Rough count, Jake Browning has handed the ball off to Myles Gaskin 835 times in their 47 games together the past four seasons. And for just about every one of those plays Kaleb McGary was blocking at right tackle.
Already the most productive backfield in the history of Washington football, Browning and Gaskin headline a transcendent senior class that has a chance over the next six weeks to become the most successful class the Huskies have ever had.
Together, the 22 seniors to be recognized before their final game at Husky Stadium on Saturday have won 36 games, including a Pac-12 championship and earned the program’s first College Football Playoff berth.
That’s three victories shy of the UW record, shared by the graduating classes from 1992 and 1984 (both of which went 39-9 over a four-year period).
Browning, Gaskin and McGary — all four-year starters — have been the backbone of the offense since 2015. Browning and McGary will play in their 49th career game Saturday against Oregon State at 1:30 p.m., and Gaskin his 48th.
“All that is really rare,” UW coach Chris Petersen said Thursday. “Those are difficult positions, and we’ve been really lucky and blessed to have those guys for this time, to keep them as healthy as they’ve stayed, and to keep them as grounded and as focused as they’ve stayed.
“I don’t know if that will ever happen again in my time, to have guys like that all at the same time, and I really appreciate it.”
McGary, out of Fife High School, was one of the top recruits to sign in Petersen’s first UW class in 2014, which also featured current fifth-year seniors Greg Gaines, JoJo McIntosh, Jaylen Johnson, Shane Bowman and Drew Sample, among others.
Browning and Gaskin were part of the 2015 recruiting class, which also included current senior starters Ben Burr-Kirven, Tevis Bartlett and Jordan Miller (plus injured left tackle Trey Adams).
For as good as the senior class has been on the field, Petersen said he appreciates just as much the way the group helped establish Petersen’s expectations early in his tenure on Montlake.
“It always comes out of the locker room. I could sit up there and say whatever I want; if the locker room isn’t living it, breathing it, doing it, it means nothing,” Petersen said. “I might be more proud of them for that, establishing how we want to do things around here, let alone how they played.”
Earlier this season, Browning and Gaskin achieved major milestones.
Browning became the Huskies’ all-time leading passer — now with 11,347 yards, sixth-most in Pac-12 history, and 91 touchdowns. And Gaskin became the Huskies’ all-time rushing leader — now with 4,826 yards and 51 touchdowns, both fifth-most in conference history.
In the Huskies’ victory over Stanford on Nov. 3, Browning led the Huskies to the 36th victory of his career, tying the most wins by a QB in Pac-12 history. He said this final game at Husky Stadium sneaked up on him.
“Hopefully we’ll be able to end the run at Husky Stadium with a win,” he said. “It’s been awhile, but I don’t think it’s really sunk in that it’s my last game here.”
Browning and Gaskin often talk about the close friendship they’ve developed the past four seasons.
“I didn’t know what to expect coming here,” Gaskin said. “I think the biggest shock was how much of a family this team is. … As much as I’ve grown as a dude, I’ve seen Jake grow and he’s helped me grow.”
SENIOR CLASS SUCCESS
Since 1950, the winningest four-year stretches in UW history:
1989-92 — 39 wins, 9 losses
1981-84 — 39 wins, 9 losses
2015-18 — 36 wins, 14 losses
1977-80 — 36 wins, 11 losses
UW, MICHIGAN STATE SCHEDULE HOME-AND-HOME SERIES
The Washington Huskies have scheduled another home-and-home series with a Big Ten team, as UW announced on Thursday dates to play Michigan State a decade from now.
The Spartans will come to Seattle for a game Husky Stadium in 2028, and the Huskies will make the return trip to East Lansing in 2031.