Pickett throws for 400-plus again

The crowd at Husky Stadium was sparse at the opening kickoff this afternoon between Washington and Idaho, but Cody Pickett made sure those in attendance from the beginning were entertained. He threw for 438 yards and three scores, propelling the Huskies to a 41-27 win in front of 70,070 people in Seattle.

Pickett's 438 yards was just 17 shy of his personal best, set against Arizona last year. He completed 32 of 44 attempts. WR Charles Frederick had five catches on the day, but they were big ones. He ended up with 142 yards and one touchdown, and 199 all-purpose yards on the day.

Idaho's Brian Lindgren finished the day with 309 yards on 22-38 passing, with 2 touchdowns and 1 interception.

Vandal DE Brandon Kania sacked Cody Pickett on the first drive for a loss of 8. After that, the Dawgs settled down, methodically moving downfield, highlighted by a 20-yard reception to Patrick Reddick. After a procedure penalty in Idaho territory, the Huskies looked ready to score but an old bugaboo bit them again. A Paul Arnold fumble allowed the Vandals to take possession, but then the Husky defense bit right back.

Ben Mahdavi caused Vandal TB Blair Lewis to fumble, and safety Greg Carothers was on the spot, running untouched 25 yards into the end zone. The return for touchdown was the first for the Huskies since Mahdavi's 39-yard romp for a score against Idaho in 2000.

After that the Huskies never were really threatened.

Offensive guard Aaron Butler left with a game with a bruised knee. Willie Kava and Ryan Brooks replaced Butler at guard. Wide Receiver Reggie Williams went down on the first play of the second quarter with a sprained left knee. Neither he nor Butler returned.

In Williams' place, Charles Frederick stepped up and had his best career day, making five grabs for 142 yards, including a dazzling 74-yard touchdown.

Washington's second drive was capped off by Kevin Ware's first TD catch of the game. It was a 90-yard drive that lasted 13 plays and consumed 5:03 of clock. It contributed to the Huskies using up a whopping 11:49 of clock in the first quarter.

Early in the second quarter on a 3rd and 4 from Washington's 26, Pickett threw an out route to Frederick. Charles turned up field and broke three tackles on route to a thrilling 74-yard scamper that put the Dawgs up 21-0. It was the 5th pass Pickett has thrown in his career for more than 70 yards.

Rich Alexis was pretty well bottled up on the ground but did find the end zone once. Still, the junior tailback ended up with 151 all-purpose yards and was the leading receiver for the second week in a row. Alexis had 6 receptions for 87 yards.

Another Pickett to Ware connection provided the Huskies with a four-touchdown lead in the second quarter.

Keith Stamps' career long 49-yard field goal was all of the points the Husky defense yielded in the first 30 minutes.

The second half was an entirely different matter.

After a nice punt return, Idaho finally started a drive in Husky territory, on the Washington 40. A 24-yard pass from Lindgren to Josh Jelmberg set up a 16-yard scoring strike to Christopher Belser. The Idaho scoring drive lasted 16 seconds.

A 44-yard kickoff return by Charles Frederick gave Washington excellent field The Huskies drove it immediately to the Vandal red zone but the drive stalled and John Anderson chipped one between the pipes from 20 yards out make it 31-10.

Idaho again moved the ball well on their next drive, mixing up the run and pass. Lindgren found tight end Kelly Nead for 12 on a third-down play, moving the ball to the Huskies' 15-yard line. The Dawgs stiffened up in the red zone, as Roc Alexander had a nice breakup of a Lindgren pass for Josh Jelmberg in the end zone on third down and 10. Keith Stamps' 32-yard field goal was good, narrowing Washington's lead to 18, 31-13. The Vandals' drive covered 65 yards on 12 plays, lasting 3:22.

Washington struck back once again. From the Idaho 36, Alexis took another backside screen and with some great downfield blocking reeled off 34 yards to the Vandal 2. Alexis capped off the drive on the very next play, going over the top for the score, pushing Washington's advantage to 38-13 after Anderson's PAT was good.

Idaho counterpunched again, mostly on the arm of Lindgren. After some nifty throws, Zach Gerstner rumbled for 16 on a draw, moving the ball to the Washington 2, where fullback Kevin O'Connell took care of the final two yards to cut the lead to 38-20.

Pickett found Frederick once again running free in the Idaho secondary, this time for a gain of 28 yards to the Vandal 38. The Huskies' red zone woes continued, as they could only muster two yards after a first and ten from the 20. John Anderson connected from 35 as Washington pushed their lead to 21, 41-20.

True to form, the Vandals never gave up. Cedric Thompson returned the ensuing kickoff all the way into Husky territory. Thompson broke numerous Washington tackles and had an incredible move where he stop-started and juked three defenders and gained an extra 40 yards.

Idaho couldn't convert, however, and turned the ball over on downs.

Lindgren still had some fight in him, and hooked up with Belser one more time for an 18-yards touchdown. Belser beat Husky cornerback Chris Massey on a slant, and Stamps' extra point finished off the scoring in game.

Idaho outscored Washington 24-13 in the second half.

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