BY Art Thiel 06:14PM 08/31/2019

Thiel: Huskies’ Eason delivers via the heavens

Hard to believe, but QB Jason Eason lived up to the hype, leading Washington to an easy 47-14 win over Eastern. He even proved adept at taking hits.

Against Eastern Washington, Jacob Eason was everything he was hyped to be. / Drew McKenzie, Sportspress Northwest

As the waterfall of oohs and aahs washes over the latest Huskies football hero, QB Jacob Eason, it is important to note, before his legend swells beyond recognition, that the most impressive pass he threw fell incomplete.

In Saturday’s 47-14 walk-over (box) of Eastern Washington at Husky Stadium  — the Big Sky Conference foe that University of Washington coach Chris Petersen tried in vain to hype into Notre Dame — Eason in the second quarter had to corral a bad snap in shotgun formation. At the UW 35-yard line, he stepped to his right for a clear view of WR Aaron Fuller streaking down the sideline, beating single coverage.

Then Eason launched, with smoke and fire reminiscent of a Saturn V Apollo rocket.

Fuller takes the description from here.

“I swear to you it came from heaven,” he said, smiling. “It was a nine-ball he threw from the 35 to the goal line.  I just saw it go into the clouds and come down.

“It was off a bad snap too. I don’t know how he did it. But he did it with ease.”

Lamentably, Fuller’s human legs were no match for the weapon of the superhero.

“At first, I slowed down because I saw the bad snap,” Fuller said. “When I saw him throw it, I tried as hard as I could to get there. He put it OUT there.”

Eason put a lot out there — 27 completions in 36 attempts for 349 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions — in what was as distinguished a debut for a Huskies quarterback in memory. It should have been, because he’s a junior who started as a freshman for Georgia in the Southeastern Conference.

Still, you never know.

The foe was, after all, Eastern, which twice scared the bejeezus out of the Huskies, who scraped out wins in 2011 (30-27) and 2014 (59-52) against the supposedly little guys from Cheney. And Eason, the one-time national prep player of the year from Lake Stevens, had to live up to the scrutiny of the hometown fans predisposed to expect the next John Elway (who, by the way, was born in Port Angeles).

“I’m a little older, I have more experience, and I saw (the UW home opener) last year, even though I didn’t get to play in it. Just tried to do my part,” Eason said. “I don’t like to make comparisons, here or there. Obviously, being home, being in front of my family in my home state, it was awesome,  to get out there and do what I do.”

Which he hadn’t done in nearly two years, thanks to a first-game injury that mostly wiped out his sophomore season with the Bulldogs. After transferring to UW, he had to sit out last season, which meant he really hadn’t been clobbered by an opponent practically since childhood.

An Eastern linebacker helped with that oversight, delivering a clean hit to Eason’s chest after releasing a pass, leaving the 6-6, 230-pounder flat on his back.

“I felt that one a little bit,” he said. Petersen sounded almost gleeful.

“He got out of the pocket one time, and I think he got hit and knocked down,” he said. “That was good to have him feel that and come out clean.”

Also clean were the first three UW possessions, all of which resulted in touchdowns that bordered on the spectacular.

The first one was from a wildcat formation that featured a direct snap to unheralded RB Richard Newton, a redshirt freshman from California, who blasted straight ahead through the surprised Eagles defense for 23 yards, while Eason lined up as slot receiver.

The second was what many in 30,000-some crowd came to see — an Eason rainbow that traveled 50 yards to wide-open WR Andre Bacellia, who casually gathered it at the 5-yard line and sashayed to a score.

“Eason went to his second option on that play,” Petersen said. “We had good play-action.  Jacob threw a good ball. I think Hunter Bryant was  also open.

“It is nice to see the ball flying down the field.”

Petersen would never say so, but that last remark was an obvious reference to the previous QB, Jake Browning, whose lack of a power arm was the Huskies’ biggest offensive impediment in 2018.

The third score was an ESPN Top 10 Plays entry: On third-and-goal from the 7-yard line, a fade route forced Fuller to twist around his body to spear the ball one-handed against good coverage, while managing avert the end-zone sideline by a millimeter or so.

“To be honest, Pete doesn’t like us doing (one-handed catches),” Fuller said. “It’s more if a meeting-type thing (when it’s practiced). Everything clicked on that play and J put it in a great spot.”

The hidden part of the play was a well-executed hard count by Eason that drew Eastern offsides, which would have resulted in a free play. But the refs whiffed on calling a penalty, meaning the catch needed to be made or the drive would have ended with a field goal attempt.

“We practiced that hard count all week,” Fuller said. “If I had dropped it, it would have been bad.”

It would have been one of the few misfires in a remarkably clean opener for Washington. All Fuller has to do run a little faster to keep up with the fallout from the heavens.


YourThoughts

  • 1coolguy

    Not to pat myself on the back too many times, BUT I have written here and elsewhere we would all be saying “Jake who?” by halftime – WAS I WRONG??? Ha! The fans were lulled into mediocrity by Browning’s big numbers, and this game shows how far CP lowered the bar for his adopted son (what other excuse could there be?). Can you imagine what the scores in the bowl games would have been with a QB with an ARM playing for the Huskies? Eason is a serious difference maker and the future looks bright with this guy. He is a man among boys!

    • Husky73

      I cannot understand the hostility so many folks (like you) show to Jake Browning. JB is a great young man, tremendously studious and a hard worker, a record setting QB whose stats may never be matched, beloved by teammates and coaches, who led the Huskies to 39 wins, two Pac 12 championships, four Apple Cups and defeated Oregon twice. Yet, he was continually maligned, especially in his senior year (10 more wins), and now people openly root against his quest to play professionally. I do not see the same hostility shown to Myles Gaskin, also a record breaking, four year starter. I suppose some of it is envy, a good deal of it is ignorance and some is simply snarkiness from behind a computer and from the deep recesses of the couch that goes with the age of social media.

      • art thiel

        Estimations of Browning’s career forever will be divided into these two camps. I tend to side with the notion that slack should be granted to college kids who should not be held to the standards of pro-level accountability.

      • ll9956

        Speaking of Browning, I note that he was waived by the Vikings. I wonder what’s next for Jake.

        • Husky73

          He was re-signed by the Vikings.

          • art thiel

            Practice squad.

      • 1coolguy

        As to his personal attributes they are beyond reproach, agreed. As to this stats, they had more to do with the team and his playing 4 years than his athletic skills. That he was not drafted says it all.
        Concerning how bogus your stats comments are, Damon Huard threw 28 TD’s and 14 INT’s in his Husky career, yet played 12 years in the NFL.
        I hope the best for Browning, yet with Eason we see a rare talent who raises the QB position to a much, much higher level.

        • art thiel

          My issue is the derision that often accompanies legit critiques of Browning’s performance. College athletes are exploited enough.

        • Husky73

          1cool…Speaking of bogus, you make my point. Judge Browning on his career at the UW, not on his career (or not) in the NFL. Damon threw for 28 TD’s, Browning threw for 94. Damon threw for 5,692 yards. Browning threw for 12,296. See the difference?

    • art thiel

      There have been so many Jakes, you need to be more specific.

      • Husky73

        Forget it Jake, it’s Chinatown.

        • art thiel

          Ida: Are you alone?
          Jake: Isn’t everybody?

    • Effzee

      This post is gross.

      • Archangelo Spumoni

        Get used to grossness. A certain visitor here specializes, delights, and rolls around in it.

  • Husky73

    “30,000 some?”……Official attendance was 65,709. I realize that’s tickets sold, but…..?

    • art thiel

      Were you there? Absent students and others doing the holiday, the place was half empty.

      • Husky73

        It’s rare anymore that I leave Whatcom County. Only for big Husky games, and a Tommy Milone start.

        • art thiel

          So you have to trust me, right?

  • DB

    Good coverage of Eason’s debut, Art. 27/36 for 349 with 4 TD’s and no picks is definitely impressive. Across the state in Pullman there was another new QB getting his first start. In that one, Anthony Gordon was 29/35 for 420 with 5 TD’s and no picks. -In just over 3 quarters. -With 15 completions in a row to start.
    Despite the fireworks from Gordon, I found myself puzzling over the NM State logo on their helmets that depicts is a guy brandishing 2 handguns.! Surely, with all the gun violence and political correctness in our country this sort of logo would have long ago been banished, I thought. But no! In fact, this representation of gunfighter Frank ‘Pistol Pete’ Eaton (close, huh?) is identical to the one used by Oklahoma State.

    • art thiel

      Good point about the logos, which I didn’t see. I’m guessing the same sorts of folks who complained about the retirement of the Confederate flag as a sports logo will defend the gun love.

      • tor5

        I’d vote for a new logo, but think the confederate flag analogy is a stretch. Ironically, Frank “Pistol Pete” Eaton was inspired to fight _against_ former confederates (per Wikipedia). I’m just saying, let’s keep it in perspective. A cowboy and a few revolvers isn’t “gun love,” and the confederate flag is a whole other level of symbolism.

    • 1coolguy

      Only in over-PC Seattle. Jeeesh

    • wabubba67

      At Richland HS, we have the Bombers who are represented by a mushroom cloud.

      • Kristafarian

        But if you nuke your opponents
        won’t you catch a little fallout, too?

        Oh — Pocket Nukes™!
        Perfect.

  • ll9956

    I saw the Oregon-Auburn game, since it was a freebee. The Ducks’ offense was aggressive and fast-paced throughout. They were ahead the entire game, but got beat in the last half minute after their defense seemed to get worn out. Regardless, the Dawgs will have their hands full when it comes time to face the Ducks.

    • art thiel

      Not a surprise that the Ducks are good, right? Pac-12 needs to quit booking SEC teams on the road.

      • 1coolguy

        The Oregon receiver, alone in the end zone, had a perfectly thrown pass go through his hands and hit his should pad, ugh. It turned out to be the deciding pay of the game.
        Then there was the Oregon fumble inside Auburn’s 10 that was returned to the 5 and they kicked a field goal. Oregon (as much as I despise the Ducks) blew this game.
        Of course, seeing their unofficial president Phil Knight (on the sideline, of course) there told me he had a LOOOONG ride back to Portland. Or does his jet fly into Eugene?

        • art thiel

          Any time Knight is sad is a worthy day.

    • Archangelo Spumoni

      A delicious stat from the Aubrin-Ucks game:
      The Aubrin QB had a better QBR than the world-beating, guaranteed first round pick, gift to quarterbacking world history, de facto Heisman, Phil Knight anointed Ucks quarterback. Nix 44.8, Herbert 43.4. Unbelievable.
      I bullbleep you not. ESPN keeps this QBR stat thing that tries to weigh plays in context of game situation, with the reason that an 92-yard screen TD pass when you are behind 38-3 and 15 seconds left is meaningless.

  • 1coolguy

    The only negative I saw in this game is Eason is a goner after this season :(. He had total command of the game and it all came to him naturally.
    We will see what he does against real competition, but he is clearly a first round draft choice.

    • art thiel

      True. There’s no real evidence that he lacks any element that would keep him out of the first round.