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HONOLULU — Chris Petersen won his debut as Washington’s coach — but few, if any, expected it to play out like this.
The 25th-ranked Huskies finally got some semblance of offensive momentum in the last series of the game, with redshirt freshman Lavon Coleman, in his UW debut, carrying the ball six straight times. His dive for a 9-yard gain and a first down at the Hawaii 34-yard line in the final minute to seal the way-too-close-for-comfort 17-16 victory over Hawaii at Aloha Stadium.
“We needed that kind of intensity earlier on,” Petersen said.
The Huskies were 17-point favorites coming to Hawaii. This victory didn’t answer many of the questions we had about this team. It probably created more questions.
“I’m going to work really hard to be a glass-half-full guy …,” Petersen said. “I think our guys played hard. There was some good individual plays, but certainly as a team we didn’t play anywhere near like we think we can play.”
Hawaii jumped out to a 10-0 lead in the first quarter, something Petersen said he was wary of.
“I think it’s going to be a big wakeup call,” he said. “… I was worried about us settling down early on and we were not settled down. They got up on us right away,” he said.
On Jeff Lindquist’s uneven performance, Petersen said: “I thought the first half, Jeff did a pretty solid job. The second half, things aren’t going so well, and he hasn’t played in a long time, and that’s hard. … It’s good for him to go through some of those things and we’ve got to get better at those situations.”
The Huskies, 17-point betting favorites, were shut out in the second half and managed just 336 total yards (and averaged just 2.8 yards per play in the second half).
“We’ve got to have a much more aggressive mindset,” Petersen said.
Petersen said he didn’t consider calling on the backup quarterback, redshirt freshman Troy Williams.
He was also asked if it “was safe to assume” that Cyler Miles would start next week against Eastern Washington.
“We’re going to do this thing the right way,” Petersen said. “We’re going to look at this with a fine-tooth comb and figure out what the best is and we’ll go in that direction. I’m not trying to — we’ll figure it out early next week and go from there.”
A few other notes:
- Budda Baker started at free safety for the Huskies. Three other true freshmen played: Naijiel Hale, Brayden Lenius and Tristan Vizcaino.
- Three redshirt freshmen started for UW: Coleman Shelton at right tackle, in place of injured senior Ben Riva (knee); Keishawn Bierria at outside linebacker; and Jermaine Kelly at cornerback.
- Six other reshirt freshmen made their UW debuts: Lavon Coleman, Sean Constantine, Elijah Qualls, Connor O’Brien, David Ajamu, Victor Azeem.
- Senior nose tackle Danny Shelton was credited with a game-high 12 tackles, including two sacks and three tackles for loss. Seniors Andrew Hudson and John Timu each had nine tackles.
- Former Husky Taz Stevenson, who started at safety for Hawaii, led the Rainbow Warriors with 10 tackles and one quarterback hit.