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Jake Browning leads No. 18 Washington past Idaho, 59-14

Teammates greet Washington running back Myles Gaskin (9) after Gaskin scored a touchdown against Idaho in the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016, in Seattle. (Ted S. Warren / Associated Press)
Teammates greet Washington running back Myles Gaskin (9) after Gaskin scored a touchdown against Idaho in the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016, in Seattle. (Ted S. Warren / Associated Press)

SEATTLE – Chris Petersen certainly has the University of Idaho’s number.

In this case, $825,000.

The contract payout was the only consolation for the Vandals on Saturday afternoon after they endured a 59-14 stoning at the hands of No. 8 Washington at Husky Stadium – keeping in tact streaks that go back a decade for Petersen and 111 years for the Huskies.

Five touchdown passes by Jake Browning – tying a UW single-game record –provided the fireworks, but it was a massive mismatch along both lines that made the difference.

“It was just a day where we got beat,” said Idaho coach Paul Petrino. “That team was better than us and they got after us.”

The Vandals (1-1) managed just 87 yards of offense in the first half – and only nine in the second quarter, on 15 plays, as the Huskies (2-0) broke open a 7-0 game with four touchdowns in a span of 12 minutes.

So that’s six victories for Petersen teams over the Vandals – the first five when he coached at Boise State, by an average of four touchdowns. And the Vandals still have to reach back to 1905 to recall victory over Washington.

And they dug themselves a hole in this one quickly.

Idaho’s Lloyd Hightower took a wicked lick from Budda Baker on the opening kickoff, fumbling the ball away to UW’s Keishawn Bierria – one of two critical Idaho turnovers in the early going. On the first play from scrimmage, Dante Pettis worked away from Idaho’s D.J. Hampton and caught a 21-yard touchdown pass from Browning.

As harmful as the turnovers were, the Vandals also hurt themselves failing to convert short first downs – four of 3 yards or less early on “and that just kills you,” Petrino said.

Still, it took a while for floodwaters to build, thanks to some stout first-quarter play by the Idaho defense. The Vandals stopped UW on three possessions, even getting a turnover when Kaden Ellis stripped Browning on a sack.

But the Vandals gave it right back three plays later – and squandered a scoring opportunity, to boot. Matt Linehan connected on a pass down the middle to Jacob Sannon, who reached for the goal line but lost control of the ball at the 1 in a collision with Jojo McIntosh.

“I think it’s them being really aggressive and hitting hard, and guys not holding onto the ball good enough,” said Petrino, who did not make any players available to the media.

In the meantime, Petrino exercised his gambling side – trying to jump-start the Vandals by going for it on fourth down three times, including twice well inside his territory. It was the last one that backfired – the Huskies burying Isaiah Saunders on a short run and then converting on another Browning-to-Pettis pass five plays later.

Scoring passes to Chico McClatcher (30 yards) and John Ross (9) would follow, sandwiched around a 7-yard Myles Gaskin touchdown run as the Huskies built a 35-0 halftime lead. And once Browning and Ross hooked up on another short slant into the end zone on the first drive of the third quarter, the quarterback’s day was done.

His final line: 23 of 28 for 294 yards, with a quarterback rating of 229.3.

His Idaho counterpart, Linehan, was more effective than in last weekend’s 20-17 season-opening win over Montana State, finishing 19 of 29 for 187 yards. But the second-quarter quicksand was fatal. Only four pass plays were called – the first three resulting in sacks, and the last going for a 3-yard loss.

Idaho finally got on the scoreboard in the third quarter, putting together a solid drive that ended with a terrific catch of a Linehan pass by Buck Cowan, covering 20 yards. Early in the fourth period, backup quarterback Gunnar Amos scored his first Idaho touchdown on a 6-yard run – though he later threw a pick-six to UW’s Connor O’Brien. Petrino’s son, Mason, also got work at quarterback, leading the Vandals with 48 yards rushing.

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