BOULDER | The No. 7 Washington Huskies warmed up in the cold rain without their shirts , then went out and undressed the Colorado Buffaloes in a 37-10 rout Saturday night in a rematch of last year’s Pac-12 title game.
The Huskies collected a trio of interceptions, a blocked punt that led to a touchdown, a pick-6, five sacks, seven tackles for loss and a 202-yard, two-touchdown performance by running back Myles Gaskin.
“Anytime you get that many turnovers in a game, you’ve got a chance to do something special on offense,” said Huskies QB Jake Browning, who was just 11 for 21 for 160 yards. “We usually get all the stats and TDs but we played really well on defense and capitalized on some opportunities.”
Yet, the Buffs (3-1, 0-1) were still within a TD of the Huskies (4-0, 1-0) with three minutes left in the third quarter.
That’s when cornerback Myles Bryant’s 35-yard interception return for a touchdown made it a two-score game and ignited a 20-0 finish that sent much of the shivering crowd streaming for exits.
Jordan Miller had two interceptions, one in the end zone, as the Huskies overcame a slow start to finish with a rout reminiscent of last year’s 41-10 blowout of the Buffs in the conference championship.
Despite pointing to this rematch ever since, the Buffaloes made too many mistakes to close the gap, including several fumbled snaps and a too-early slide on third down by quarterback Steven Montez that led to a punt — which was blocked.
Colorado trailed 10-7 at halftime and was still within a touchdown late in the third quarter before the Buffs unraveled.
Washington would end up outscoring the Buffs 27-3 after the break, sparked by Quinten Pounds coming down with a 43-yard touchdown pass from Browning between two defenders.
“The guy made an unbelievable catch on the post route,” Colorado coach Mike MacIntyre said. “I still don’t know how he caught it. It was an unbelievable catch.”
Pounds said Huskies coach Chris Petersen “always says when the ball is in the air compete for it and go get it like it’s your last, so that’s pretty much what happened.”
Pounds never realized he was getting sandwiched by two defenders.
“No, all I saw was the ball,” he said. “That’s what I was focused on.”
James Stefanou barely cleared the crossbar from 49 yards out to pull Colorado to 17-10.
Montez then tried to hit Bryce Bobo on a slant but Bryant stepped in front and his 35-yard pick-6 gave Washington a 24-10 lead.
“You can’t have three turnovers and expect to win the game,” Montez said. “That’s on me, and I got to take that.”
The Huskies turned this one into another blowout with a 6-yard TD run from Salvon Ahmed and a 57-yard scoring scamper from Gaskin in the fourth quarter.
Miller had two first-half interceptions as the Huskies built a 10-7 lead. His first one led to the go-ahead field goal and his second one came in the end zone with a minute left in the second quarter.
The Huskies fell behind 7-0 when Colorado went 75 yards on its opening drive and capped it with Philip Lindsay’s 1-yard TD run .
TURNING POINT: Montez slid too early on a third-and-3 scramble, coming up a yard shy of the sticks and forcing a punt, which was blocked by Vita Vea and recovered by Levi Onwuzurike at the Colorado 12.
The game was tied at 7 four plays later when Gaskin scored from a yard out .
“I’ve got to try to run them over or make them miss or do something to get that first down,” Montez said.
ONLY BLEMISH: About the only things that didn’t go right for the Huskies were the kicks. Senior Tristan Vizcaino missed two short field goals and an extra point. He was wide right from 32 and 41 yards and missed the extra point wide left with a line drive following Gaskin’s long touchdown run.
INJURY UPDATE: The Huskies lost wide receiver Chico McClatcher to a left leg injury in the third quarter. McClatcher had four catches for 44 yards and a 15-yard run before being carried off the field.
MacIntyre’s son, Jay, was held out, and his father said after the game that he has a sprained foot that he hurt last week and doctors don’t think surgery is necessary.
WET WEATHER: The rainstorms produced bad field conditions that meant that Ralphie the Buffalo couldn’t do her traditional pregame run around Folsom Field. So, Chip the Mascot did the honors instead, drawing cheers as he rumbled from one end zone to the other with Ralphie’s regular handlers in tow.
The drizzle and 45-degree temperatures with a wind chill of 40 didn’t bother the Huskies’ “Big Skills” players — linemen, linebackers, tight ends — who warmed up shirtless.
“Yeah, we thought it was going to be a downpour all night and they kind of pride themselves on playing in that type of environment,” Petersen said. “Even though being from Seattle we really don’t play in it that much. Every time we get a chance to practice in it we’re excited.”
Washington: Visits Oregon State on Saturday for another night kickoff.
Colorado: Visits UCLA for their second straight night game Saturday.