Chris Petersen closed out his Washington tenure in winning style as the Huskies beat No. 19 Boise State 38-7 in the Las Vegas Bowl on Saturday at Sam Boyd Stadium.
Petersen was coaching his last game for the Huskies after he announced he was stepping down from his post. Secondary coach and defensive coordinator Jimmy Lake will take over as the head coach.
Saturday's game brought Petersen's coaching career full circle. He was Boise State's offensive coordinator for five years before succeeding Dan Hawkins as head coach ahead of the 2006 season. The Broncos went 92-12 and won the Fiesta Bowl twice during his eight years on the sideline.
Not only did Petersen beat his old school, but he also pulled out a trick play to compound the hurt. Richard Newton took a direct snap in the fourth quarter and hit Terrell Bynum for a 13-yard touchdown pass.
Washington forced three turnovers and held Boise State to 266 yards of offense.
- Jacob Eason, QB, Washington: 22-of-32, 210 yards, one touchdown
- Richard Newton, RB, Washington: 15 carries, 69 yards, one touchdown; 1-of-1, 13 yards, one touchdown
- Terrell Bynum, WR, Washington: five receptions, 67 yards, one touchdown
- Hank Bachmeier, QB, Boise State: 15-of-26, 119 yards, two interceptions
- George Holani, RB, Boise State: 11 carries, 35 yards
Huskies Defense Shoulders the Load for Short-Handed Offense
Washington was already without leading receiver Hunter Bryant and starting left tackle Trey Adams, who presumably decided to sit out the Las Vegas Bowl to prepare for the 2020 NFL draft.
That made Petersen's job hard enough. He then had to cope with injuries to his top two running backs, Salvon Ahmed and Newton, over the course of Saturday night.
Washington's defense did its part and often helped to give the offense a short field with which to work. Interceptions preceded the Huskies' first scoring drives in the first and second halves.
Myles Bryant picked off a Hank Bachmeier pass in the opening possession of the game. Washington only needed to go 52 yards but ate 6:07 off the clock before Andre Baccellia's 17-yard touchdown reception.
Then Elijah Molden set Washington up at the Boise State 24-yard line when he intercepted Bachmeier with 11:11 left in the third quarter. Three plays later, Newton punched it in on a two-yard touchdown run.
Mitsubishi Motors Las Vegas Bowl @LasVegasBowl
The Huskies have put another 7 points on the 'board. @UW_Football's Richard Newton twists & turns his way into the end zone for a 2-yard TD! The Huskies' drive went for 3 plays & a total of 34 yards. UW 24 | BSU 0 in 3rd Quarter Watch Live on @ABC! https://t.co/CQwDZfwpWu
Boise State looked to be building some momentum after Jaylon Henderson's 10-yard touchdown pass at the 4:44 mark of the third quarter. Washington forced a turnover on downs on the Broncos' next drive, however. Newton delivered what was effectively the final nail in the coffin.
As Washington looks to the offseason, Jacob Eason's future looms large. Bleacher Report's Matt Miller ranked the junior as the fifth-best quarterback in the 2020 draft class.
Saturday's game was a microcosm of his season.
Eason would benefit from spending another year at Washington, but he might be competing with Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields in the 2021 draft class. Convincing him to spurn the draft now might be difficult.
Boise State Sputters at Final Hurdle
Bachmeier's interception in the first quarter set the tone of the evening for Boise State.
The Broncos entered Saturday averaging 441.5 yards and 36.8 points per game, and they closed out the regular season 31st in ESPN's SP+ offensive rating.
Their offense never found a groove against Washington.
Boise State was one of the schools that helped break through the lower expectations for programs outside of the Power Five conferences. In the grand scheme of things, little has changed, though, since a 12-1 season ultimately meant a return trip to the Las Vegas Bowl.
Losing to Washington on its own isn't that bad, but such a lopsided defeat will do little to help the Broncos and their Group of Five brethren.
Boise State welcomes Florida State to Albertsons Stadium next September for its biggest nonconference game on the schedule. Even with a win over the Seminoles, the team will still be fighting against the perception it remains a class below the best Power Five schools, a perception that many will argue was reinforced Saturday.