LAS VEGAS — Jacob Eason threw for 210 yards and a touchdown and Washington sent out coach Chris Petersen with a 38-7 victory over No. 18 Boise State in the Las Vegas Bowl on Saturday night.
Richard Newton rushed for 69 yards with a short touchdown run and threw a touchdown pass for the Huskies (8-5). They capped an erratic season with a dominant finale for Petersen — who left Boise State to coach Washington — after he announced Dec. 2 he was stepping down after six seasons. Myles Bryant and Elijah Molden had interceptions, and coordinator Jimmy Lake’s defense allowed 266 yards. Lake is taking over as head coach.
Jaylon Henderson threw for 48 yards and a touchdown for the Broncos (12-2). They lost for the first time in five appearances in the Las Vegas Bowl. Henderson replaced Hank Bachmeier in the second half after the freshman threw his second interception.
The Huskies jumped out to a 17-0 halftime lead behind a methodical offense and suffocating defense. Bachmeier threw a pass up for grabs on the opening possession that was easily picked off by Bryant, and Andre Baccellia took a slant from Eason 17 yards into the end zone for the opening score.
Salvon Ahmed made it 14-0 in the second quarter with an 8-yard touchdown run to cap a 13-play march, and Peyton Henry kicked a 32-yard field goal as the half ended. Eason threw a 26-yard pass to Marquis Spiker on the first play of the drive, the longest gain of the half and one of two plays for either team that gained 20 yards.
Molden picked off a screen pass by Bachmeier, with Washington going up 24-0 early in the third quarter on a 2-yard touchdown run by Newton.
Henderson came in and got the Broncos on the board with a 10-yard screen pass to George Holani.
Bachmeier, who started the first seven games before sustaining a hip injury against Hawaii, was 10 of 19 for 87 yards.
Newton threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Terrell Bynum early in the fourth quarter, and Ahmed capped the rout with his second touchdown run from 12 yards out with 2:29 remaining.
Boise State: The offense had no answers, but the biggest question will be about coach Bryan Harsin deciding to go with Bachmeier after Henderson had played so well down the stretch. Both interceptions came on throws Bachmeier should not have made, and the first allowed Washington’s offense to build confidence early. The Broncos defense had three sacks and nine tackles for loss, but they could never come up with a truly game-changing play.
Washington: The Huskies were clearly fired up to give Petersen a memorable finale, capping his tenure with a record of 55-26 in six seasons. It was also one of their most complete performances in an up-and-down season, with the offense proving to be efficient enough to complement a tenacious defensive effort. Petersen got the Huskies back to the upper echelon of West Coast football by winning two Pac-12 titles and leaves a strong foundation behind for Lake.
It might be dicey after the blowout loss, but Boise State’s overall body of work in a solid Mountain West Conference should be enough to be ranked in the final poll. Washington could merit consideration in the preseason AP Top 25.
Boise State: The Broncos will have to rebuild on both lines of scrimmage, but they will be strong favorites to win the Mountain West for the third time in four seasons and the top challenger to dethrone the American Athletic Conference for the automatic bid to a New Year’s Six bowl. Boise State will open the 2020 season by hosting Georgia Southern on Sept. 5.
Washington: Lake will have to decide whether to make changes to the offensive coaching staff, but the Huskies will have the personnel to challenge Oregon in the Pac-12 North, especially if Eason returns for his redshirt senior season. Washington opens next season by hosting Michigan on Sept. 5 in what will be one of the Pac-12’s marquee non-conference games.