BOISE, Idaho (AP) Chris Petersen tried to stay out of the limelight in his return to Boise.
The Washington coach very quietly made his way into Albertsons Stadium and the famous blue turf on Friday night before the Huskies opened the season against No. 23 Boise State.
Wearing sunglasses and a purple sweater, Petersen tried to slip quietly into stadium when the Huskies arrived via bus a little more than two hours before kickoff. Those that saw him showered the Huskies coach with chants of ”Pete” as he walked into the stadium on game day for the first time as a visitor.
With cameras waiting outside the tunnel to the visitors’ locker room, Petersen came onto the field at 7:35 p.m., about 50 minutes before kickoff. He was greeted by warm applause from the Washington fans in the crowd and the Boise State fans that realized he was on the field and appeared to wave toward the Broncos student section in the crowd.
Petersen was surrounded by cameras but tried to avoid making a scene so much that he didn’t have any pregame interaction with Boise State coach Bryan Harsin, his former assistant with the Broncos. Petersen started moving toward midfield and the Boise State coaching staff, but changed his mind and lingered in Washington’s half of the field.
Petersen again acknowledged the crowd behind the Washington bench when the Huskies took the field before kickoff but there was no other acknowledgement of his time or success at Boise State.
”I don’t want to wish this whole thing away. We only get so many games and the opening game is always an exciting game for everybody involved,” Petersen said leading up to the game. ”I’m trying to look at it in a real positive way. Playing a really good team and going to a great environment in college football. Those are all good things, so let’s go enjoy this thing.”