said sophomore quarterback Jake Browning, when asked if he’s glad to be done with the nonconference schedule. “You come to Washington (because) you want to play other Pac-12 schools. … I think we feel pretty good about how things are going. We’ve done what we needed to do the first three games, and now we need to take on Arizona.”

For now, the Huskies have to be content with another shellacking against another supremely overmatched opponent. Yes, Portland State, a rising FCS program, knocked off Washington State in Pullman last season, but even Vikings coach Bruce Barnum acknowledged that these Huskies were a much different scenario.

This is the fourth time in the past 22 seasons that the Huskies won all three of their regular-season nonconference games (they did so in 2014, 2013 and 2000), and it’s safe to say this is as soft an early slate as UW has ever had.

The aggregate score of 148-30 in UW’s 3-0 start is the program’s most lopsided in nonconference play since UW’s national-championship team of 1991, which defeated Nebraska (36-21), Toledo (48-0) and Kansas State (56-3).

What to make of this latest romp from the Huskies’ perspective?

Very little, frankly. This, again, is what they were supposed to do.

Still, there were noteworthy performances:

—UW’s first-string defense still hasn’t allowed a touchdown this season, and only a third-quarter field goal to Portland State (1-2).

“That’s a fast-ass defense,” Portland State coach Bruce Barnum said, “and they strike hard.”

—The Huskies forced four turnovers and held Portland State to a net gain of 34 yards rushing on 42 attempts.

“That’s brutal,” Barnum said. “I just read that stat. I’d also like to marry Miss America, but some things never happen. Not against that defense.”

—Sophomore quarterback Jake Browning, who came into the game second in the nation in QB rating, continued his impressive start to the season, throwing four more touchdown passes. His nine touchdown passes in the past two games are the most ever by a UW quarterback in consecutive games. In three games, he has 12 touchdown passes against one interception, plus two lost fumbles.

—Sophomore receiver Chico McClatcher had two touchdown catches, of 43 yards and 13 yards, and he added three runs for 37 yards, showing again that he might be UW’s most versatile weapon.

—Sophomore running back Myles Gaskin had a season-high 93 yards on 13 carries. He scored two touchdowns, the first on a 4-yard run and the second on a 4-yard reception.

The first three weeks haven’t been perfect — Petersen still believes the running game needs to be better, for example — but it’s been kind to the Huskies. Easy, even.

The real season, Pac-12 play, is about to begin, and one major question remains:

Are they ready?