Huskies notebook: Defense dominates Portland St. in win

SEATTLE — The University of Washington defense continued its dominating ways in Saturday’s 41-3 rout of Portland State at Husky Stadium.

The first-half numbers were telling. Washington held the Vikings to just 79 yards in the first two quarters, including minus-3 yardsof rushing. By the end of the game PSU had 34 rushing yards and 182 total yards, but the visitors also lost three fumbles and an interception. The leading ground gainer was running back Nate Tago with 20 yards on 12 carries.

“I thought our defense did a great job, creating turnovers and really holding those guys (on the ground) like we did,” said UW head coach Chris Petersen.

It is important to note that sack yardage in college football counts as negative rushing yardage, unlike the NFL where it is subtracted from a team’s passing yardage. Washington sacked Portland State quarterback Alex Kuresa four times for -22 yards, and he had -20 in other carries.

Portland State coach Bruce Barnum was impressed. “That was a good defense,” he said. “Those guys are cats pounding on my guys.”

Through three non-league games Washington’s defense has gained some “pretty big momentum,” said cornerback Sidney Jones. “Those are our expectations to do our best and keep (opponents) to scoring the least amount of points as possible. (Now we) just want to keep that energy flowing through the Pac-12 (schedule).”

Almost had it

Washington used safety Budda Baker on offense for a few plays against PSU as a receiver. In the second quarter Baker was the intended receiver in the left flat, but the ball came off his hands and fell incomplete. Baker left the field shaking his head in disappointment at the missed opportunity.

“(The defender) got a little bit of (the ball), but I should’ve caught it,” he said.

Moments later UW quarterback Jake Browning tried to connect with Baker on a deep route, but the pass was well overthrown, possibly because Baker was not where he was supposed to be. “I ran (downfield), and then when I went to break (the defender) got hands on me,” he explained.

No returns for UW

Portland State went out of its way not to kick the ball to John Ross and Dante Pettis, Washington’s explosive tandem of returners. Ross had one return on a short kick for 10 yards, and no UW punt returner got a chance to run back a kick as the Vikings kept kicking the ball out of bounds.

“We weren’t going to kick to those guys,” Barnum said. “We had sky kicks (on kickoffs) and we punted the ball out of bounds. I’m not letting those guys touch it.”

Joyner sits again

Backup cornerback Austin Joyner, a Marysville Pilchuck High School product, was in again in street clothes on the UW sideline. He left the Rutgers game on Sept. 3 with a concussion and sat out last week’s game against Idaho. His status for next Saturday’s game at Arizona is unknown.

Familiar face

Randin Crecelius, a 6-5, 296-pound junior from Lake Stevens, started at offensive tackle for the Vikings. He played most of the game.

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