That party — as expected — did happen, but it’s arrival was delayed a bit.
The UND football team, facing the highest-ranked opponent in program history, made things interesting for a half before Washington pulled away in the second half before 68,093 fans Saturday at Husky Stadium.
No. 9 Washington downed UND 45-3, which dropped the Hawks to 1-1 as they now prepare for another tough road test next Saturday against No. 4 Sam Houston State of the FCS..
The Fighting Hawks couldn’t seriously contend for a huge upset as the Huskies’ passing attack and the physical Husky defense were too much to overcome. UND entered the game as a more than six-touchdown underdog.
Huskies quarterback Jake Browning, considered one of the top quarterbacks in the country, threw for 244 first-half yards and a touchdown. In the first half, he was 16-for-24, including a 4-yard touchdown pass to Ty Jones for a 7-0 lead with eight minutes left in the first quarter.
Jones’ score was set up thanks to a short field. UND turned the ball over on its first possession when quarterback Nate Ketteringham fumbled when he was hit on his blindside by Washington linebacker Ariel Ngata.
The Fighting Hawks’ best chance to score in the first half came in the final minute, but rookie kicker Brady Leach missed a 43-yard field goal.
Leach was able to hit his first career field goal in the third quarter — a 20-yard make to trim Washington’s lead to 17-3.
UND was led by John Santiago in the first half. The senior running back had nine carries for 46 yards in the first half. He finished with 139 yards on 18 carries.
Santiago’s backup, Brady Oliveira, didn’t play in the first half. The reason was unknown at halftime.
Washington, which lost a Top 10 showdown with Auburn in Atlanta last week, bumped its lead to 10-0 on a Peyton Henry 29-yard field goal with 3:32 left in the first quarter.
UND’s passing game was able to complete a good portion of passes in the first half (12-for-18), but the Hawks weren’t able to hit on many deep ones as Ketteringham finished the opening half with 81 yards.
The Hawks were able to put pressure on Browning, but the veteran was able to escape harm and extend plays. UND safety Hayden Galvin intercepted Browning late in the first half, while cornerback Hayden Blubaugh picked Browning again in the third quarter.
Washington was finally able to build separation to satisfy its fans late in the third quarter.
Cade Otton ran in from a yard out to give the Huskies a 24-3 advantage with 3:35 left in the third.
UND finished with 161 rushing yards and 101 through the air as Ketteringham completed 17 of 33 passes with no interceptions.
Washington finished with 437 passing yards, 313 from Browning. The Huskies also rushed for 195 yards.