Virginia transfer Taulapapa leads No. 15 Huskies ahead of Buffs

SEATTLE (AP) — Wayne Taulapapa’s voice was still filled with emotion after he rushed for two touchdowns and 107 yards in Washington’s 54-7 No. 15 win over Colorado, his best performance of the season.

The Washington senior transfer running back wore a Leigh of flowers and a candy bar necklace, offerings from supporters who knew what a difficult week it was for the Virginia transfer after three Cavaliers were killed by a former teammate this week.

“I was just leaning on the support system I have here,” Taulapapa said. “I have great brothers and great father figures here in my coaches and I try to lean on them every day.”

The Huskies (9-2, 6-2 Pac 12) also leaned a little on Taulapapa as they hit five touchdowns in their fifth straight win. Coach Kalen DeBoer said Taulapapa’s determination got the team rolling and teammates rallied around him.

“He’s in pain,” receiver Jalen McMillan said. “We loved him and huddled around him to make sure we wrapped our arms around him.”

Taulapapa hit from 8 and 2 yards to give the Huskies a 21-0 lead. Cameron Davis added two more points for Washington, who finished 7-0 at home after rushing for 280 yards in the game.

“When we get into the red zone, we smell blood,” Davis said of the running back duo.

The win gave DeBoer nine wins in his freshman season, a school record. And it kept the Huskies in contention for a spot in the conference title game with one contest remaining, though they need plenty of help after USC snagged a spot earlier Saturday. Next up is the Apple Cup against Washington State, a game that means more than just rivalry rights this year.

“We don’t have that trophy in our trophy cabinet right now,” DeBoer said of the Apple Cup. “I know it means a lot… (but) we’re playing for a lot of stuff. It’s not just this trophy.”

While the running backs crunched, Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. rushed for a season-low rushing yards with 229 yards despite playing a role in the game’s most electrifying style of play. Penix passed the ball to Jalen McMillan on the double back, eventually finding the receiver in the left flat. McMillan meandered through secondary, breaking four tackles en route to a 27-yard touchdown for a 14-0 lead. He finished with eight catches for 98 yards.

The Huskies led 33-0 at halftime after scoring 12 points, including a safety, in the 1:21 final.

Washington held Colorado (1-10, 1-7) for 202 total yards in their fifth straight loss. Colorado didn’t get past 100 total yards until quarterback JT Shrout Montana found Lemonious-Craig for a 69-yard touchdown at 1:45 in the third quarter. The seven points represented a season low for the Buffs.


Washington painted the hashmarks orange at 1, 15, and 41 in homage to D’Sean Perry, Devin Chandler, and Lavel Davis Jr., the Virginia football players who were killed by a fellow student this week while returning from a field trip in Washington. direct current


Peyton Henry, a senior in the fifth year who scored the winning field goal in Oregon’s excitement last week, received the biggest cheer from the crowd on senior night. Then he broke a goal-scoring record – ending up with a field goal and six extra points for a total of 384 career points, surpassing Jeff Jaeger’s 1983-86 record of 380 points.


Colorado: It’s almost over. That’s about the only positive to come out of the game for the reeling Buffs, who trailed 47-0 and had their worst offensive performance this (very long) season.

Washington: The Huskies have kept their hopes alive for a place in the Pac-12 conference championship. They need an Apple Cup win and a lot of help. If the Huskies can win, there’s likely a plum bowl job waiting.


Colorado: host No. 10 Utah on Saturday.

Washington: On Saturday in Washington state.


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