Washington defense dominant against Boise State
The Broncos’ longest gain was just 18 yards against Washington, which kept up with Boise State’s up-tempo offense with relative ease.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Washington wasn’t the only team Saturday night at Husky Stadium showcasing a new, up-tempo offense.
With second-year offensive coordinator Robert Prince calling plays, No. 19 Boise State’s no-huddle, pistol-formation attack mostly misfired, especially in the red zone, against a UW defense familiar with fast-paced offenses in a 38-6 loss to the Huskies.
“Some of the guys in the back seven played the whole game, and the last time we played them, we couldn’t do that,” UW linebacker John Timu said, referring to a 28-26 loss to the Broncos in the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas. “We had to rotate guys, and depth was an issue. We have depth now, but we weren’t as tired as we were last year.
“It’s good for us to see that every day.”
Boise State’s six points were its fewest since the Broncos lost 58-0 to Washington State in 1997. The Broncos are the highest-scoring team in the country since 2000, averaging 41 points per game in that period.
“Obviously there’s some kinks we got to work out,” Prince said. “We had some good plays, but not enough of them.”
The Huskies surrendered 346 yards — 171 rushing and 175 passing — but they never gave up a big play. Boise State’s longest gain was an 18-yard run and its longest pass covered 16 yards.
“I can’t remember the last time we played this well,” said Timu, who finished with a game-high 13 tackles. “Probably in practice.”
Statistically, the Huskies were just as dominant last season in a 38-3 win over Colorado.
However, considering the opponent, the raucous atmosphere generated by 71,963 fans at Husky Stadium and the big expectations this season, Timu suggested Saturday’s defensive performance may have been the best during his UW tenure.
“We had highlights during the season last year, like Oregon State and Stanford, but nothing like this in a game this big,” he said. “We had some practices this good and that was the thing.
“Whatever we did in practice, we did tonight. We were ready for them. Whatever they had, we were ready.”
Washington’s first defensive series began unexpectedly after a Keith Price interception at the BSU 44.
Five plays later, safety Sean Parker intercepted a Joe Southwick pass at the UW 40.
“That right there was a real moment for me,” Parker said. “It showed that I’m out there and I play with passion.”
Parker wasn’t alone.
On BSU’s next drive, the Broncos failed to convert on a third down with three yards to go when safety Will Shamburger and defensive end Hau’oli Kikaha stuffed running back Jay Ajayi for a 6-yard loss at the UW 17-yard line.
On the next play, defensive lineman Danny Shelton blocked a 34-yard field goal attempt.
The Broncos received 93 rushing yards from Ajayi, but their passing game consisted of mostly short gains from Southwick, who completed 25 of 40 attempts.
When he did test Washington deep, cornerback Marcus Peters smothered flanker Geraldo Boldwijn and cornerback Greg Ducre blanketed split end Matt Miller.
“They did a nice job of canceling our receivers out,” Petersen said. “Our wide receivers have to get a off press coverage. We didn’t get up field fast enough.”
Timu said the Huskies can build from Saturday’s opener.
“This is the way we want to play,” he said. “We know we got it in us. It’s so good to start out like this, and now it’s just a matter of continue to get better each week.”
Percy Allen: 206-464-2278 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @percyallen.