Turning Point/Play of the Game: Two plays cost Washington the game down the stretch. The first one was the quick screen out to Jaydon Mickens that ended up being called back due to a holding call on Brayden Lenius, moving the ball from the Boise State 19 to the 29 and then, on the following play, freshman QB Jake Browning showed his youth taking a sack rather than getting rid of the ball. The lost yardage on those two plays, pushed the Huskies back far enough that what should have been a 36-yard attempt to a 46-yarder that Cameron Van Winkle pushed just right, giving Boise State a 16-13 win.
Offensive Player of the Game: There really wasn’t a difference-maker on offense, but wide receiver Dante Pettis’ 76-yard punt return for a touchdown in the third quarter gave the Huskies a huge boost. Pettis also had two receptions for 24 yards including a 17-yarder that gave the Huskies a first down on the Boise state 19 with :53 seconds left on the clock.
Defensive Player of the Game: It’s hard not to choose Azeem Victor who had a monster game with 14 tackles (11 solo), but we’re going to go with Joe Mathis who had five tackles, a sack, 2.5 tackles-for-loss, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
Handouts to the standouts: Victor was seemingly in on every play and he brought a physical presence from his middle linebacker spot to total 14 tackles (11 solo) and one tackle-for-loss; LB Cory Littleton was one of the more consistent pass-rushers for the Huskies, totaling one sack, four quarterback hurries and seven tackles on the night; S Budda Baker had a blocked extra point that allowed Washington the opportunity to tie the game with a field goal toward the end of the game and he also totaled four tackles and two pass breakups; WR Jaydon Mickens only had two receptions for 16 yards, but he got in to block a punt, setting up Washington with great field position and resulting in a field goal that brought the Dawgs to within three at 16-13; the offensive line struggled to get a push on running plays, but overall, their pass protection was solid (save the two sacks on UW’s final drive) and that has to be encouraging; the special teams had an outstanding night, getting Pettis' touchdown, the blocked punt and also the blocked extra point.
Stat of the game: Washington had only 179 yards of total offense and just 29 yards on the ground. With a freshman quarterback, the ground game has to be better than that.
Needs work: The offense overall needs work. The passing game will get better as Browning gets more experience, but the running game was horrendous and they need to figure things out quickly.
Bottom line: This game could have been a 20 to 30 point deficit by the end of the first half, but the Huskies hung tough and were only down 16-0. From that point on, the Huskies pretty much owned the game, playing fast and physical football while forcing turnovers and getting pressure against a veteran offensive line. The fact that the team never gave up and fought to the bitter end definitely makes you believe they have better days on the horizon, but this is definitely not the way the Huskies wanted to start off the 2015 football season.