BERKELEY, Calif. – There was chaos during the week, chaos elsewhere earlier in the day, and chaos early in the Washington Huskies’ game at California late Saturday night.
That’s college football in November.
Those that manage all that chaos – and the emotions that come with it – will have a chance to survive into December. And that, in a nutshell, was Chris Petersen’s message after his Huskies were curiously placed at No. 5 in the College Football Playoff committee’s first rankings of the season last week.
“This thing,” Petersen said Thursday, “is all going to work out how it’s supposed to if we can take care of business, which is one week at a time. Which is worrying about Cal.”
Browning threw three touchdowns each to John Ross III and Dante Pettis to break the school record for TD passes in a season, and fourth-ranked Washington steamrolled the Bears, 66-27, at Memorial Stadium.
Ross had his best game of the season, hauling in four catches for 164 yards and three touchdowns in the first half alone against California, helping the Huskies take a 35-20 halftime lead.
Browning threw four touchdown passes in the first half and added his fifth to Dante Pettis on the first drive of the third quarter, extending UW’s lead to 42-20.
Ross had six catches for a career-high 208 yards and touchdown receptions of 60, 67 and 6 yards. His second TD catch was the Huskies’ highlight of the year, as he slowed up catch an underthrown ball, ducked under one attempted tackled, cut back and zoomed far to the left behind a Pettis block to score.
Pettis had eight catches for 104 yards and three TDs and also threw a 39-yard trick-play touchdown to tight end Darrell Daniels in the third quarter – one of UW’s school-record seven TD passes on the day.
Browning finished 19 for 28 for 378 yards with six touchdowns and no turnovers as the Huskies (6-0 Pac-12) improved 9-0 for the first time since 1991.
Washington has won 12 in a row overall and remains in hunt for its first College Football playoff berth.
Texas A&M (7-2), ranked one spot ahead of the Huskies in the CFP rankings, lost earlier Saturday, which could open the door for UW to move into top four of those rankings on Tuesday.
And even if they jump up this week, the Huskies will have a chance to impress the CFP committee against a surging USC team at Husky Stadium next Saturday.
“There’s a lot of football left to be played. What else is there to say?” Petersen said Thursday. “And I’m not even talking about everybody else. I’m talking about ourselves. There’s just a lot of football left. How much happens in November? Everything. They get that and let’s just go play in November.”
November could not have started much better for the Huskies.
Sidney Jones intercepted Cal quarterback Davis Webb twice in the third quarter and Ben Burr-Kirven added another one later in the third. Webb had entered the week leading all Power Five conference quarterbacks with 29 touchdown passes (one more than Browning).
The Bears (4-5, 2-4) kept things close early, pulling within 21-20 midway through the second quarter on Webb’s 14-yard TD pass to Chad Hansen.
The Huskies then scored the next 38 points to take a 59-20 lead early in the fourth quarter.