Friday, September 30, 2016

Purple Haze: No. 10 Washington rolls No. 7 Stanford 44-6

Jake Browning threw for 210 yards and three touchdowns, Myles Gaskin added 100 yards and two scores, and No. 10 Washington was dominant on both sides, overwhelming No. 7 Stanford 44-6 on Friday night.
After months of hype that Washington (5-0, 2-0 Pac-12) was on the verge of a breakout, the Huskies showed they were ready for their return to the national stage.
And they did it emphatically, handing Stanford (3-1, 2-1) its worst loss since a 41-3 setback against Arizona State in 2007.
The Huskies raced to a 23-0 halftime lead, scored early in the second half to go up 30-0 and coasted to their biggest victory over an AP Top 10 team since beating No. 5 Southern California 31-0 in 1990. That game 26 years ago announced Washington as a national contender and the Huskies went on to share the national title a year later with Miami - taking the coaches' version while Miami topped the AP media poll.
Browning was the leader of an efficient offense that scored on six of its eight drives. He threw touchdowns of 3 yards to Dante Pettis, 19 yards to John Ross and capped the night with a 3-yarder to Aaron Fuller with 5:30 remaining. Browning was 15 of 21 and did not commit a turnover.
Equally important was Washington's ability to establish a running game. The Huskies rushed for 214 yards and averaged 5.2 yards per carry.
Meanwhile, Stanford star Christian McCaffrey saw his Heisman Trophy aspirations hit a major speed bump. McCaffrey was held to 49 yards rushing on 12 carries, five catches for 30 yards and continued his streak of never scoring an offensive touchdown in a road game.
It was McCaffrey's fewest yards rushing since 2014 at California when he had 19 yards on three carries.
Stanford's only TD came late in the third quarter on a 19-yard pass from Ryan Burns to J.J. Arcega-Whiteside.
Burns was 15 of 22 for 151 yards, but Washington controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides. Stanford quarterbacks were sacked eight times, six in the first half. Stanford had allowed only four total sacks in the first three games combined.
Stanford was playing short-handed without starting cornerbacks Quenton Meeks and Alijah Holder, starting wide receiver Francis Owusu and starting fullback Daniel Marx. Starting right tackle Casey Tucker limped off with an apparent leg injury late in the fourth quarter.
TAKEAWAYS
Stanford: The Cardinal were unexpectedly sloppy. Stanford committed 11 penalties after entering the week as the least penalized team in the Pac-12. There were communication issues in part due to the roaring Washington crowd, but also a lack of sharpness not normally seen from David Shaw's team.
Washington: The defense was up to the task of keeping McCaffrey under control and forcing Burns to beat them through the air. McCaffrey had 34 yards on 10 carries in the first half and forced the Cardinal into numerous long third-down situations. That allowed Washington to bring extra pass rushers to get to Burns.
UP NEXT
Stanford: The Cardinal head home after two straight weeks on the road to host Washington State.
Washington: The Huskies travel to Oregon looking to snap a 12-game losing streak to the Ducks.

A.J. Green has big game as Bengals dominate Dolphins 22-7

For most of the game, A.J. Green piled up more yards than the entire Miami Dolphins offense in a virtuoso performance. As an encore, he thrilled the crowd by juggling some Florida citrus.
The Bengals receiver followed his disappointing game with a dominating one - 173 yards and a touchdown - and a Cincinnati defense that was inspired byVontaze Burfict's return clamped down on the Dolphins for a 22-7 victory Thursday night.
The Bengals (2-2) rebounded from a 29-17 home loss to Denver on Sunday with a solid all-around game against a depleted team.
Green led the way, beating the Dolphins (1-3) on every type of route . He was upset with himself after he dropped a pivotal third-down pass and failed to make an impact against the Broncos.
"I hold myself to a very high standard," said Green, who had 10 catches. "I know what I'm capable of. Last week I didn't perform to that level. I had to refocus on a short week."
During the first three quarters, Green had 166 yards on catches while Miami had 152 total yards. The Bengals' season-long problem of stalling out near the goal line forced them to settle for Mike Nugent's season-high five field goals.
Afterward, Green and Andy Dalton appeared on the postgame show, and the receiver entertained the dozens of Bengals fans who stayed around by smoothly juggling three oranges at the interview desk.
"Any time he was one-on-one, he was able to make the play," Dalton said.
The Dolphins were missing four starting offensive linemen, two linebackers, running back Arian Foster and tight end Jordan Cameron. They had one big play - Ryan Tannehill threw a 74-yard touchdown pass to Kenny Stills - but couldn't do anything else on offense.
"We've got to get it fixed and quick, and by that I mean Monday," Tannehill said. "We're kind of in a dark spot right now. It's squarely on our shoulders."
The Bengals' defense expected to get a lift from Burfict's return. The volatile linebacker was suspended by the NFL for the first three games because of his illegal hits. He got a loud ovation when he ran onto the field during introductions wearing a baseball cap. Burfict knocked down a pass and had three tackles.
"He's amazing," end Carlos Dunlap said. "Did you see the plays he made? Those aren't plays you can coach. He came off his couch and played great. It's good to have him back."
Mostly, it was Green's show. He caught a 51-yard pass off Dalton's scramble in the first half, and had a 43-yard catch that set up another field goal in the third quarter for a 19-7 lead.
REMEMBERING FERNANDEZ
A large fan banner in the upper deck at Paul Brown Stadium honored Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, who died with two friends in a boat crash early Sunday near Miami Beach. The banner read: "Jose 16 Heaven's Bright."
STILL CAN'T RUN
The Bengals rushed for 77 yards and only a 2.1-yard average against the second-worst run defense in the league, one missing two starting linebackers.
SLOPPY DOLPHINS
Miami had seven penalties for 68 yards. The most egregious was by Terrence Fede, who pushed Kevin Huber to the ground after he punted in the third quarter. The penalty gave Cincinnati the ball, and the Bengals got a field goal out of it.
INJURIES
Dolphins: LT Branden Albert and C Anthony Steen were inactive with sprained ankles. Also missing were LBs Koa Misi (neck) and Jelani Jenkins (groin). C Mike Pouncey has missed all four games with a hip injury.
Bengals: TE Tyler Eifert was inactive again, contributing to the Bengals' trouble close to the goal line. He's recovering from offseason ankle surgery and returned to practice on a limited basis last week. CB Dre Kirkpatrick was inactive with a hamstring injury suffered Sunday. G Clint Boling sat out most of the fourth quarter with an injured left shoulder.
ANTHEM STATEMENTS
Stills and Dolphins safety Michael Thomas knelt with their hands over their hearts during the anthem.
FANTASY IMPACT
Tannehill was 15 of 25 for 189 yards with a touchdown, an interception, a fumble and five sacks. Dalton was 22 of 31 for 296 yards with a touchdown and a sack.
UP NEXT
The Dolphins begin a stretch of four straight home games against Tennessee, Pittsburgh, Buffalo and the New York Jets.
The Bengals have a tough two-game stretch, playing Dallas and New England on the road. They're 1-5 in Dallas, dropping their last three. They've dropped their last six at New England, last winning in 1986.

Mahomes, Shimonek each throw for 4 TDs to beat Kansas 55-19

Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury will be "very comfortable" if his backup quarterback has to take over for the starter for a while.
Backup quarterback Nic Shimonek threw for four touchdowns and 271 yards to lead Texas Texas past Kansas 55-19 Thursday night in each team's Big 12 opener.
"He steps in and plays his tail off," the fourth-year coach said about Shimonek. "He threw some incredible passes."
Shimonek came in after starter Patrick Mahomes, who also threw for four TDs, got injured in the third quarter.
Mahomes, who threw for 277 yards and had one interception, left the game after a 32-yard run that ended with him going down hard on his right shoulder. After being checked briefly on the sideline, he tried to throw one pass before going into the locker room for further evaluation.
Mahomes "could be OK," Kingsbury said. Asked how he knew that, Kingsbury said jokingly, '"cause I didn't see the trainer jump off the side of the stadium."
"We got to get him looked at more extensively," he said.
The backup's teammates think highly of Shimonek's work ethic.
"He never complains," said defensive back Justis Nelson. "I never hear a bad word coming out of his mouth. He knows all the plays and we don't lose a beat whenever he comes in."
Shimonek threw TDs for 4, 37, 31 and 59 yards, while Mahomes' scoring strikes were for 14, 18, 17 and 6.
Jonathan Giles led Texas Tech (3-1) with 12 catches for 219 yards.
"There's a reason their offense is second in the country," Kansas coach David Beaty said. "Those dudes can score fast."
Giles continues to be Texas Tech's go-to guy.
"They tried to double him at times, but he found a way to get open and once he gets it, he can do stuff with it," Kingsbury said.
The defeat for Kansas (1-3) made it 40 straight losses in games away from Lawrence, Kansas.
"That score did not show how the game went," quarterback Ryan Willis said. "I mean, hats off to them, they played their butts off, but we need to bounce back again. Some nights you win, some nights you lose."
The Red Raiders have scored at least 50 points in nine straight home games.
Beaty switched between QBs Montell Cozart and Ryan Willis.
"I'm sure everybody has their idea of who should be playing quarterback for us," Beaty said. "But we're with them every day. I evaluate them every day. I see them every day. Our staff sees them every day. We make decisions based on what we see, not what we want."
THE TAKEAWAY
KANSAS: The Jayhawks took some time to get going against a defense that was giving up 531.3 yards per game coming into the contest. They punted on their first six possessions and didn't get a touchdown until late in the first half after QB Ryan Willis came in for starter Montell Cozart.
TEXAS TECH: The Red Raiders offensive line struggled and penalties erased big plays. An ineligible receiver call against Texas Tech negated a 31-yard reception by Derrick Willlies late in the first half. There were also two false start penalties, including one that nixed a 36-yard catch by Reginald Davis that would have given the Red Raiders the ball at the Jayhawks 1. "I don't think our O-line played very well, and it's something we've got to address," Kingsbury said.
UP NEXT
KANSAS: The Jayhawks play host to No. 21 TCU on Oct. 8.
TEXAS TECH: The Red Raiders travel to Kansas State on Oct. 8.

Ward has big game, No. 6 Houston beats UConn 42-14

 The sixth-ranked Houston Cougars were determined to take care of business this year after Connecticut detailed their perfect season a year ago.
Greg Ward Jr. made sure they did just that.
Ward Jr. threw for a career-high 389 yards and accounted for five touchdowns in just more than three quarters to help Houston beat Connecticut 42-14 on Thursday night.
Houston's only blemish last season came in the 20-17 loss to the Huskies when they were 10-0.
"We never use the word revenge," coach Tom Herman said. "The word we used was atonement - to make a wrong a right. We had a chance to atone for the transgressions of last year's team."
Ward didn't start that game because of an ankle injury, and there was a scary moment early in the second quarter when he took a hard hit in the midsection by Junior Joseph on a flea-flicker and had to leave the game.
But he missed just one play before returning and showed no ill effects from the blow, leading the Cougars (5-0, 2-0 American) on three more touchdown drives in the half to leave Houston up 28-7 at halftime.
Herman didn't think missing last year's game against UConn made this one more important to Ward.
"I think Ward's got a chip on his shoulder every week, I don't know that it was any bigger this week," Herman said. "I think the whole team had a juice and a pep in their step knowing what this opponent did to last year's team and they wanted to make sure it didn't happen again."
Ward and Joseph got in each other's faces after another hit by the linebacker on a touchdown throw by Ward later in the second quarter, and it earned Joseph an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
Joseph said the run-in was "totally my fault" before raving about the quarterback.
"He's probably the best player I played against," Joseph said. "He's very electric. That's why he's in the race for the Heisman. Just a great player."
Ward had touchdown runs of 30 and 10 yards and threw scoring passes of 3, 15 and 4 yards. He was replaced by Kyle Postma with 12 minutes remaining.
Ward doesn't like talking about himself and deflected questions about his big game.
"The stats, I don't think about that at all," he said. "The only stat that I worry about is win-loss."
Noel Thomas had a career-high 135 yards receiving and a touchdown for Connecticut (2-3, 0-2), and Bryant Shirreffs threw for 239 yards and ran for a TD.
"Losing is terrible," Bob Diaco said. "We obviously wanted to finish phase one of our season better than 2-3. A play here and a play there, and that would have been the case."
THE TAKEAWAY
CONNECTICUT: The Huskies didn't commit any turnovers after being plagued by them in recent weeks, but they were simply overmatched by the Cougars on both sides of the ball.
HOUSTON: The Cougars continued the dominance they've shown all season, having no trouble putting away the Huskies after last year's misstep. With Ward leading the offense and a swarming defense which finished with four sacks, it's hard to imagine that anyone has much of a chance to beat the Cougars before their Nov. 17 showdown with No. 3 Louisville.
POLL IMPLICATIONS
The Cougars should maintain their spot in the poll after cruising past an opponent they were expected to beat. But they could jump a spot or two if any of the teams above them lose on Saturday.
INJURY REPORT
The Cougars weren't slowed by playing without three starters on Thursday. Running back Duke Catalon missed the game with a concussion and linebackers Tyus Bowser and Matthew Adams both sat out after a fight on Wednesday during games meant for team building.
"The two got over competitive," Herman said. "Things briefly got out of hand during one of the games and resulted in a scuffle between Tyus and Matt ... it was a freak accident and the result of the scuffle was a broken bone for Tyus."
Bowser will be out for a few weeks with the head injury and Adams was suspended for Thursday's game but will return next week.
BONNER IMITATES IDOL
Linell Bonner had a highlight-reel play when he stretched out to grab a reception with one hand for a touchdown that pushed Houston's lead to 42-7 in the third quarter. He finished with 12 receptions for 159 yards - both career highs. The one-handed catch was reminiscent of some of the grabs DeAndre Hopkins often makes for the Houston Texans.
Bonner was asked if that catch was a Hopkins impression.
"That's my favorite NFL receiver right now. I really look up to him so I could say yeah," Bonner said before flashing a huge smile.
UP NEXT
CONNECTICUT: The Huskies host Cincinnati on Oct. 8.
HOUSTON: The Cougars visit Navy on Oct. 8.