Washington passes through Colorado as the growing importance of the Apple Cup looms on the horizon

This is not basketball.

But the action of the Washington Ball was something to watch.

Leading 7-0 with 3:03 left in the first quarter on Saturday, Michael Bennix Jr. took a punt and handed it to wide receiver Jalen McMillan at eventual end. McMillan joined fellow wide receiver Jalen Polk, who brought him back to Penix waiting. The redshirt junior collected the ball at Colorado’s 42-yard line and pinned a pass to McMillan along the left sideline.

Which is when the sophomore wide receiver got into action.

With a fleet of blockers up front, McMillan sprinted to their own 18-yard line, where 325-pound defensive tackle Jalen Sammy fumbled a teammate as he attempted a tackle. McMillan cut to inside and turned at the 6, bouncing off defensemen Nico Reed and Terrien Taylor. Safety Jeremy Mack was frozen in place on the 2nd, as if he had been powered by a video game console with a bad battery.

One pass, two laterals, one pass pass, three missed tackles, and after 27 yards and 12 seconds, McMillan nonchalantly rushed into the end zone—leaving a trail of debris in his wake.

“It’s time to get back to this[play],” UW coach Kalin DeBoer said after Washington’s 54-7 win. (UW offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb) was already thinking of naming him right away, right away. But we weren’t in the right place on the field. I was excited to see the guys (run out). There’s a lot of execution for that and a lot of ball handling. We just trust in Our knack for doing that, and I thought J-Mac did a great job of making some guys miss it.”

McMillan, who led the Huskies with eight catches for 98 yards and a score (plus a 31-yard punt), added: “Grubb has the strangest plays, but it’s great. Running is so much fun.”

So it was in Washington’s win over Colorado, a glorious Pac-12 coaching set between games of the Huskies rivalry. After pulling off a legendary performance in a 37-34 win at Oregon Road, Penix completed 19 of 31 passes and threw for 229 yards and a touchdown in a masterful effort. Sophomore Dylan Morris added 66 passing yards, 32 rushing yards, and a 15-yard touchdown to running back Sam Adams II on relief.

But outside of one particularly memorable game, the Husky running game dominated the day.

Wayne Taulabapa — who excelled in difficult conditions, with three former Virginia teammates shooting and killing Sunday — rushed for 107 yards, 9.7 yards per carry and two touchdowns, with a 57-yard run that nearly yielded another score. Sophomore Cameron Davis added 59 rushing yards, 4.9 yards per carry and two touchdowns of his own – including a jump in the third quarter from a somersault into the end zone. Junior Richard Newton also contributed 21 yards and a 2-yard touchdown in the cleanup.

“We go back and forth. Every time I see Wayne make a good run, I’m like, ‘I want to do the same thing,’” said Davis, who leads the Huskies with 13 rushing touchdowns. “I think we feed off each other a lot.”

On graduation day, the Huskies produced half of the basketball score—certainly helping undistinguished Colorado teams. The second quarter snap sailed over Trent Carrizosa’s head and into the end zone for a Huskies safety. The Paves put out a punt as well, which promptly led to a 33-yard Peyton Henry field goal to close out the half with a 33-0 lead.

Talking about …

This is not basketball.

But the Buffaloes could not defend all three.

With that first-half field goal, Henry — a sixth-year senior, who played his final game inside the Huskies on Saturday — surpassed Jeff Geiger’s career-high 380 points to become the all-time leading scorer in UW history. The Danville, California, and former product kicked one field goal (while missing 49 yards) and six extra points, sitting at 384 points with two (or three?) games.

This certainly wasn’t a perfect performance. UW’s tackle remains questionable, and Colorado running back Alex Fontenot totaled 6.5 yards per strike in the defeat. True freshman cornerback Jaivion Green also misjudged a flapping deep ball, which led to a 69-yard touchdown run from Colorado quarterback JT Shrout to wide receiver Montana Lemonious-Craig. In the third quarter, Taulababa stoned 4th-and-goal from 1 to result in a rare turnover. And after Penix was substituted, Morris threw a hard interception that cut off Jack Westover’s usually reliable hand.

But the positives outweigh everything else. Long after the referee was judged, freshman Maurice Himes intercepted his first career sack, and Maquill Estien added an interception to safety. UW capped off an undefeated 7-0 run inside Husky Stadium by amassing 280 rushing yards, 6.5 yards per carry and five touchdowns in a dominant display.

In addition, a healthy Penix only played two and a half quarters.

which tells you everything you need to know.

And speaking of, you probably know what happens next. At 9-2, No. 15 Washington will travel to meet 7-4 Washington State next weekend in the increasingly important Apple College Championship. It would be in-state bragging rights and put the pot on the line.

On Saturday, the UW actually got drenched in Colorado.

It won’t be so easy this time next week.

“There are two matches that I all know are in Husky Nation circuits every year,” said DeBoer, referring to UW’s rivalries with Washington State and Oregon. “We’re really looking forward to having a great week. We’re playing for a lot of things. It’s not just that trophy.”

square score

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