Of the 71,963 fans who showed up in Seattle to open newly renovated Husky Stadium a larger than expected orange-clad turnout was on hand to support the opposing #19 ranked Boise State Broncos. Unfortunately for those fans, however, they were there to witness a humiliating defeat at the hands of the Huskies. In what many were calling a rematch of last December's Las Vegas Bowl where Boise State held on for a 28-26 victory, it was all Washington this time. They held Boise State to a single field goal in each half of the game and routed the Broncos, 38-6.
These are my notes taken from a bird's perch high up in Husky Stadium:
Washington played without tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins who suffered from a broken finger and has been the face of Washington’s disciplinary problems stemming from an unrelated incident in July. As it turned out they didn’t need him. Huskies QB Kevin Price, 6-1, 202 lbs, was intercepted on his first pass in the Huskies home opener in newly renovated Husky Stadium, but that in turn led to an interception of their own two plays later when Broncos QB Joe Southwick, 6-1, 202 lbs, floated a pass into coverage. Besides the interception, Southwick was 25 of 40 for 152 yards, and averaged a paltry 3.8 yards per pass.
Boise kicker Dan Goodale, 5-10, 193 lbs, also had a blocked field goal after a successful Boise State drive into the Washington red zone. But its hard to be critical of the only man on the Broncos team to score a point (in this case all six) against the Huskies when the Broncos couldn't finish a drive.
Washington on the other hand, quickly recouped after their opening drive. They were nearly perfect in offense and it seemed to be all Washington Huskies in front of a wildly cheering hometown crowd. Boise State’s sluggish defense was no match for Washington's new fast break offense and the Huskies never slowed with a fast-paced charge that accounted for 89 plays in the first half alone. The Broncos stacked the line and never really tried to pressure the Washington quarterback. With the corners playing so far off the receivers and left them unguarded it was a perfect storm for Washington.
What is surprising is that the Broncos were still in it when the half ended with a 10-3 Washington lead.
The Broncos received the ball in the second half but the Washington rout quicky resumed. Boise State played the same old straight up football devoid of any life or half-time changeups and Washington continued to capitalize against the Broncos struggling offense. It was also a near-total meltdown for the Boise State defense that last year ranked one of the best in the nation. The 32-point difference was Boise State's worst loss margin since the beatdown at Georgia in 2005.
At the end of the evening Boise State had 23 1st downs and were only 8 of 19 in 3rd down converstions. In comparision, Washingon had 33 first downs and were 11 of 15 on 3rd down conversions. Boise's 346 total yards paled next to a whopping 592 for the Huskies, who mixed it up with 324 rushing yards and 268 in passing. Boise State was not devoid of talented players, however. WR Geraldo Boldewijn, 6-4, 215 lbs, caught 8 passes for 62 yards, and WR Kirby Moore, 6-3, 206 lbs, caught 6 more for 43 yards. And Boise State runner Jay Ajayi, 6-0, 215 lbs, ran for 92 yards on 23 carries with a 4.0 yard average. But it was freshman RB Aaron Baltazar, 5-11, 185 lbs, who impressed me the most in his first college game with 10 carries for 49 yards (4.9 yards per carry). But all those great efforts in a hostile environment by a select handful of Broncos are dimmed by the Washington victory.
To his credit, Washingotn QB Keith Price, 6-1, 202 lbs, completed 23 of 31 passes (74%)for 324 yards and passed Cody Pickett as Washington's all-time leader. That's a 176.8 rating starting out the 2013 season. Not bad for a small QB by BCS standards who struggled last season with a 122.4 rating. Helping him in the backfield was RB Bishop Sankey, 5-10, 203 lbs, who rushed past napping or gasping Broncos defenders 25 times for 161 yards (6.4 yards per carry) and two touchdowns. Overall, Washington handed Boise State head coach Chris Petersen his worse defeat ever.
Besides the lost chance at a BCS bowl what does this loss mean for the Broncos? It means that there's blood in the water---and this time it's Boise State's.
Next up for the Broncos is a home opener next Saturday, September 7, against Tennessee-Martin, 5 PM MT, on ESPN3.
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