SEATTLE — Keith Price was back throwing touchdowns with a grin on his face, Washington returned to the shores of Lake Washington and Husky Stadium was drowning in a cacophony of noise.
The Huskies response to one of its most anticipated season openers in recent memory was an emphatic and impressive statement.
Price threw a pair of third-quarter touchdown passes to become the school’s all-time leader, and Washington returned renovated Husky Stadium with a stunning 38-6 blowout of No. 19 Boise State on Saturday, the worst loss in Chris Petersen’s tenure as the Broncos head coach.
Price was intercepted on his first pass in the Huskies newly renovated home on the shores of Lake Washington. And he was nearly perfect from there, the first step in putting a disappointing 2012 season in the past.
Price completed 23 of 31 passes for 324 yards. He found Kasen Williams on a 19-yard TD on Washington’s first possession of the second half and his 18-yard strike to Josh Perkins gave Washington a 24-6 lead late in the third quarter. It was Price’s 56th career touchdown, passing Cody Pickett as Washington’s all-time leader.
“He played like a point guard tonight, which, in this system, you need to play like,” Washington coach Steve Sarkisian said. “I thought he distributed the ball really well.”
Petersen’s worst loss was just as ugly as the final score indicated. The Broncos failed to finish drives offensively and simply could not stop Washington.
Boise State’s 24-10 loss at Washington in 2007 was Petersen’s worst setback prior to Saturday night. The Broncos fell to 26-4 under Petersen when given at least 10 days of preparation and was the first time since a 58-0 loss against Washington State in 1997 the Broncos failed to score a touchdown.
The 32-point margin was Boise State’s worst loss since a 48-13 loss at Georgia to open the 2005 season.
“It’s a good football team we just played, without question,” Petersen said. “But I know that we can play better than we did. I know we’ve got to get a lot better and we will.”
It was a rematch of last December’s Las Vegas Bowl where Price was intercepted on Washington’s final drive and Boise State held on for a 28-26 victory. The Huskies had eight months to simmer about the late loss that left them with a 7-6 record for the third straight season. Coupled with the Huskies playing in their palatial new $280 million home for the first time in nearly two calendar years, the Broncos were already facing a difficult task.
“We felt a lot of pressure,” Washington linebacker Shaq Thompson said. “We knew we lost the bowl game and had to come back and get the win.”
Washington played without tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins, who was in uniform on the sideline but never played, punishment after he pleaded guilty to a DUI charge in the offseason. Sarkisian said Seferian-Jenkins would play in two weeks at Illinois, but the Huskies didn’t need, or miss, their third-team all-American.
Seferian-Jenkins was in uniform and went through all pregame warm-ups but Perkins was announced as the starter during introductions. Seferian-Jenkins ran out with the team, put his helmet behind the Washington bench and became the Huskies biggest cheerleader.
Bishop Sankey, who was the best player in the bowl game, picked up where he left off, rushing for 161 yards and two touchdowns. Sankey scored on a 1-yard plunge in the first quarter then added a 23-yard TD scamper with 10:45 left to give Washington a 31-6 lead.
Dwayne Washington capped the blowout with an 8-yard TD run with 5:56 left.
Boise State was left gassed defensively trying to keep up with Washington’s new fast break offense. Washington’s dizzying pace never slowed. The teams combined for 46 plays in the first quarter and 89 plays for the half. Washington ran 52 plays in the first half alone for 313 total yards after averaging 69.5 plays and 355 yards per game last season.
All those snaps only translated to 10 points, but they finished with 592 total yards on 85 plays. Price was kept clean after the offensive line struggled all of last season protecting their quarterback.
“It was different. A couple of times in the first half at the end I started getting happy feet and getting out of the pocket and I didn’t need to. I wasn’t use to it,” Price said.
Joe Southwick finished 25 of 40 passing but for only 152 yards as the Broncos passing game was surprisingly conservative with very few shots downfield and zero trickery. Jay Ajayi rushed for 93 yards on 23 carries.
The Broncos trailed only 10-3 at halftime and put together two solid drives to start the second half only to get three points. The Broncos stalled at the Washington 3 after Southwick’s pass was broken up by Marcus Peters, who blocked a field goal attempt in the first half. Goodale’s 20-yard field goal pulled the Broncos within 10-6.
After the Huskies quick response, Boise State again drove into Washington territory, but Ajayi was stuffed on fourth-and-1 at the Washington 35. Boise State never threatened to score again.
“We just didn’t finish things,” Southwick said.
WASHINGTON 38, No. 19 BOISE ST. 6
Boise St. 0 3 3 0– 6
Washington 7 3 14 14–38
Wash–Sankey 1 run (Coons kick), 8:20.
Wash–FG Coons 30, 10:21.
Boi–FG Goodale 37, 2:31.
Boi–FG Goodale 20, 9:37.
Wash–K.Williams 19 pass from Price (Coons kick), 7:50.
Wash–Perkins 18 pass from Price (Coons kick), 1:34.
Wash–Sankey 23 run (Coons kick), 10:45.
Wash–Dw.Washington 8 run (Coons kick), 5:56.
First downs 23 33
Rushes-yards 42-171 54-268
Passing 175 324
Comp-Att-Int 29-46-1 23-31-1
Return Yards 0 0
Punts-Avg. 5-39.6 2-37.5
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 0-0
Penalties-Yards 2-19 8-61
Time of Possession 30:51 29:09
RUSHING–Boise St., Ajayi 23-93, Baltazar 10-49, Southwick 5-22, Fields 4-7. Washington, Sankey 25-161, Dw.Washington 13-52, Price 6-25, Mickens 1-8, Cooper 6-8, Miles 1-7, K.Williams 1-7, Callier 1-0.
PASSING–Boise St., Southwick 25-40-1-152, Hedrick 4-6-0-23. Washington, Price 23-31-1-324.
RECEIVING–Boise St., Boldewijn 8-62, Moore 6-43, Miller 6-31, Baltazar 3-7, Williams-Rhodes 2-19, Huff 1-6, Linehan 1-5, Ajayi 1-1, Fields 1-1. Washington, Mickens 9-109, Smith 4-69, Ross 4-39, K.Williams 3-68, Perkins 1-18, Sankey 1-12, Stringfellow 1-9.