Washington football coach Chris Petersen says he vividly remembers the hardest hit he ever took playing quarterback.
It was when Petersen was at UC Davis, either in 1986 or 1987, when the Aggies were playing Chico State.
Petersen dropped back to pass and was de-cleated by, oddly enough, a former teammate of his at Yuba City High School.
“He blasted me,” Petersen said. “Right now, that (hit) would have him thrown out of the game for targeting, and going to the head and all of that stuff.
“You always remember the hardest ones.”
If that is true, then Huskies quarterback Jake Browning won’t forget Friday night anytime soon.
It was on the second offensive series of the game. On third-and-6, the Rutgers defense overloaded the left side of the line of scrimmage.
Whatever happened next, Petersen called the lack of pass-protection adjustment a coaching mistake from the sideline.
With Browning glued in on a target to his left, the junior never saw Rutgers’ defensive end Darnell Davis coming at him from his right side.
Davis planted the former Folsom High School standout with such force, he landed on the turf at High Point Solutions Stadium in a horizontal position, with the football rolling free. It was eventually recovered by right tackle Kaleb McGary.
“That was the worst hit,” Petersen said. “Those are like the worst kind. You don’t want to see those (as a coach) – he did not see that one coming.”
Observers who have followed Browning’s entire career have noted it was the hardest hit they’ve seen him take on a sack.
Amazingly, even though dazed, Browning popped right back up and went to the sideline.
“He’s fine,” Petersen said. “The first thing he said to me (was), ‘I was up in two seconds.’ So, he’s a tough guy.”
Petersen remarked it wasn’t the only hit Browning took in the game. He got rocked in the second half on the 18-yard touchdown completion to running back Myles Gaskin as well.
“That was as impressive a play as I’ve seen in a while,” Petersen said. “That’s real football. That’s how it’s going to go sometimes.”