Washington finds an explosive receiving threat in win over Utah State

Dwayne Washington caught five passes for 131 yards and two touchdowns on Saturday. Jennifer Nicholson/USA TODAY Sports

In beating Utah State, 31-17, Washington found some much-needed explosiveness in the passing game. It came courtesy of Dwayne Washington, the junior with a well-fitted name. The running back delivered big downfield, racking up 131 receiving yards and a pair of touchdowns on five catches, including an 81-yard score in the second quarter.

The Huskies' defense also did a good job containing Aggies' quarterback Chuckie Keeton, and that effort -- including a pair of takeaways -- allowed Washington to overcome an occasionally sloppy performance that included three turnovers of their own.

What this win means for Washington: The Huskies finish nonconference play with a winning record (2-1), and it should be fairly pleased about that. It's been an encouraging early run for this inexperienced team, especially considering the late fight the Huskies showed in the 16-13 loss at Boise State to start the season. Washington hosts Cal next week, and that'll be a huge measuring stick.

What this loss means for Utah State: The Aggies, who had fought valiantly in a loss the week prior at Utah, hoped that they could actually notch the upset against a young Washington squad. That didn't happen, so Utah State must now lick its wounds and head into conference play, where Colorado State awaits.

Player of the game: Washington. He burst onto the scene late last season as the Huskies' answer at running back, but he proved on Saturday that he can be a potential solution as more than one need. His explosiveness out of the backfield was truly impressive, and his versatility provides an excellent complement to maturing true freshman quarterback Jake Browning.

Stat of the game: Browning's final line. He registered his second consecutive gaudy statistical performance: 22-for-31, 368 yards and three touchdowns. The road becomes tougher since conference play is next, but Browning's assortment of pretty passes the past two weeks -- he made an excellent throw from the near-side hash mark to the far sideline 30 yards downfield today -- have surely built some confidence.