College Football: Washington 30, Rutgers 14 - D1SportsNet


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College football

Washington 30, Rutgers 14

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Washington, which entertained a lofty preseason ranking and high expectations, got off to a slow start before finally showing up in the season opener against Rutgers on Friday.

The No. 8 Huskies got their offense in gear after halftime, turning a tight game into a 30-14 victory over the pesky Scarlet Knights in front of 46,093 fans at High Point Solutions Stadium.

Washington handed Rutgers its 10th straight loss dating back to 2016 and beat the Scarlet Knights in the season opener for the second straight year.

Junior quarterback Jake Browning, who finished sixth in the Heisman voting last season, recovered from a sluggish first half to throw a pair of touchdowns. He is trying to improve on a sophomore season in which he tied the Pac-12 record with 43 touchdown passes.

Browning finished 17-for-30 for 284 yards, 203 of which came in the second half. Senior kicker Tristan Vizcaino added three field goals in the win.

Redshirt freshman cornerback Byron Murphy spearheaded the defensive effort for the defending Pac-12 champions with a pair of interceptions, while also downing two punts inside Rutgers' 3-yard line on special teams.

The Huskies extended a three-point halftime lead to 17-7 when Browning found a wide-open Lavon Coleman out of the backfield for a 7-yard touchdown on third-and-goal with 9:17 left in the third quarter. Browning later added an 18-yard scoring pass to running back Myles Gaskin that made it a 20-point game on the first play of the fourth quarter.

Rutgers was hanging around after sophomore Dacoven Bailey scored his first career touchdown on a 34-yard pass from Kyle Bolin with 10:31 left in the game. That connection cut the Huskies' lead to 27-14, but Washington answered with a 42-yard field goal by Vizcaino for the final margin.

Rutgers led Washington for nearly the entire first half before an electrifying punt return touchdown by Dante Pettis let the heavily favored Huskies breathe a little easier by giving them a 10-7 lead at the break.

Pettis raced 61 yards for a score with 3:50 left in the second quarter to put Washington ahead after Rutgers held Heisman hopeful Jake Browning to 5-for-11 passing for 81 yards in the half.

The defense allowed the Huskies to claw back in front by forcing three punts and coming up with an interception by freshman cornerback Byron Murphy after Rutgers scored on its opening possession.

The Rutgers defense, which allowed 37.5 points per game last season, started with a pair of stops to set the tone for a half in which it limited the Huskies to 97 total yards, 51 of which came on one play.

The first drive for new Rutgers quarterback Kyle Bolin couldn't have gone any better, as he capped an 11-play, 59-yard march with a 3-yard touchdown pass to senior wideout Janarion Grant for a 7-0 lead with 7:08 left in the first quarter.

Bolin, a graduate transfer from Louisville, was 4-for-5 for 25 yards on the drive in his first action for the Scarlet Knights, who were next-to-last in scoring offense in the FBS last season.

Washington got on the board with a 24-yard field goal by Vizcaino that was set up by a 51-yard strike from Browning to Pettis to trim Rutgers' lead to 7-3 after one quarter.