Washington routs Boise State in first game at renovated Husky Stadium

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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 70,963 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.

The offensive irony was rich.

As part of the $280 million renovation to the iconic 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, the Huskies ran a staggering 52 plays totaling 313 yards. No, they didn’t convert enough of those yards into points — Boise State stuffed UW run fourth-down run inside 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 Saturday night in throwing for 324 yards, with two touchdowns and one interception, and breaking the UW career record for touchdowns thrown. 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.

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.

The Huskies offensive breakout 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 his place, but 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, giving Price 56 career touchdowns to break Cody Pickett’s record and pushing the UW lead to 24-6.

Earlier in the third quarter, Price had found junior receiver Kasen Williams on a pump-fake double-move in the same corner of the east 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 last-minute loss in the Las Vegas Bowl. But the fifth-year senior quarterback rebounded nicely on the next drive — set up by a Sean Park 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 to give UW a lead it never relinquished.

UW defensive lineman Danny Shelton blocked a first-quarter field-goal attempt, and UW senior Travis Coons converted his 30-yard field-goal attempt to give 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 night. His new backup, redshirt freshman Dwayne Washington, added an 8-yard touchdown run for UW’s final score in the fourth quarter.

UW’s new offense seemed perfect for speedy receivers Jaydon Mickens and freshman John Ross. Mickens had nine catches for 109 yards, and the true freshman Ross had four catches for 39 yards in his UW debut.

UW had another feel-good — no, feel-great — moment when junior tailback Deontae Cooper took a handoff early in the second quarter. It was his first carry as a Husky after three major knee injuries; he finished with six carries for 8 yards.

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