PROVO -- Seasoned quarterback Kevin Feterik combined with some key freshmen Thursday night to lead BYU's football team to a season-opening victory over Washington, 35-28.
Feterik played superbly out of a new shotgun offense before a national ESPN TV audience and 65,726 fans who attended the game. The left handed senior threw for a personal-best 500 yards as he completed 39 of 59 passes and three touchdowns.
The game-winning score came off a 38-yard completion from Feterik, who was scrambling left with 1:16 on the clock and found freshman wide receiver Chris Hale open in the endzone. That TD sealed the come-from behind victory and was Hale's first catch as a collegian.
"He is like the energizer bunny in practice," said BYU defensive corner Heshi Robertson of Hale. "He just keeps going and going. You are going to see some good things from him."
Feterik threw his first TD to tie the game in the second quarter on a 16 yard strike to Jonathan Pittman. Midway through the second quarter, Feterik found Margin Hooks in the endzone to give the Cougars a lead they would hold until the fourth quarter.
Hooks caught eight passes for 141 yards to lead all receivers and was lauded by BYU Coach LaVell Edwards along with the play of Feterik and wide receiver Ben Horton.
"Hooks and Horton were outstanding," said Edwards, who won his 14th season opener in 28 tries. "I had a hunch we would make it on that fourth and 10 when Horton caught it and then made a nice move to keep our drive alive in the fourth quarter.
"Kevin got the ball out on time all night," said Edwards. "I felt good about our execution, it was pretty sharp for an opening ball game. We got what we wanted out of the shotgun."
New Washington Coach Rick Neuheisel also praised Feterik and his own quarterback.
Cougar team watches on from sideline (BYU Photo)
"I thought Marques Tuiasosopo emerged in the second half," said Neuheisel. "Everyone out there thought of him as a veteran, but the real veteran was Kevin Feterik who has played a lot of football and was magnificent."
Tuiasosopo sparked the Huskies in leading them to a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns, the last of which gave Washington the lead with five minutes left in the game. UW's first lead of the game came in the first quarter when the Huskies recovered a fumble in the endzone off a punt.
But Feterik's play kept BYU in the ball game along with timely running by freshmen Luke Staley and Naufau Tahi. Staley scored a pair of third quarter touchdowns. Feterik was 21 of 29 for 279 yards in the first half.
"We were trying to figure out who was wearing Kevin's uniform out there tonight," said BYU co-captain Rob Morris. "We thought we had Jimmy Mac (McMahon) back. You saw two quarterbacks at their best with Marques in the second half and Kevin for the whole game.
"They didn't run toward me tonight, but I don't care who makes the tackles," said Morris. "Our front line dominated them."
Feterik was pleased with his performance.
"We didn't have the confidence last year the way we do now," said Feterik. "We all feel we can move the ball at will. This is more of a system offense."