SEATTLE — So much for that return of the Boise State high-scoring offense.
So much for stopping Washington quarterback Keith Price and running back Bishop Sankey.
And so much for 1-0.
In a game where almost nothing went the way Boise State players and coaches hoped or expected it to go, the Broncos suffered the worst loss in the Chris Petersen era in a 38-6 defeat to the Washington Huskies on Saturday night at Husky Stadium.
“It’s very disappointing,” Petersen said. “They dominated us in all phases.”
After weeks of talk from Boise State players and coaches that last year’s offensive drought was a thing of the past, the Broncos unveiled a new no-huddle, pistol formation and struggled to get much of anything going.
The Broncos did not score a touchdown on any of their 11 drives, finishing with five punts, an interception, a missed field goal, a turnover on downs, two field goals and a blocked field goal.
Sophomore Jay Ajayi had 23 carries for 93 yards and true freshman Aaron Baltazer had 49 yards rushing on 10 carries to lead a Bronco offense that had 171 yards on the ground.
But they couldn’t get anything going through the air as quarterback Joe Southwick finished with 175 yards passing after completing 25-of-40 passes. The Broncos longest pass completion was for 16 yards.
“We ran the ball probably efficient enough but had nothing going in the pass game,” Petersen said. “We throw it down field for, I think, the longest one was 16 yards? That’s not going to cut it.
“I think that’s a really good defense and we just have to keep working to get better, that’s the main thing. We have to continue to play to our strengths and try to take the next step.”
The Broncos averaged 30.2 points per game a season ago, their lowest total since 1998 and more than a touchdown fewer than any of the previous seasons with Petersen as head coach.
But they still entered the 2013 season as the nation’s highest scoring team in the nation since 2000, averaging 41.04 points per game. That average took a hit Saturday when they became the first Boise State team since 1997 to not score any kind of touchdown in a game.
Boise State had two games last season — a 17-13 defeat at Michigan State and a 7-6 win over BYU — in which they failed to score an offensive touchdown but got touchdowns from the defense.
The Broncos were outgained 592-346 in total yards and averaged 3.9 yards per play compared to 7.0 for Washington.
“I wouldn’t say it went that poorly, we just didn’t finish things,” Southwick said. “We moved the ball up and down the field a majority of the night, just got to finish those drives, get some more points.”
The Broncostrailed 10-3 at halftime and cut the deficit to 10-6 on a 37-yard field goal by Dan Goodale on their opening drive of the third quarter. But they didn’t score again, turning the ball over on downs on a drive midway through the third quarter before punting three consecutive times.
Washington, meanwhile, unveiled a new up-tempo, Oregon-like offense that gave the Boise State defense trouble from the start. Quarterback Keith Price completed 23-of-31 passes for 324 yards and two touchdowns after he didn’t have a 300-yard passing game all of last season.
Huskies running back Bishop Sankey, who rushed for 205 yards and a touchdown in last season’s 28-26 Boise State win in the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas, had 163 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries.
“I think they did just about what we thought they were going to do,” Boise State linebacker Corey Bell said. “They came out and gave the ball to Sankey. We just had a difficult time defending that and finding an answer and really stopping the run.
“We’re going to look at it the same as any loss. I mean, this hurts, but we’re going to come back next week, and we’re going to be fighting, just like we always do.”
It was the second year in a row in which the Broncos lost on the road in the season opener. But unlike last year’s defeat at Michigan State, this one wasn’t even much of a game in the second half.
“We’re going right back to work,” Petersen said. “We have to get better, we have to improve. I know we’ll put that tape on and look at it and say, ‘Wow, we have to be a lot better than this.’”