Huskies stumble early in loss to PSU

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Washington got off to a rough start and was never able to fully recover Saturday against a faster, more physical Penn State team that outclassed the Huskies on both sides of the ball.

“Flat out miserable,” coach Chris Petersen bluntly said after the game. “But it is what it is. It’s a good football team we played out there. It is, it really is. They had us on our heels most of the night.

“They got that lead, and it’s hard to catch a good team when they have a big lead. They’ve got too many good players. I think the quarterback and the running back are really, really good. And they did a great job.”

Washington relied on a potent offense and outstanding defense to go 10-2 during the regular season. But Penn State dominated the Huskies’ defense, gaining 545 yards, and Washington’s offense had trouble protecting quarterback Jake Browning.

The Huskies got a 52-yard gadget play on a receiver pass that helped them score one touchdown, and standout running back Myles Gaskin had a 69-yard TD run. But outside of that, they had trouble lining up and matching PSU’s defensive pressure.

Browning finished 18-of-28 for 175 yards and one TD.

“Against those teams you’ve got to make some of those plays that are kind of 50/50 or make those plays outside the pocket,” Browning said. “And I think that all kind of starts with me, and I got to make sure that we get rolling a little bit quicker and stuff like that and don’t get behind like that and get caught on our heels.”

Washington got the ball back with 34 seconds and a chance to drive for a tying TD, but it had no timeouts and wasn’t able to do much.

“Just go score,” Browning said. “You’re going to have to take a couple of chances here and there and go score. And I think drives like that you’ve got to be great in the pocket, too.”

Petersen had gone 2-0 in the Fiesta Bowl when he was at Boise State. But his Huskies defense just couldn’t stop PSU’s Trace McSorley on third down.

“We’ll look at the tape, but I think a lot of it was McSorley,” Petersen said. “He’s buying time, getting out of there. And when we did get a little pressure on him he stepped up nicely and took off and ran or bought time. I mean, that’s what I saw from the sideline. We’ll have to analyze it. But it’s nothing that we didn’t know going in. He’s a hard guy to handle. He’s a heck of a player.”

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