SEATTLE — As a courtesy reminder, let the record show that Washington’s Bishop Sankey scored the first touchdown in new Husky Stadium on a 1-yard run at the 8:20 mark of the first quarter Saturday night.
He did it before a rowdy, sold-out crowd of 71,963 that can be forgiven for forgetting what had happened so early in the Huskies’ high-speed assault of No. 19 Boise State.
Three hours of dizzying football culminated in UW’s 38-6 victory that reopened Husky Stadium in grand fashion and sets the stage for what could be a breakthrough season for Huskies.
“We started fast,” UW linebacker Shaq Thompson said, “and played fast for the entire game.”
As part of the $280 million renovation to the stadium, UW removed the old, worn-out track that surrounded the field and separated fans from the action. Now much closer to the field, fans saw the unveiling of UW’s new, don’t-blink-or-you’ll-miss-it version of track-and-field football.
It was fast, fun and effective.
In the first half alone, the Huskies ran a staggering 52 plays totaling 313 yards. They didn’t convert enough of those yards into points — Boise State stuffed a UW fourth-down run from the Broncos’ 10-yard line late in the first quarter — but the Huskies’ lightning pace wore down a young Boise State defense in the second half.
Senior quarterback Keith Price looked as good as ever in throwing for 324 yards, with two touchdowns and one interception, while breaking the UW career record for touchdowns passes. The Huskies — who shifted to the no-huddle, up-tempo attack in hopes of revitalizing an offense that averaged just 24 points last season — pulled away late and finished with 592 total yards on 85 plays.
“It was good running around and just getting back to the old me,” said Price, who has 56 career touchdowns, passing the mark of 55 held by Cody Pickett.
Back home in what they dub “the best setting in college football,” the Huskies had just about the best homecoming they could’ve hoped for.
UW handed Boise State its worst loss in eight seasons under coach Chris Petersen. Petersen’s worst loss before Saturday? That would be the Broncos’ 24-10 loss to UW at Husky Stadium in 2007.
Further, Boise State’s six points were its fewest since getting shut out by Washington State 58-0 in 1997.
“They dominated us in all phases,” Petersen said of the Huskies.
UW’s offensive breakthrough happened without preseason All-American tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins, who served a one-game suspension for an offseason DUI.
UW’s backup tight ends had only one catch in Seferian-Jenkins’ place, but sophomore Josh Perkins made it count. Price scrambled left to buy time before finding Perkins in the back of the end zone for an 18-yard touchdown late in the third quarter, pushing the UW lead to 24-6.
“Man, that was so much fun — the most fun I’ve ever had playing football,” Perkins said. “We felt like Boise didn’t respect us. I think they respect us now.”
Earlier in the third quarter, Price had found junior receiver Kasen Williams on a pump-fake double-move in the corner of the end zone.
Price threw an interception on his first attempt of the game, his second in as many passes against Boise State dating to UW’s loss in the Las Vegas Bowl. But the fifth-year senior quarterback rebounded on the next drive — set up by a Sean Parker interception — by completing 8 of 9 passes before giving way to Sankey, who scored the first touchdown of the game on a 1-yard run.
Boise State ran 88 plays, but managed 3.9 yards per play compared to 7.0 for UW. Defensive tackle Danny Shelton blocked a first-quarter field goal, and UW senior Travis Coons converted a 30-yarder to give UW a 10-3 halftime lead.
Sankey, meanwhile, continued to pound Boise State. After rushing for 205 yards against the Broncos in the bowl game, Sankey added 161 yards more and two touchdowns Saturday. His new backup, redshirt freshman Dwayne Washington, added an 8-yard touchdown run for UW’s final score in the fourth quarter, when Boise State’s defense was noticeably run down and, in the end, run over.
“Once we got rolling,” UW receiver Jaydon Mickens said, “we were unstoppable.”