Huskies fall to the Tigers in opener

In what seemed like a "David vs. Goliath" matchup, the Washington Huskies and LSU Tigers took to the field in front of 69,161 fans as well as a national audience on ESPN and put on a good show, but eventually the visitors from the Pelican State bested the Dawgs 31-23.

In what seemed like a "David vs. Goliath" matchup, the Washington Huskies and LSU Tigers took to the field in front of 69,161 fans as well as a national audience on ESPN and put on a good show, but eventually the visitors from the Pelican State bested the Dawgs 31-23.

Youngsters made their name for both teams and the Huskies shot themselves in the foot with two costly turnovers and several penalties at inopportune times.

LSU QB Jordan Jefferson, a 19 year-old sophomore, had an outstanding night throwing for 172 yards on 11 of 19 passing for three touchdowns while Jake Locker was 25 of 45 for 320 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.

Four true freshman saw time for the Huskies Saturday night, as WR James Johnson, DT Semisi Tokolahi, CB Desmond Trufant and RB Demitrius Bronson, but Johnson was the star, finishing with a game-high six receptions for 63 yards and Washington's first touchdown of the season.

RB Chris Polk also had a big night posting a game-high 92 yards rushing and catching two passes for 34 more yards.

On defense, the Huskies were led by LB E.J. Savannah who posed 11 tackles (10 solo, 1 assist) and LB Mason Foster who had eight tackles, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery while helping the defense limit the Tigers to 321 yards with only 17 first downs. Washington on the other hand managed to post 478 yards and 25 first downs while going 11 of 19 on third down.

Washington got the scoring started early, taking their first drive 85 yards in 10 plays with Locker finding freshman Johnson open at the five. Johnson shrugged off a tackle attempt by one LSU defender and then got a great block from RB Chris Polk on his way to a 17-yard touchdown.

LSU came right back with their own 12-play, 62-yard drive that ended with a 24-yard field goal by K Josh Jasper. While the Tigers did net points out of the drive, it is worth noting that the defense stiffened and stood tough even though the visitors had three plays inside the five.

With their 7-3 lead, Washington committed their first big error of the evening, as Locker threw a slant pass to WR Devin Aguilar that was tipped and then picked off by LB Jacob Cutrera who then returned it 29 yards for the score, putting LSU up 10-7.

In past years, the Huskies may have folded their tents and succumbed to the ever increasing pressure their nationally ranked foes put on them, but this team seems to be more resilient. On their next drive the Huskies managed to drive it all the way to the LSU five before a bad handoff from Locker to Polk resulted in another turnover. However, the defense held strong and forced the Tigers to punt from deep inside their own territory.

RB Johri Fogerson, who had a big night both receiving and returning punts, returned the punt 18 yards to the LSU 24 and four plays later K Erik Folk tied the game at 10 from 34 yards out.

On LSU's next drive the Husky defense stepped up yet again, forcing a turnover when Foster stripped and recovered a fumble by RB Charles Scott at the Washington 18. The play was significant, because up until that point, the Tigers had driven 46 yards due in large part to two 15-yard penalties to DBs Nate Williams (facemask) and Vonzell McDowell (roughing the passer).

As time was winding down, LSU took over at their own 25 and proceeded to march the ball down the field, ending when Tolliver caught a pass from Jefferson and made one move on FS Greg Walker, going untouched for a 45 yard touchdown. Jefferson and Tolliver would hook up again in the second half for a 39 yard score and they victimized Walker again who looked helpless in the open field.

Washington was able to add a 37-yarder at halftime to send the game into the half with the Huskies only trailing the Tigers by a score of 17-13.

In the second half, Washington was able to manage a 32-yard field goal from Folk and added a late touchdown from Locker to TE Kavario Middleton, but Jefferson was just a bit better hitting Tolliver and WR Brandon Lafell for touchdown passes en route to the final score of 31-23.

Washington, losers of 15 in a row, will now prepare to take on Idaho who defeated New Mexico State by a score of 36-6.


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