The Washington Huskies(2-0) have extended their winning streak to six games with a 40-32 win over the Hawaii Warriors(1-1). The Huskies under third year coach Steve Sarkisian had a much more prolific offensive output led by his sophomore quarterback Keith Price. Price making only his third career start threw for 315 yards and four touchdowns. Price completed a pass to nine different receivers as he was sharing the wealth all game long. When Price wasn't hitting passes the Huskies were pounding the run with Chris Polk who ran for 107 yards with a touchdown. That was Polk's fourth straight 100 yard rushing performance and sixth straight game over 90 yards. The Warriors almost came back from a 21-0 deficit led by quarterback Bryant Moniz who threw for 333 yards. The Huskies made just enough plays to hang onto the lead. The Huskies improve to 2-0 for the first time since the 2007 season and 2-0 at home for the first time since 2006.
The Huskies opened up the game using their freshman tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins. On the opening play of the game Price on a play action pass hit the talented tight end for a gain of 30 yards. Then on the following play he hit Seferian-Jenkins again for a gain of 47 yards. The Huskies then ran Chris Polk for his first touchdown of the season from two yards out. The Huskies like they did last week jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead. Then the Warriors offense took over and they were driving themselves behind talented quarterback Moniz. Moniz then hit Royce Pollard for a gain of 41 yards but then a Husky defender poked the ball out from behind taking over possession on the five yard line.
At halftime the Huskies led 28-14 and had dominated the Warriors as well. The Huskies had a 17-8 first downs advantage and 370 total yards to the Warriors 176. Price was a star in the first half completing 13-17(76.5%) passes for 272 yards with three touchdownds and that one interception. Aguilar had four receptions for 126 yards with a touchdown. Kearse had two receptions for 30 yards and two touchdowns in the first half. Chris Polk had 54 yards(4.9 YPC) on 11 carries with a touchdown. For the Warriors they were led by Moniz who was 12-17 passing for 154 yards. If not for the interception return the Huskies would be blowing away the Warriors. In the second half that would be a different story as the Warriors offense finally started to click while the Huskies offense did just enough to survive.
All in all, the Huskies are 2-0 for the first time since 2007. The Huskies offense is averaging 35 points a game despite breaking in a new quarterback era. Price has seven touchdown passes already which Locker didn't accomplish last year until the fourth game. The Huskies have several weapons on offense which is why no individual receiver will have big numbers but as a whole they will put up more points than they did last season. The Huskies took care of business and now face the Nebraska Cornhuskers in Lincoln, Nebraska next week on ABC. The Huskies defense has a lot of work to be done but the offense unlike last week was clicking. Sarkisian also went over .500 for the first time as Huskies coach since the third game of his career. He is now 14-13 which considering he took over an 0-12 program is pretty good. The Huskies have now won six games in a row and have a good balance with the pass and run. The Huskies offense stepped up today and answered every Hawaii score with a score of their own which is what winning teams do.
Polk has 13 career 100 yard rushing performances including four in a row. The two running backs ahead of Polk in that category are Doak Walker award winner Greg Lewis(1987-1990) with 15 and legendary running back Napoleon Kaufman(1991-1994) with 17. If the Huskies plan on having the type of season they are envisioning Polk should pass up Kaufman this season. Polk has been a great Husky and I'm happy to see him overcome his injury. He is a power back who very rarely has the first tackler bring him down. I expect to see a ton of Polk next week in the hostile Nebraska.
The ability to have a tight end is so important because of Seferian-Jenkins setting the tone first series the Huskies passing attack was able to click. Then when the Huskies only up 31-26 needed a big play Price threw the ball high and in the back of the end zone as the 6'7" Seferian-Jenkins made the touchdown reception to give the Huskies a 38-26 lead. As Price matures look for Seferian-Jenkins to be a big weapon in the red zone as he is so tall and athletic. Seferian-Jenkins in only his second career college game showed everyone why he was such a highly touted recruit coming out of high school.
- The Huskies have to execute better on third downs offensively and defensively moving forward. The Huskies on offense converted just 4-11(36.4%) on third downs while allowing Hawaii to convert 11-14(78.6%). Last week the Huskies were just 6-15(40.0%) on third downs while their opponent was 10-16(62.5%) on third downs. So in two games the Huskies are 10-26(38.4%) on third downs while their opponents are 21-30(70.0%) on third downs.
The good news is I doubt the Huskies allow that high of a conversion rate on third downs. The Huskies are 2-0 despite not being able to get off the field and offensively not extending the drives. If the Huskies can increase their third down percentage which I expect them to do as Price matures with the offense. Defensively if the Huskies want to have the season they expect which is a bowl season they obviously have to cut down that percentage. No defense even the Willingham era of terrible defenses allowed that high of a percentage so I expect that number to be reduced. Hopefully Nick Holt can have that percentage in the low 30%. If the defense can record some key stops the Huskies explosive offense has more opportunities to put the other team away.
Price playing with a knee brace so you've yet to see his mobility come into play. Price is very accurate and in the red zone is scoring touchdowns not settling for field goals. Price also showed off his arm this game hitting several long passes against Hawaii. Price completed six passes over 20 yards today against Hawaii. As Price keeps showing opponents he is a deadly threat with his arm look for defenses to be forced to play nickel defenses which should open up monster games from Chris Polk. The Price era is starting off as well as anyone could have hoped for at Washington.
In conclusion, this was a much better win than last week was. The Huskies outplayed the Warriors and beat them. There was no "cheap" win about it this week as the Huskies jumped out to a 21-0 lead over the Warriors. The Warriors are a decent team so of course they battled back but the Huskies never gave up the lead. Every time the Warriors scored the Huskies would immediately answer as the Warriors had zero possessions where they could potentionally take the lead. The Huskies offense scored 40 points something they only did once all of last season. For the Huskies to miss a bowl game they would have to go 3-7 the rest of the season and there is way too much talent in my opinion for that to even be possible. The Huskies went 2-0 on the part of the schedule everyone expected them to go 2-0 and now they play Nebraska in Nebraska then it's Pac-12 play after that. The Huskies offense looked great and hopefully the defense can soon follow. After being 0-12 or even more recently 3-6 last year it feels good to be talking about a six game winning streak. The Huskies are a program that is on the rise that is for sure.