Huskies rout Broncos in rematch of last year’s MAACO Bowl Las Vegas

ccripe@idahostatesman.comSeptember 1, 2013 

SEATTLE — The bad memories flowed Saturday night as the No. 19 Boise State football team endured a rare beatdown at the hands of the Washington Huskies — a 38-6 loss at rocking, refurbished Husky Stadium.

Memories of 2012 — the year the Broncos’ famed offense produced its worst output in 14 years.

Of 2007 — the last time the Broncos lost to a Pac-12 team, a 14-point loss at Washington.

Of 2005 — the last time the Broncos were hammered on the scoreboard, a 35-point loss at Georgia.

Even of 1997 — a couple years before Boise State’s renowned run of success began. That was the last time the Broncos failed to score a touchdown (a shutout loss at Washington State).

None of those seasons ended with outright conference championships. All of them produced some level of consternation in Bronco Nation.

And now the questions begin for the 2013 Broncos. The preseason favorites to win the Mountain West’s Mountain Division looked vulnerable in their debut.

“We’re going to look at it the same as any loss,” Boise State junior linebacker Corey Bell said. “Our coaches are going to come in, they’re going to get behind us and they’re going to help us get the attitude that we need to have. I mean, this hurts. But we’re going to come back next week and we’re going to be fighting just like we always do. That’s kind of the attitude we live by as Broncos — just get back on your horse.”

The Broncos defense, which ranked third in the nation in points allowed during coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski’s first three seasons, was on its heels from the start.

Washington’s re-imagined offense — a spread attack with Oregon-like tempo — gained yards in chunks and repeatedly found ways to get out of long-yardage situations. The Huskies ran 85 plays and gained 592 yards — a 7-yards-per-play clip.

Senior quarterback Keith Price passed for 324 yards and two touchdowns after throwing a pick on the second play. Junior tailback Bishop Sankey ran for 161 yards and two touchdowns. And the wide receivers — a sore spot for the Huskies last year — combined for 21 receptions and countless yards after catch.

The Huskies produced scoring drives of 16, 13 and 11 plays. They were 11-of-15 on third down.

“(The long drives) were just frustrating,” Bell said. “It’s just difficult to find a way to stop that. We were having a hard time.”

The Broncos lost seven starters off the defense that beat Washington in the 2012 Las Vegas Bowl.

“The main thing is we have to get off blocks,” coach Chris Petersen said. “They have a pretty big, physical offensive line and we have some new guys out there who will improve, but I think that’s the main thing that I could see from the sidelines.”

The Huskies led 10-0 in the second quarter — the first time the Broncos trailed by double digits since the 2007 Hawaii Bowl loss to East Carolina — and 10-3 at halftime.

The Broncos squandered several chances to make a run at the Huskies.

“At crunch time, we didn’t capitalize,” Petersen said.

The Broncos took the ball into Washington territory three times in the first half — drives that ended with an interception, a blocked field goal and a field goal.

They held the ball for 18 plays to open the second half but again settled for three points after sophomore tailback Jay Ajayi — who rushed for 93 yards — was stopped on second-and-goal at the 2 and senior quarterback Joe Southwick threw incomplete on third-and-goal at the 3.

And they marched to the Huskies 35 midway through the third quarter, after Washington took a 17-6 lead. Again, the Broncos couldn’t convert when they absolutely needed a first down — Ajayi was stuffed on fourth-and-1.

The Huskies scored a touchdown moments later for a 24-6 lead — and the rout was on.

Boise State assembled drives that lasted 13, 13, 18 and 12 plays in the game but never hit a play for more than 18 yards.

“I wouldn’t say it went that poorly,” said Southwick, who was 25-of-40 for 152 yards. “We just didn’t finish things. We moved the ball up and down the field a majority of the night. We’ve just got to finish those drives and get some more points.”

That was the Broncos’ problem early last season, too.

And the need to score more points was the focus of the offseason. “It’s very disappointing,” Petersen said.

PRICE BREAKS PICKETT RECORD

Washington quarterback Keith Price’s third quarter touchdown pass to Joshua Perkins was his second of the game and the 56th of his career.

That broke the school record set by Caldwell High product Cody Pickett, who played from 1999-2003. Pickett still holds the UW career marks for passing yards (10,220), attempts (1,429) and completions (821).

Chadd Cripe: 377-6398; Twitter: @IDS_BroncoBeat

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