Seattle, Wa—-The Washington Huskies are making noise in the PAC-12 Conference, if you don’t believe it, you better ask their last few opponents.
Stanford quarterback Tanner McKee was under duress all game long got sacked eight times and the defense forced two fumbles, and the 18th-ranked Huskies (4-0, 1-0) beat down Stanford (1-2, 0-2 Pac-12) 40-22 on Saturday night at Alaska Airlines Field at Husky Stadium.
“Awesome to get a win. Every win you celebrate, and to get the first Pac-12 win is great. The team did everything they could to focus, and the team tried to turn the page early in the week after all the attention from last weekend.” Huskies coach Kalen DeBoer said.
Huskies signal caller Michael Penix Jr. threw for 309 yards and threw second-half touchdowns of 30 yards to Rome Odunze and 21 yards to Giles Jackson on a screen pass. Odunze hurled in eight passes for 161 yards, his first career game over 100 yards receiving.
UW running back Wayne Taulapapa rushed for a career-high 120 yards and punched in across the goal line once. He averaged 9.2 yards per carry for the night.
Taulapapa’s longest run came halfway through the second quarter when he sprinted down the sideline for a 34-yard touchdown two plays after a Cardinals turnover. It was his first 100-yard game of Taulapapa’s career, both at Virginia and Washington.
The Cardinals lost its eighth straight conference game dating to last season, the longest skid under head coach David Shaw.
Washington’s defense set the tone from the onset of the game, they kept constant pressure on McKee and made him very uncomfortable in the pocket. The Huskies sacked him six times in the first half. They entered the night with seven sacks on the season.
But the biggest sack came from defensive end Jeremiah Martin when he was able to strip the ball from McKee halfway through the second quarter.
Faatui Tuitele recovered the fumble and two plays later, Tualapapa broke free for a touchdown run and a 17-0 lead.
McKee got on track in the second quarter, his first touchdown pass was a 23-yard strike to Michael Wilson with four minutes left before the break, brought Stanford within 17-7. He finished the game 17 of 26 for 286 yards and three touchdowns.
McKee tossed his other two touchdowns in the fourth quarter, hit John Humphreys on a 17-yard score and finding Wilson again on a 78-yard touchdown as the Cardinal outscored the Huskies 15-10 in the final frame.
Wilson finished with six catches for 176 yards and was one of eight Cardinal players to record a reception.
The Huskies amassed 355 yards of offense while Stanford managed just 225 for the game.
“For the most part, we really made them go and earn it, with the exception of the very end of the game. And then sooner or later we got home with a sack or a turnover. That was great to see.” DeBoer said.
Casey Filkins, who started in place of injured leading running back E.J. Smith, carried the ball 20 carries for 100 yards while catching two passes for 29 yards.
UW have scored at least 39 points in all four games, and this time the defense led the way instead of Penix, who still managed to throw for 300 yards passing for the fourth straight game. He finished 22 of 37 for the night.
“Super proud of our coaching staff and our players. We’ve had to shuffle, and it seems every week we have guys that might take some reps but we don’t know if they’ll be healthy to play. But the coaches have done a great job of scheming around the personnel to utilize their strengths. Super proud of all those guys.” DeBoer said.
Washington will go on the road for the first time this season and on a short week traveling to UCLA next Friday.
Stanford is on the road again next Saturday at Oregon.