PROVO, Utah – There was no dramatic finish for BYU today.
After back-to-back overtime thrillers, the Cougars got run over by #22 Washington at LaVell Edwards Stadium Saturday afternoon, 45-19.
The Huskies forced three BYU turnovers and scored a pair of touchdowns off those defensive plays to hand the Cougars a humbling defeat one week after a 30-27 overtime victory over USC.
“Way too many mistakes in all three phases for us to have a chance against a great team like that,” said BYU head coach Kalani Sitake. “It doesn’t work out that way, so as much as we tried to gain momentum, it seemed like Washington had an answer or we did some things that really didn’t help ourselves.”
Washington quarterback Jacob Eason picked apart the BYU defense, completing 24 of 28 passes for 290 yards and three touchdowns, while Brandon Wellington returned a fumble 69 yards for a touchdown, as the Huskies built a 21-3 first quarter lead.
“We got people that are going to show up and work and we’re going to execute when we’re out there,” Wellington said. “Sometimes, it’s not going to be pretty but we’re going to figure out a way to get it done.”
Eason found a way to get it done on offense. Eason threw for 290 yards and three touchdowns while completing 24 of 28 pass attempts. The Huskies (3-1) totaled 477 yards on offense behind his efficient performance.
Aaron Fuller, Eason’s top target, tallied 91 yards on eight catches. Fuller had one touchdown catch and returned a punt 88 yards for another score.
Eason put together his second straight 200-yard passing game. Washington has won all three games this season in which he has passed for at least 200 yards.
“We knew we were coming in to play against a good quarterback,” said BYU safety Dayan Ghanwoloku. “Our scheme worked against USC and it was working against Washington, but we just had some missed assignments. If everyone is not on the same page, our scheme doesn’t work that way.”
Zach Wilson threw for 277 yards and a touchdown on 26 of 42 passing to lead BYU. It wasn’t nearly enough to help the Cougars (2-2) prevent the Huskies from dominating in all three phases of the game.
Three BYU drives ended with turnovers. Two others ended in failed fourth down conversions.
“They put us in a really tough spot,” Sitake said. “They got ahead of us, and whenever we tried to gain momentum, they were able to stop it.”
“They’re a good team, they’re really good,” said BYU tight end Matt Bushman, who had 6 catches for 89 yards and his first touchdown of the season. “But I think our mistakes made them look a lot better. They’re returning Pac-12 champs and they’re going to be a really good team this season, but our mistakes just made them look like world beaters.”
Washington took control behind a productive first quarter from Eason. He threw for 99 yards and a pair of touchdowns, while completing 90% of his pass attempts during the quarter. Eason capped each of his team’s two drives with a 17-yard TD pass — one to Richard Newton, the other to Fuller — to put the Huskies up 14-3.
Following Lopini Katoa’s 48-yard return to midfield, BYU marched down to the Washington 20 on its second drive. It ended when Wilson coughed up a costly fumble on a sack. Wellington scooped up the loose ball and returned it 69 yards to extend the Huskies’ lead to 21-3 late in the first quarter.
The Cougars’ offense found some life in the second quarter. Emmanuel Esukpa punched in a 1-yard run and Jake Oldroyd made a career-long 54 yard field goal just before halftime to cut Washington’s lead to 24-12. Oldroyd’s field goal was the first from 50 or more yards for BYU since 2006.
Everything unraveled for BYU after halftime.
Andre Baccellia slipped free of a tackle and caught a 35-yard TD pass from Eason, and Fuller returned a BYU punt 88 yards to give Washington a 38-12 lead with 10:37 remaining in the third quarter. Trent McDuffie forced and then recovered a fumble from Dax Milne at the Huskies 48 to set up Baccellia’s touchdown.
“We just have a bad taste in our mouth right now,” Esukpa said. “We gave them the ball too many times and gave them too many chances to do things on their end. We’ve just got to watch film, learn from it and move on.”
Washington outscored the Cougars 21-7 in the third quarter after struggling in that quarter during each of the team’s previous two games.
BYU running back Ty’Son Williams did not play in the second half after suffering an apparent knee injury late in the second quarter. The injury occurred after he caught a 16-yard pass for a first down at the Washington 31.
Williams finished with 28 yards on six carries and 17 yards on two receptions. With the senior on the sidelines for the final two quarters, BYU mustered just 79 total rushing yards and averaged 2.9 yards per carry.
“He’s a workhorse, he just runs so hard. He wants us to succeed. That one hurt,” Bushman said.
BYU had no immediate update on the severity of Williams’ injury or how much time he’s expected to miss.
“When Ty’Son goes down, Esukpa needs to step up as well as Lopini [Katoa],” Sitake said. “That’s in a lot of different positions. We have some guys that are banged up, and we’re going to have to dip into our depth a little bit more.”
BYU next plays at Toledo September 28th at 10:00 a.m.