SEATTLE — Jimmy Lake’s voice didn’t finally start to fail until the postgame celebration in the locker room.
It wasn’t prettiest debut, but Lake was a winner in his first game as Washington’s coach after the Huskies held off Oregon State 27-21 on Saturday night.
Sean McGrew rushed for 91 yards and a touchdown, Dylan Morris added a 1-yard TD plunge, and the Huskies won their ninth straight over the Beavers.
“That was a joyous locker room right there. That’s where I probably lost my voice was right there,” Lake said. “I’m just so proud of those guys for not flinching during this tumultuous time.”
McGrew was part of a multifaceted rushing attack by Washington (1-0 Pac-12) that rolled up 267 yards rushing. McGrew had just nine carries and scored on a 21-yard run. Kamari Pleasant added 61 yards and a 15-yard TD. Richard Newton ran for 15 carries for 41 yards.
“You all got to see a little bit of it tonight, or a lot of it tonight,” McGrew said. “And hopefully there is a lot of it more to come the rest of the season.”
Lake took charge at Washington after Chris Petersen stepped away from coaching after last season. The debut was delayed after last week’s game at California was canceled due to COVID-19 concerns with the Golden Bears.
Peyton Henry kicked a 23-yard field goal with 1:45 left, the only points scored in the second half by either team.
Jermar Jefferson rushed for 133 yards and a TD for Oregon State, his 12th career 100-yard rushing game. But Jefferson was stopped twice needing less than a yard from the Washington 5 early in the fourth quarter and the Beavers (0-2 Pac-12) on the cusp of taking the lead. Jefferson was stuffed on third- and fourth-down runs, although the Beavers appeared to get unfriendly spots on both runs.
“I felt like I got it the first time when it was third-and-inches but, you know, they said we didn’t,” Jefferson said. “So I felt like I got it. We felt like we got it.”
Oregon State coach Jonathan Smith said he believed Jefferson had converted on third down and was thinking of first-and-goal plays.
“What my angle was on the third down call I thought we had it. We were beginning to talk about first down,” Smith said. “And then the chains came out and obviously then we had to be prepare for either way it went.”
B.J. Baylor had a 3-yard TD run for Oregon State in the second quarter and Jefferson scored from the 4 just before halftime.
Tristan Gebbia was just 11-of-24 passing for 85 yards and was intercepted on a deflected fourth-down pass with 54 seconds left.
“We did not play perfect, or well enough to win,” Smith said. “But I know we competed until the end and had a couple opportunities to win the game.”
The question of who would be Washington’s starting quarterback was answered when Morris, a redshirt freshman, took the first snap. The expectation was either Morris or graduate transfer Kevin Thomson would be the starter. But Thomson was in street clothes on the sideline and Morris directed the Huskies.
Morris was 14 of 24 for 141 yards. He wasn’t helped early by his wide receivers, who dropped a few passes, including Ty Jones being unable to haul in a potential touchdown toss in the first quarter.
Morris was declared the starter after Washington’s final scrimmage of fall camp.
“That was his first college football game in grimy, rainy weather and we grinded it out, and we got Dylan for his first start, he’s got a win. He’s 1-0,” Lake said.
Oregon State jumped out to a 7-0 lead thanks to a special teams blunder by Washington. Long snapper Jaden Green, a true freshman, sailed his first collegiate snap on Washington’s opening series well over the head of punter Race Porter. Porter ran back 20 yards and collected the loose ball, but his attempt to still punt was blocked. Jaydon Grant collected the block and ran 11 yards for the score.
It was the first blocked punt for a TD by Oregon State since 2011 against Arizona and the first allowed by Washington since 2012 against USC.
Oregon State: The Beavers run defense is their biggest issue early in the season. Oregon State allowed 229 yards rushing last week to Washington State and was gashed worse by the Huskies.
Washington: The Huskies had a mixed bag on special teams. Along with the blocked punt they gave up a pair of long kickoff returns. They caught a punt at the 5-yard line. And normally reliable kicker Peyton Henry missed a 28-yard field goal in the third quarter that would have given the Huskies a 27-2 lead. Porter did have a punt downed at the 1 in the fourth quarter.
Oregon State: The Beavers return home to face California next Saturday.
Washington: The Huskies host Arizona next Saturday.