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Washington football: Huskies manage 17-16 win over Hawaii

It was ugly. It was frustrating. It was a win. It was assumed that Washington would roll over a Hawaii team that won one game in 2013. But (somehow) the Huskies came away with a road victory over a Hawaii team that wanted desperately to win.

Washington's John Ross III (1) runs away from Hawaii's Damian Packer (43) and Julian Gener (28).
Washington's John Ross III (1) runs away from Hawaii's Damian Packer (43) and Julian Gener (28).
Marco Garcia-USA TODAY Sports

The beginning was, shall we say, anticlimactic.

The 25th-ranked Washington Huskies eked out a 17-16 victory over the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors in Honolulu, starting the Chris Petersen era with a whimper instead of a bang.

In a microcosm of the game, redshirt freshman Lavon Coleman got the clinching first down by mere inches. Replays showed his left foot may have been out of bounds, but redshirt sophomore quarterback Jeff Lindquist got the snap off quickly enough to eliminate the possibility of a review of the play.

Hawaii jumped to a quick 10-0 lead on a pounding offensive attack lead by running back Joey Iosefa and timely passing first downs by quarterback Ikaika Woosley. The Washington defense looked soft

The Huskies offense looked rusty, like they haven't played a game before.

Because they hadn't.

It was the first game for quarterback Jeff Lindquist and the first under Petersen. Passed were dropped. Blocks were missed. Things were beginning to get stressful for the team in all-white.

Then Washington got one stop. One defensive stop was all they needed to get going.

It wasn't a real stop, though. Hawaii had kicked a 28-yard field goal to extend their lead to 10-0, and things started to look their bleakest.

But Lindquist got the ball with 3:22 left in the first quarter and promptly marched his team down the field for the first touchdown of the 2014 season. John Ross III scored on a 20-yard touchdown pass to cut Hawaii's lead to three.

Lindquist wasn't done, though.

In the second quarter after Washington made a 4th-down stop inside their own 10-yard line, the Mercer Island, Wash. product dialed up a bomb to Ross, who caught it at midfield and outran the Hawaii defenders to the end zone.

Washington added a field goal later in period the UW added a field goal to take a 17-10 lead and took it into the half.

But as exciting and well-played the first half was, the second half was just as boring and sloppy.

Lindquist couldn't hit the broad side of a barn. Woosley was just as inaccurate. Iosefa was unstoppable but under-utilized. It wasn't until under five minutes in the fourth quarter that Washington's depth finally made an appearance.

Coleman and the UW offensive line began to push back the Hawaii defenders. First-down runs of 11 and 13 and a third-down run of nine yards sealed the victory for Washington, and sealed Petersen's first win as a Husky.

Lindquist finished 10/26 for 162 yards and a touchdown. Here's the key: no turnovers. Iosefa finished with 30 carries for 143 yards and a touchdown. Here's the key: one touchdown.

This game was very hard to watch, especially for Huskies fans. But they did this: when they had to stand up and make a play and secure the win, they did. When the defense desperately needed a stop, it got one. When the offense desperately need a first down, it got one. That confidence, that will to win will take this team further than a simple drubbing would.