The No. 8 ranked University of Washington Huskies survived a determined effort from an improved Rutgers Scarlet Knights team to win its first game of the season 30 to 14. It was the second consecutive season the two teams faced off against each other in a season opener. The Huskies won last years contest in Husky Stadium 48 to 13.
And just like last year, Washington Wide Receiver and punt returner Dante Pettis returned a punt for a touchdown. Pettis second quarter 61 punt return sparked the Huskies to a 10-7 lead and the visitors never looked back. It was the third straight seasoning opening game in which Pettis has returned a punt. Pettis had one last year against Rutgers and Boise State in 2015. Pettis now has six career punt returns which ties him for the all-time Pac-12 record with former California Golden Bear, DeSean Jackson.
In addition to the electrifying punt return, Pettis hauled in three passes for 85 yards. Washington quarterback Jake Browning was pressured and hurried all night by a stubborn and determined Scarlet Knights defense. Despite the pressure, Browing passed for 284 yards ( 17-30) and two touchdowns.
The Husky defense played its part in limiting Rutgers to just 13 points. Rutgers game plan was to hold on to the ball as long as possible when on offense to limit the number of times the Husky offense had the ball. The game plan was somewhat successful in that Rutgers ran 77 offensive plays to the Huskies 54, had the ball 38 minutes compared to Washingtons 21minutes. Rutgers gained 309 total yards on offense compared to the Huskies 368.
The Huskies ability to create big plays was the difference in the end. In addition to Pettis, cornerback Byron Murphy a redshirt freshman had two interceptions in his collegiate debut. ” He’s got great ball skills. ” Petersen said after the game. “If the ball is around him, the guy can catch. He’s an instinctual player.” Husky place kicker Tristan Vizcaino chipped in three field goals.