By JOHN SLEEPER
SEATTLE — From the start, Washington’s game plan was apparent.
Size matters. Run the ball. Brutalize a small but quick Oregon State defense.
In the first half of Washington’s 33-30 victory over the Beavers Saturday night at Husky Stadium, the Huskies’ new-found ground game finally took hold. Washington’s offensive line used its 30-pound-a-man advantage up front, which allowed the Huskies to get back to its smashmouth roots and dared the Beavers to stop it.
It was a direct contrast to the weak, 111-yard effort a week prior against Oregon.
With 215-pound freshman Rich Alexis seeing his first extended action of the season, the Huskies rolled up 21 first downs, 196 rushing yards and 341 total yards.
And that was only in the first half, when the Huskies controlled the ball for 19:53 to OSU’s 10:07.
And it was against a defense that yielded an average of just 58.5 rushing yards a game, including 63 yards to formerly run-happy USC.
While the game was still competitive in the first half Alexis led the way. Elevated to second-team tailback just this week to give the Huskies a greater contrast to the fleet Paul Arnold, Alexis ran for 87 yards on seven carries, including runs of 23 yards the first two times he touched the ball.
Arnold, criticized earlier in the season for being tentative, was anything but, especially by intermission. Most of his nine carries for 47 yards in the first half came on the Huskies’ opening drive, when they communicated to the Beavers that this was the way it was going to be.
It recalled last week against Oregon, when Washington’s average drive started at the 17, a circumstance that greatly inhibited Washington’s play-calling.
The Huskies started their next drive on their own 15 following a sloppily-blocked kickoff return by Derrick Johnson. They scored a touchdown, however, on that drive.
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