3. QB Jake Browning
Held to 139 yards on 17-for-30 passing without a touchdown or interception against the Sun Devils, Washington quarterback Jake Browning obviously wasn’t a game-changing presence Saturday. Nevertheless, he previously guided the Huskies to five straight 30-point games and led the Huskies to an average winning margin of 32.8 points per game before the slip up in Tempe.
If Browning steps up and puts the Huskies on his shoulders, he can guide them back to the playoff – but it won’t be easy. Browning lost his most dynamic playmaker from 2016 (first-rounder John Ross), and playmaker Chico McClatcher went down with a broken ankle after catching just 10 passes for 128 yards in four games. To make matters worse, Browning’s All-Conference left tackle suffered a torn right ACL in the loss to Arizona State, and like McClatcher, will be sidelined for the rest of the season.
Nevertheless, Browning has posted solid numbers this year. The 6-foot-2, 210-pound junior leads qualified Pac-12 QBs with a 154.7 rating, having completed 68.5 percent of his passes for 1,605 yards and 14 touchdowns with just three interceptions. Browning also still has weapons at his disposal, including Dante Pettis, who leads the team with 44 receptions, 472 receiving yards and six TDs (including a team-high 72-yarder) and Hunter Bryant, who ranks second on the squad with 21 catches and 314 yards, as well as a TD. Plus, a series of blowouts has helped the receiving unit gain experience as eight different receivers have caught at least eight passes.
And, let’s not forget the good work running back Myles Gaskin does. In addition to the 626 rushing yards and six touchdowns Gaskin has gained on the ground (while averaging 6.0 yards per carry), he also ranks second on the team with two TD grabs among 11 receptions, which have totaled 109 yards.
As one of the most talented signal callers in the Pac-12, Browning can overcome the struggles that plagued Washington against the Sun Devils. He should make the Huskies potent offensively for a second-half title run.