Washington Huskies

WRs taking turns having big game for No. 9 Huskies

Washington wide receiver Chico McClatcher, left, runs with the ball for a touchdown as wide receiver John Ross (1) blocks Portland State safety Tyler Foreman in an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 17, 2016, in Seattle.
Washington wide receiver Chico McClatcher, left, runs with the ball for a touchdown as wide receiver John Ross (1) blocks Portland State safety Tyler Foreman in an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 17, 2016, in Seattle. AP

Chico McClatcher swears the Washington receivers didn’t plan for the first three games to unfold they way they diD – with each of them taking turns starring.

John Ross III got things going with a brilliant three-touchdown masterpiece in the opener.

Dante Pettis took center stage with a career-best performance last week that included two receiving touchdowns.

Saturday’s 41-3 dismantling of FCS team Portland State belonged to Chico McClatcher, the third and youngest member of UW’s starting receivers.

“Whoever is open is whoever is going to catch it and score,” McClatcher said. “That’s how it goes. Whether it’s John, Dante, me or anybody else.”

Maybe so, but the UW receivers -- once maligned for being the weakest part of the offense -- have given future opponents much to consider.

McClatcher accounted for 106 yards (69 receiving and 37 rushing) and two touchdowns Saturday.

“Explosive player and game-changer,” UW junior cornerback Sidney Jones said. “You give him the ball and you’re going to get positive yards. ... It feels like every game, Chico is doing something and getting into the end zone.”

McClatcher scored UW’s first touchdown this season on a 43-yard reception in which he blew past a Rutgers defender and hauled in a deep throw. He scored last week on a 30-yard reception and finished with a career-high 76 yards receiving against Idaho.

Against Portland State, the undersized speedster took control of the opening drive with a 12-yard reception and a 13-yard run around the end that set up the game’s biggest play.

Starting in the left slot, McClatcher took a short pass near the sideline and took advantage of a Ross block to maneuver untouched for his second 43-yard score this season.

“It was a good setup or rub play for me to get open,” McClatcher said. “Jake just made the right throw. ... Scoring the first touchdown definitely gets everybody up.”

Early in the second quarter, McClatcher hauled in a 13-yard reception from Jake Browning to put UW ahead 21-0.

“It was good to get Chico the ball in space,” UW coach Chris Petersen said. “He is a playmaker for us. It seems like each game somebody else is making things happen at the skill position, so that is good.”

Admittedly, the 5-foot-9, 179-pound converted running back from Federal Way is still learning the nuances of being a receiver.

His eyes lit up when asked about the fly sweeps, in which he starts the play in motion before taking a pitch in the backfield and running around the end.

“I’m just an athlete,” McClatcher said. “I like to run the ball. I like to catch. I’m just trying to find ways to help my team win.”

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