Sunday, September 6, 2015
Huskies Lose . . . Barely
Going into Friday night's season opener game against the #23 ranked Boise State Broncos, the University of Washington Huskies were an unknown. They were, however 13 point underdogs. The biggest unknown for the Dawgs was who was going to be starting quarterback. It turned out to be true freshman Jake Browning who showed flashes of brilliance but also showed he needs some experience at the big show that is collegiate Division I football. Here's a kid, probably 18 years old, playing his first NCAA game in front of a huge hostile crowd, on blue turf, the a Husky front line decimated by players headed for the NFL.
There was added drama because the Washington coach, Chris Petersen, was a very successful coach at Boise State. One fan held up a sign that said "Beat Pete."
By the end of the first half, it looked pretty hopeless. The Husky defense was porous and the Husky offense couldn't move the ball. But the score was only 16 - 0.
The second half was much better for the Dawgs. The defense came alive and made sure the Broncos scored zero second-half points. The offence connected better but the team's only touchdown was a punt return. At the end of the fourth quarter, it was 16-13 and the Huskies had the ball close to the end zone.
Then the mistakes happened. A penalty pushed them back. Then two sacks in a row (the only Boise sacks of the game). Suddenly what looked like a possible game-winning touchdown turned into a hail-Mary, extra-long, game-tying field goal.
It barely missed, giving the Broncos the ball back with a few seconds left on the clock. They took a knee and ended the game.
As I posed on Facebook that evening, we were 13-point underdogs, we lost by three points. Not a horrible start, but not great.
The Huskies have a week to tighten up that defense and get it so Browning can connect and has some protection before they play Sacramento State at home.
The announcers for the game said Las Vegas has the Huskies winning 4.5 games this year. And do have a very tough road through the very competitive Pac-12. All of us fans are hoping Petersen can do for Washington what he did for Boise State. So far, it's not looking good. But, the upside is, this is a very young Husky team. Next year they will be better. They'd better be or Petersen might be looking for a job.