It was the second week in a row that the Huskies’ special teams shined. In the season-opening rout of Rutgers, John Ross III returned a kickoff for a touchdown and Dante Pettis returned a punt for a touchdown.
Playing the “F-3” position on Washington’s kickoff-coverage team, Budda Baker is asked to be a sweeper of sorts — a last line of defense just in case the return man sneaks through the Huskies’ first wave of coverage. He isn’t supposed to be involved much in the tackle.
He couldn’t help himself on the first play Saturday.
“I saw a hole,” he said, “so I just shot it.”
The result was a thunderous hit on Idaho’s Callen Hightower, forcing a fumble that was recovered by UW’s Keishawn Bierria at the Idaho 21-yard line. On the next play, Jake Browning hit Dante Pettis for a touchdown, and the No. 8 Huskies were on their way to a 59-14 victory at Husky Stadium.
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“It was a pretty big hit,” said Baker, UW’s star safety. “I didn’t even know he had dropped the ball until I heard the crowd.”
It was the second consecutive week the Huskies’ special teams shined.
In the season-opening rout of Rutgers, John Ross III returned a kickoff for a touchdown and Pettis returned a punt for a touchdown.
The Huskies made some changes on their kickoff-coverage unit after the first game, using some of their best defenders — such as Baker, Bierria, Azeem Victor and Sidney Jones — on the coverage team against Idaho.
On UW’s second kickoff, Jones delivered an even bigger hit on Hightower than Baker had.
“It was awesome seeing Sidney run down there full speed,” UW coach Chris Petersen said. “We tell our guys: ‘We’re going to play our best guys on special teams.’ ”
Pac-12 pushes McCaffrey for Heisman
Concerned about rush-hour traffic congestion around Husky Stadium, Washington lobbied the Pac-12 to push back its Friday-night kickoff against Stanford on Sept. 30.
The game is set for a 6 p.m. start.
The conference denied the request because it wanted greater exposure on the ESPN-televised game for Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey, who was the Heisman Trophy runner-up last year.
“The response that we got back was that the issues with Stanford and Christian he didn’t get as much visibility last year and so they were trying to get him a little bit better slot,” UW athletic director Jen Cohen said during a pregame radio interview on KJR-950.
“It is all about Pac-12 exposure, so it’s not just for him; playing an hour earlier so that people can see us on the East Coast has been an advantage for us as well,” Cohen said.
• Sophomore Jaylen Johnson suited up but sat out a second consecutive game with a leg injury. Redshirt freshman cornerback Austin Joyner (leg injury) also sat out.
• Washington officials are expecting a capacity home crowd for the Stanford game, which would snap what’ll likely be a 20-game non-sellout streak. However, Cohen said there are “a lot of tickets left still.”
• At least four NFL scouts were in attendance Saturday, including Seahawks general manager John Schneider.
• Walk-ons Myles Bryant, a true-freshman cornerback, and Mason Stone, a sophomore safety from Mountlake Terrace, made their UW debuts.