The blindsided hit came late, and it came hard.
Washington quarterback Jake Browning faked an option pitch on a fourth-and-one play and, surprising just about everyone at Husky Stadium, tucked the ball to his belly and cut up the middle of the field 21 yards into the end zone. Touchdown, Washington.
Then, as he was 2 yards into the end zone, Browning took the late hit from California safety Ashtyn Davis, who was flagged for a personal foul. Browning, in a rare display of emotion, quickly got to his feet and screamed in celebration, no harm done.
Beyond that hit, the Bears (3-3, 0-3 Pac-12) didn't do much damage in the No. 6 Huskies' 38-7 win Saturday night. The Huskies (6-0, 3-0) remained undefeated and will likely move into the top five of the national rankings Sunday following No. 3 Oklahoma's defeat at home against Iowa State.
Cal's offense, in particular, did virtually nothing against the Huskies' defense. The UW defense didn't allow Cal a point all night. The Bears' only score came on a fumble return late in the third quarter, after the Huskies had a built a 31-0 lead.
California's offense, led by Ross Bowers, didn't enter UW territory until there was a second left in the first half – and the Bears got there only because of a UW penalty.
At halftime, with Huskies leading 24-0, Cal had managed 46 yards of offense on 24 plays. Bowers was sacked four times in the first half, and had a net of minus-19 yards rushing on 10 carries.
Washington safeties Taylor Rapp and Jojo McIntosh also combined on a forced fumble in the first half.
Freshman tight end Hunter Bryant finished with nine catches for 121 yards and his first career touchdown reception – a brilliant catch on the right side of the end zone in which he reached over a Cal defensive back to steal the ball away from what appeared to be a sure interception.
That successfully ended UW's first possession of the night, an 11-play, 64-yard drive.
Redshirt freshman kicker Van Sodeberg, replacing struggling senior Tristan Vizcaino, converted his first field-goal attempt, from 23 yards, to give UW a 10-0 lead.
Browning then scored his 21-yard rushing touchdown, the first time UW has used a sprint option with their star quarterback and star running back, Myles Gaskin. It worked to perfection.
Gaskin scored from 8 yards out later in the second quarter to push the lead to 24-0.
In the third quarter, Browning used a play-action fake and threw a 2-yard TD pass to defensive end Jusstis Warren, who had lined up as a fullback on the play.
Darrius Allensworth then returned a Dante Pettis fumble 37 yards for Cal's only score.
Gaskin followed with his second rushing touchdown of the game, from 7 yards out. That gave Gaskin 32 career rushing TDs, tying him with Joe Steele for third place on the Huskies' career list.
Earlier in the game, Gaskin passed Steele to move into fourth place on the school's career rushing list. Gaskin finished the game with 24 carries for 91 yards and two touchdowns.