Washington-Cal grades: Huskies driven by defense, Browning in blowout win

The biggest takeaways and highest-graded players from Washington's win over the California Golden Bears.

| 8 months ago
(Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

(Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

Washington-Cal grades: Huskies driven by defense, Browning in blowout win

Washington Huskies 66, California Golden Bears 27

Here are the biggest takeaways and highest-graded players from the Washington Huskies’ 66-27 win over the California Golden Bears in Week 10:

Washington Huskies

Quarterback grade: Jake Browning, 79.3

Jake Browning throws six touchdowns as Huskies cruise past Cal

Jake Browning and the Huskies sure made a great case to move up in the College Football Playoff rankings after he had an excellent performance and picked apart the Cal defense. His offensive line kept him clean much of the night, as he was only pressured on seven of his 34 dropbacks. He thrived when given time, completing 16 of 24 passes for 334 yards and five touchdowns, with John Ross and Dante Pettis catching a combined six touchdowns. On intermediate and deep passes, Browning finished 9-for-15 for 263 yards, as the Cal defense was outmatched by the speed of Washington’s receivers.

Top offensive grades:

WR John Ross, 82.5

WR Dante Pettis, 80.4

C Coleman Shelton, 79.8

G Nick Harris, 79.3

T Trey Adams, 78.4

Ross and Pettis combine for six touchdown catches

Wideouts John Ross and Dante Pettis exploited the Cal secondary countless times and totaled 14 catches for 312 yards on 19 targets. Ross had a spectacular touchdown in the first half on which he caught a deep pass from Browning and then proceeded to make three Cal defenders look silly trying to tackle him on his way to a 67-yard touchdown. (Check out Ross’ season stats below.) The offensive line did a great job all night of keeping a clean pocket and opening running lanes, as the Huskies rushed for 299 yards to go along with their 417 passing yards. Top-graded run-blockers were Nick Harris and Trey Adams at 80.1 and 77.8, respectively, while Adams was also second in pass protection at 76.2, behind only T Kaleb McGary, who graded a 79.7.


Top defensive grades:

CB Sidney Jones, 91.0

CB Kevin King, 85.3

DI Elijah Qualls, 83.2

LB Keishawn Bierria, 78.6

DI Vita Vea, 77.8

Huskies’ corners limit big plays on way to dominant performance

Perhaps the most impressive performers in this game were Washington’s cornerbacks, particularly Sidney Jones. He was targeted often (as he was a week ago against Utah), with Cal sending 13 passes his way. He yielded a 4.5 quarterback rating when thrown in his direction, allowing four catches for 51 yards, while also recording two interceptions and a pass defensed. He was glued to Cal WR Chad Hansen most of the night, whom they targeted 10 times, and Jones only gave up three catches for 43 yards against him — basically taking a key component of Cal’s passing game completely out of the equation. Interior defensive linemen Elijah Qualls and Vita Vea continually disrupted Cal’s run game and made their presence felt rushing the passer, combining to force five quarterback hurries and three hits.

California Golden Bears

Quarterback grade: Davis Webb, 54.0

It was not a pleasant night for Davis Webb, as he was pressured on 15 of his 47 dropbacks, which is a relatively high number considering he typically likes to get the ball out in 2.5 seconds or less in the uptempo Cal offense. On plays with no pressure, he was 19-for-32 and averaged 7.0 yards per attempt, resulting in a very pedestrian 78.3 NFL quarterback rating. Under pressure is when he had his inaccuracies and struggles, finishing 3-for-14 for 30 yards and two interceptions — and a can’t-get-any-worse 0.0 passer rating.


Top offensive players:

T Steven Moore, 73.4

WR Chad Hansen, 69.5

T Aaron Cochran, 69.1

RB Khalfani Muhammad, 65.9

RB Tre Watson, 63.3

Cal offense unable to get into a rhythm

The Cal offense struggled sustain drives, as they were 1-for-14 in third-down conversions — any time you’re under 33 percent on third down as an offense, that spells bad news. Their rushing attack has been productive when they can utilize it, but falling behind big against Washington, it was quickly abandoned. They ended with 110 yards on 27 carries and were only able to force two missed tackles on the night. Washington’s secondary did a great job keeping the receivers at bay, as Chad Hansen and Demetris Robertson were targeted a combined 19 times but caught just nine for 154 yards.

Top defensive players:

DI James Looney, 82.0

LB Raymond Davison, 77

ED Cameron Saffle, 76.3

CB Cameron Walker, 68.1

S Khari Vanderbilt, 51.1

California defense outmatched in all facets

It has been a struggle all year for the Cal defense, and that was on display again in the 66-27 loss. They surrendered 704 yards, 417 coming through the air and 287 coming by way of the ground. Perhaps the lone bright spot was James Looney, as he was defeating blocks throughout the game and recorded two quarterback hurries and a sack, he finished with a grade of 80.5 against the run and 81.6 rushing the passer. CB Chibuzo Nwokocha had a difficult time against the speedy John Ross and other Huskies pass-catchers, surrendering six catches for 172 yards and three touchdowns.

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