ASHLAND, Ky. — It’s hard to beat a team that doesn’t make any mistakes. That’s pretty much what George Washington ran into Friday night.

Blake Hester ran for 173 yards and scored twice and Paul Blazer scored touchdowns on each of its first four-half possessions as it rolled up a 49-16 decision over the Patriots at Putnam Stadium.

Hester, Keontae Pittman and Steele Workman each had two touchdowns for the Tomcats (3-0), who ran for 266 yards on 47 carries held GW to 5 net yards rushing.

Ashland drove 64, 38, 80 and 80 yards on its four first-half possession to go up 28-3 at halftime. The Tomcats didn’t punt in the first half, and had no penalties or fumbles by that juncture.

“That’s as clean as you can play a first half, really,’’ said Tomcats coach Tony Love. “I’m proud of our guys. We had a great week of preparation. We know GW’s a class program and we have to do things right in order to be successful, and they raised to the challenge.’’

GW quarterback R.T. Alexander completed 21 of 39 passes for 241 yards and two scores, finding Brayden McCallister with a 27-yard TD toss and Alex Mazelon with a 14-yarder late in the game. He was sacked three times.

McCallister ended with nine catches for 133 yards and Mazelon added 80 on his seven catches, but GW had no answer for the Tomcats’ ground game, which racked up 15 first downs in the first half and 23 overall.

“They were pretty good,’’ said GW coach Steve Edwards Jr. “Perfect? I don’t know. They were tonight. They’re a good team and they stuck it to us tonight.

“We’re still using four sophomores [on the line] and a freshman now and then. We’re still fighting. We’re still going to go back to work Monday. They were taking advantage of what they’ve got, and I would, too, if I was them. It was little better effort for us than last week, but we didn’t get a chance to breathe again.’’

George Washington (0-2) fell at South Charleston in its opener 28-14.

Ashland quarterback Jake Gregg only threw nine times, but gained 148 yards on his five completions. Two short passes turned into long plays, as he connected with J.T. Garrett on a 70-yard TD pass with 52 seconds left in the first half and a 35-yarder to Pittman on a screen pass in the third quarter.

GW seemed to have the Tomcats in good position before Gregg’s first TD pass, as Kristian Hussell sacked Gregg for a 7-yard loss, bringing up third-and-13 from the Ashland 30 with about a minute left in the half. However, that’s when Gregg floated the ball to Garrett in right flat and the latter did the rest, zigging and zagging all the way downfield.

Pittman finished with 83 yards on 13 carries for Ashland and caught two passes for 41 yards. Hester had two receptions for 37 yards.

“I think we established our identity at the beginning of the year,’’ Love said. “We have a big, physical offensive line with two good running backs. We hang our hat on our ground game, and everybody who plays will know that.’’

Contact Rick Ryan at 304-348-5175 or rickryan@wvgazettemail.com. Follow him on Twitter @RickRyanWV.