This Day In Sports: Broncos try to avoid decade-old déjà vu

August 31, 2013, 10 years ago today: Washington revels in the celebration of the grand re-opening of Husky Stadium and gets revenge against Boise State for a loss in the Las Vegas Bowl eight months earlier, routing the Broncos 38-6. The Huskies won the battle of new no-huddle offenses by rolling up 592 yards behind senior quarterback Keith Price (a future Broncos staffer). It was Boise State’s largest margin of defeat in eight years and the worst loss in the career of coach Chris Petersen, whose remarkable Broncos record dropped to 84-9.

With every yardage-chewing Price completion, Bishop Sankey tote, and drive-snuffing defensive stop, Washington drew energy. As if it needed any with the exhilaration surrounding the new-look stadium, with 71,963 fans (those not wearing orange) making a racket that could shake Mt. Rainier. UW wore down the Bronco defense to the point it looked like all 11 guys had their hands on their hips between each play.

That Washington had more talent than Boise State was evident from the start. But that had seldom determined the outcome for the Broncos in big games. As they always had, they needed to counter UW with ingenuity, but there was little of that. The team that once boasted 85 personnel groups in its game plan didn’t look like it had, uh, quite that many at Husky Stadium. But the fact that the Broncos were still able to gain 348 yards on the Huskies without their traditional shifts, motions and surprises told you the potential was there. In particular, Jay Ajayi had a nice game with 93 yards on the ground.

Here’s where Boise State hopes the tough night a decade ago doesn’t relate to Saturday night’s 2023 opener in Seattle. The Broncos cornerbacks had the worst of it, exacerbated by the lack of pressure the front seven was able to apply on Price. Boise State had one sack (by DeMarcus Lawrence). The Broncos might be happy with that number against Michael Penix Jr., who was sacked only five times last season.

It was just over three months later that Petersen would become Washington’s new head coach. This game was not the audition by any means. But Coach Pete’s body of work was. The guy who for a long time wasn’t sure he’d ever want to be a head coach went an incredible 92-12 in eight seasons at Boise State, including two undefeated seasons followed by Fiesta Bowl victories. With the Huskies, Petersen went 55-26 and took them to the College Football Playoff in 2016. His overall mark is 147-38, with the last victory of his career coming over Boise State in the 2019 Las Vegas Bowl.

(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment during the football season on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra. He also anchors four sports segments each weekday on 95.3 FM KTIK and one on News/Talk KBOI. His Scott Slant column runs every Wednesday.)

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