Meet the frightening Washington D-line that crushed Stanford with eight sacks

Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

The most amazing stat from last week in college football — heck, from the entire first month of the 2016 season — comes from last Friday night’s Stanford-Washington game.

In the 44-6 U-Dub rout, the Huskies held Christian McCaffrey and the Cardinal ground game to just one yard per carry. But the really jaw-dropping stuff is that Washington devastated Stanford’s vaunted O-line, notching eight sacks. And, get this, the Huskies did so without blitzing one time the entire game.

OK, technically, they did blitz once, UW defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski told FOX Sports Sunday, but that blitz actually occurred on a play that was nullified by a penalty.

The Cardinal had allowed only four sacks in their first three games combined before facing the Huskies. Those eight sacks were almost half of what Stanford allowed in all 14 games last season.

Joe Mathis

It was quite a coming-out party for Chris Petersen’s team, but especially their defense. Washington’s D-line set a tone early. When Joe Mathis wasn’t running around blockers, he was blowing them up.

Our guys know how to strike and how to leverage blocks," Kwiatkowski said.

Ikaika Malloe, Washington’s D-line coach, admitted they watched the clip of Mathis flinging Stanford’s offensive tackle "a few times" in their position room, pointing out that it helped reinforce the techniques he’s teaching. “It’s about them learning the techniques and how that can happen,” Malloe said. “It’s approval. It’s all about the details."

Edge rusher Psalm Wooching has a team-high 4.5 sacks this season and had three against Stanford. Mathis has four sacks this season. Greg Gaines, a 318-pound sophomore, has 5.5 TFLs. Elijah Qualls, a 321-pound junior, has four TFLs. They’re all explosive.

The scariest of the bunch is 6-foot-5, 335-pound sophomore Vita Vea, who has 4.5 TFLs and 3.5 sacks. To give you a better idea of just how athletic the Huskies’ young giant is, he’s clocked at 19 miles per hour on the Catapult GPS tracking system. For perspective sake, anything faster than 21 mph for a player is considered flying. Oregon State’s Victor Bolden, one of the fastest men in the Pac-12, topped out at 22.5 MPH, and he barely weighs 180 pounds.

Vita Vea

"He’s got the skill set to be dominating,” Kwiatkowski said of Vea. "The game’s gotta slow down for him a little bit more.”

The next step for the one-time standout high school running back is to become more consistent.

Wooching’s evolution also has been interesting. Another converted running back, Wooching actually once played for the U.S. rugby junior national team.

The last year was a big year for him changing his mindset and how approaches practice and doing things our way and not just his way,” said Kwiatkowski, who compares Wooching to one of his former Boise State star’s, Kamalei Correa, in terms of how explosive and physical he is albeit with less size.

Next up for the U-Dub group: snapping a 12-game losing streak against rival Oregon.