Sunday, November 11, 2012

Huskies send seniors out with a 34-15 win over Utah!

By  Kshell

For the third straight season the Washington Huskies(6-4,4-3) are going to a bowl game as they defeated the Utah Utes(4-6, 2-5) 34-15. The Huskies for the fourth straight year under Steve Sarkisian sent their seniors out with a win on senior night. For some of these seniors they started off their career going 0-12. To see them enjoy success at the end of their career has been nice to witness.

 Another great thing to witness was the return of Keith Price who looked like the 2011 Price. Price was the star today completing 24-33 passes for a season high 277 yards with two touchdowns. He also added a rushing touchdown and most importantly didn't turn the ball over. Price was also helped by the ground game as Bishop Sankey ran for 162 yards on a career high 36 carries with two touchdowns. Sankey also became just the 11th running back in UW history to go over 1,000 yards. During the game for the Huskies Austin Seferian-Jenkins set the Husky career receptions record by a tight end with 96 career receptions. For the Huskies this was easily their best game of the season as they finally got to play a team with a losing record. The Huskies will now head off on the road the next two weeks against two teams who are a combined 3-17.

After two Huskies drives stalled the Utes took over for their second drive of the game from their own 36 yard line. Facing a third and nine freshman quarterback Travis Wilson would throw an incomplete pass. On that play the Huskies were flagged for a personal foul penalty blow to the head which extended the Utes drive to the Huskies 46 yard line. After a gain of zero by John White the Utes would take their first lead over the Huskies in the last two seasons. White would take the hand off and go right up the middle for the 46 yard touchdown. The Utes then did a fake extra point as tight end Jake Murphy ran in the two point conversation to give the Utes an 8-0 lead over the Huskies.

The Huskies offense would stall out the quarter as the Utes led 8-0. Starting the second quarter from their own 32 yard line facing a second and 12 Price would connect over the middle to Seferian-Jenkins for a gain of 17 yards to their own 49 yard line. On the following play on play action Price would throw across field to senior Cody Bruns for a gain of 19 yards to the Utes 32 yard line. Sankey would rush for four yards on the following play. Price would hit Sankey over the middle for a gain of 13 yards down to the Utes 15 yard line. Price would hit Kasen Williams for a gain of three on a quick hitter. Sankey would rush for four yards setting up a third and three from the eight. Price would roll to his right then find Williams who made an incredible diving catch dragging both feet while hanging onto to the ball for the touchdown. The Huskies would trail 8-7 after the score.

After a horrible penalty on fair catch interference the Utes had great field position on their own 49 yard line. White would rush for five yards then Wilson would complete a pass to Kenneth Scott for 13 yards to the Huskies 33 yard line. Wilson would throw an incomplete pass on first down, then White would rush up the middle for a loss of one. On third and 11 Wilson attempted a throw but Huskies linebacker John Timu jumped the pass and returned the interception 13 yards to the Huskies 33 yard line.

That was the first turnover of the ball game as the Utes failed to take advantage of their great field position. For the Huskies who often lose the turnover battle it was a chance for them to take advantage of another teams mistake. Timu like he did against Oregon State baited the quarterback and then got in position to jump the route. The Huskies defense this year has been quite good at picking off passes as this was the first momentum changer of the game.

The Huskies start off by Price hitting tight end Evan Hudson who lined up in the backfield for a gain of six yards to the 39 yard line. Sankey would rush for nine yards to the 45 yard line. Facing third and nine from their 49 yard line Price would go deep to freshman Jaydon Mickens. This time Mickens would hang on as he stumbled down to the four yard line. Mickens would pick up 47 yards on that reception which to date has been the biggest play of his career. After a Sankey run of no gain, Price would attempt a pass to his tall tight end Seferian-Jenkins but the Ute defender batted it down. Facing a third and goal from the four Price found nobody open so he decided to take off as he dove into the end zone for the Huskies touchdown. For Price that was his first rushing touchdown of the year as the Huskies led 14-8 which is what they'd lead at halftime 14-8.

The Utes opened the half on their own 34 yard line. White would rush for three yards to their own 37 yard line. On second and seven Wilson completed a five yard pass but the Utes committed a 10 yard penalty making it second and 12. White would rush for  up the middle for nine yards to their own 41 yard line. On third and three the Utes would go back to White who ran for two yards setting up a fourth and one from their own 43 yard line. Kyle Whittingham decided to go for it on fourth and one. Timu would blow the play up and tackle White a chain length away from the first down as the Huskies would take over from the Utes 43 yard line.

The Utes would jump offsides as the Huskies had a first and five from the 38 yard line. On second down Price would connect with Williams for a gain of five yards down to the 33 yard line. Price on the following play would find Seferian-Jenkins on the left side for a gain of 24 yards down to the Utes nine yard line. Price looking like the Price of last year was in a groove on the following play would hit junior DiAndre Campbell over the middle for a nine yard touchdown pass giving the Huskies a 21-8 lead over the Utes. For Price that was his second touchdown pass of the game and for Campbell that was his second touchdown reception of the season.

The Utes would respond to that score as the Huskies reeled off 21 consecutive points. Starting from their own 39 yard line White would rush for five yards to the 44 yard line. On the following play White would rush for six yards to the 50 yard line. After three short runs the Utes would go for it once again on fourth and one this time from the Huskies 41 yard line. This time White would get the first down rushing for three yards to the 38 yard line. On second down Wilson would connect with Dres Anderson for a gain of 18 yards to the 20 yard line. Following play White would rush to the right for a 20 yard touchdown. That would be White's second rushing touchdown of the game as it cut the lead to 21-15 as the Utes were hoping for the comeback.

After the Huskies punted, Utes punt returner Charles Henderson fumbled the ball. Jamaal Kearse recovered the fumble on the Utes 46 yard line. Price would roll to his right and it would appear he was throwing it away instead he was throwing it high. Seferian-Jenkins would come down with the reception for 29 yards to the 17 yard line. On second down Price would hit Seferian-Jenkins on a quick receiver screen as Seferian-Jenkins would run for 10 yards setting up a first and goal from the seven. Sankey would take the hand off to the right for a gain of five yards setting up a second and goal from the two. On second down the Huskies would give it to Sankey again on a toss sweep to the left as Sankey sprinted to the corner for the touchdown. The Huskies would go for two as Price completed a pass to Seferian-Jenkins who was just short of the goal line. The Huskies led 27-15 going into the fourth quarter.

After a Kasen Williams fumble the Utes had the ball on their own 48 yard line. This was the Huskies first turnover of the game. White would be stopped for a loss of two on first down. Wilson would throw an incomplete pass. On third down, Wilson would fumble the ball pick it up then be sacked by Travis Feeney for a loss of six yards. The Utes were forced to punt as they pinned the Huskies on their own 18 yard line. That was the Utes last chance to win this game.

The Huskies were about to go on a 16 play 82 yard drive that took up 8 minutes and 50 seconds off the clock. After an incompletion Price would complete a pass to Kendyl Taylor for a gain of seven yards setting up third and eight from their own 20 yard line after a five yard penalty. Price would attempt a pass to the left but the Utes were ready for it so Price saw there was a huge opening to his right and ran for 11 yards to their own 31 yard line. Sankey would rush for five yards to the 36 yard line. On third and five from the 36 yard line Price again would take off to run to his right for a gain of seven yards to the 43 yard line. The Utes then would commit a five yard penalty giving the Huskies first and five from their own 48 yard line.

Sankey would rush for seven yards then six yards. After a short gain by Sankey the Huskies were facing a third and two from the Utes 37 yard line. Price would hit Seferian-Jenkins who would make his defender miss for a gain of four yards and the first down. On third and nine from the 32 yard line Price would throw it to his left as Seferian-Jenkins made the diving catch for a gain of eight yards making it fourth and one. The Utes would jump offsides giving the Huskies a first down at the Utes 18 yard line. Sankey would rush for four more yards to the 14. Then Sankey would rush to the left for 10 yards. On first and goal from the four yard line Sankey would rush up the middle for his second touchdown of the game. The Huskies would lead 34-15 with 4:34 left in the game.

The Huskies would win the game 34-15 over the Utes in a game that was similar to last year. The Huskies outgained the Utes 437-188 and also won the turnover battle. Price was 24-33 passing(72.7%) for 277 yards(8.4 YPA) with two touchdowns passing and one rushing.

 Austin Seferian-Jenkins caught seven passes for 99 yards(14.1 YPC) as he set the record for most career receptions for a Husky tight end. Kasen Williams caught seven passes for 73 yards(10.4 YPC) with a terrific touchdown grab. Jaydon Mickens caught one pass for 47 yards. Cody Bruns caught two passes for 23 yards. DiAndre Campbell caught one pass for nine yards with the touchdown. Bishop Sankey ran for 162 yards on 36 carries(4.5 YPC) with two touchdowns. He also caught four passes for 13 yards.

For the Utes they were led by John White who ran for 142 yards on 22 carries(6.5 YPC) with two touchdowns. The Utes had been previously 11-0 when he rushes for over 100 yards which wasn't the case today. Quarterback Travis Wilson really struggled as he was only 8-23(34.8%) passing for 55 yards(2.4 YPA) with an interception. He was also sacked four times. The Utes had just nine first downs and were 1-13 on third downs as their offense was horrible.

For the Huskies this was a good home win. Their defense played well against a team who coming into this game had scored 98 points the previous two weeks. The offense finally scored more than 21 points against a D-1 opponent this year. The Huskies are bowl eligible for the third straight season with this victory and for the second straight season have lost only one game at home. The Huskies finish their season on the road the next two weeks where they have only won two road games the last two years. The good news is the two weeks are against Colorado(1-9, 1-6) and Washington State(2-8, 0-7) as the Huskies should be heavy favorites in both games.


- Austin Seferian-Jenkins had another incredible game to go along with his incredible season. First of all besides having a great game on offense Seferian-Jenkins was playing third down defensive end due to injuries on the Huskies defensive ends. He was playing two ways and still had a monster game. Seferian-Jenkins finished with seven receptions for 99 yards. He made several big plays and one in particular where Price threw it up there and Seferian-Jenkins just came down with it.

Seferian-Jenkins on the season has 55 receptions for 729 yards(13.3 YPC) with four touchdowns. He is the Huskies tight end record holder for most career receptions now with 96, yards at 1,273 and tied for first with 10 touchdowns. He also has the single season receptions record with 55 and counting this year. He currently is trailing Dave Williams by 66 yards for the single season receiving yardage record as well. Seferian-Jenkins is only a sophomore so he'll have one more year at least to shatter all the records.

- Kasen Williams enjoyed a fine game catching seven passes for 73 yards with a touchdown. Kasen again was Price go to receiver as he made several big plays. No play was bigger than his diving eight yard touchdown reception. At first it was unclear if it was a touchdown but when you saw the replay it was an NFL touchdown as he dragged both feet.

Williams on the year has 56 receptions for 620 yards(11.1 YPC) with five touchdowns. All five touchdowns this year have been at home. With 11 career touchdowns Williams is currently tied for 14th all-time in touchdown receptions in Washington history. Williams is only a sophomore so he'll have a chance to rack up more numbers. Williams is having a great season this year and once again was the main receiver for Price.

- This game for the first time all year the Huskies found some contributions from guys other than Williams and Seferian-Jenkins. Jaydon Mickens had a big 47 yard reception which he held onto unlike last week. That reception set up a touchdown. Cody Bruns caught two passes for 23 yards but his 19 yard reception set up a touchdown. Tight end Evan Hudson had a six yard reception on a touchdown drive as well. DiAndre Campbell caught a nine yard touchdown pass. Combined those four caught five passes for 85 yards with a touchdown. Not jaw dropping statistics but the Huskies needed that. Price likes to spread the ball around as shown by last year. He isn't that type of quarterback who only focuses on one or two guys. These other guys must step up consistently for the Huskies offense to thrive as they did today.

- Former Huskies head coach Jim Lambright was at the game. Lambright played for the Huskies from 1960-1964. He led the Huskies to the Rose Bowl his senior year earning all conference honors. He later became an assistant for the Huskies under Jim Owens then Don James. Lambright was an assistant for the Huskies from 1969-1976. In 1977 Don James promoted him to defensive coordinator where he was defensive coordinator for the Huskies until 1992. As defensive coordinator Lambright won four rose bowls, an Orange Bowl and a national championship in 1991. Due to James retiring so suddenly Lambright took over as head coach from 1993-98. As head coach Lambright was 44-25-1(.637) and 31-16-1(.659) in conference as the Huskies were co Pac-10 champions in 1995. Lambright was a great Husky and it is always nice to see him enjoying the games.

- Bishop Sankey once again had another great game. He carried the ball 36 times for 162 yards(4.5 YPC) with two touchdowns. He also caught four passes for 13 yards. Sankey wasn't supposed to be the starter this year but when Jesse Callier went down he has stepped up. Sankey has destroyed good rush defenses like Stanford, Oregon State and now Utah.

For the year Sankey has ran for 1,017 yards on 212 carries(4.8 YPC) with 13 rushing touchdowns. Sankey has became just the 11th running back in Washington history to go over 1,000 yards. His 13 rushing touchdowns eclipses Chris Polk's 12 of last season. In fact Sankey's 13 rushing touchdowns puts him tied for fifth all-time in school history for a single season. He trails Rashaan Shehee by just two touchdowns for second all-time in a single season as Shehee ran for 15 in 1995. Sankey for those who remember was a Washington State Cougar commit then last minute switched to Washington. That is a move that Sankey and Husky fans are thankful for now.

- Keith Price played his best game of the season. He was 24-33 passing for a season high 277 yards with two touchdowns. He also ran for a touchdown and for only the third time all year he didn't turn the ball over. Price made big plays with his legs rushing for a touchdown and two crucial first downs. He also made big plays with his arm connecting on several key passes.

Price has struggled this year there is no doubt. He is now 201-330(60.9%) passing for 2,042 yards(6.2 YPA) with 11 touchdowns to 10 interceptions. Price also passed Cary Conklin and is 7th all-time in Huskies passing yardage history. Price is currently sitting in third place with 46 passing touchdowns as he trails Brock Huard and Jake Locker who have 53. Then Cody Pickett is the school record holder with 55. Many thought Price would pass that this year but most likely he'll have to wait next season for that.

- Desmond Trufant was a game-time decision but we all knew he was going to play. For Trufant to go out a winner in the stadium that his brother has played in for 10 years was pretty special. For Desmond he went out a winner and tomorrow he gets to watch his brother Marcus Trufant of the Seahawks host Isiah Trufant of the New York Jets on that same field. Trufant was asked to grow up quickly for the Huskies as he was the #1 corner since his freshman year. He struggled with that early on but this year has been a shut down corner. Teams don't even try to throw on him nor should they. Trufant just bats everything down in sight and is a big reason for this resurgence at Montlake defensively. The Huskies are going to miss Trufant who will have an incredible 48 hour period with his game then watching his two older brothers duke it out.

- For seniors like co-captain Drew Schaefer, Justin Glenn, and Cody Bruns I'm really happy for them. As true freshman they had to endure their first college football season without winning a single game as the Huskies went 0-12. Now they are part of a group that led the Huskies to three straight bowl appearances which seemed like a dream back in 2008. For Schaefer especially he has been an anchor on this offensive line and has provided leadership. Due to injures the Huskies have no seniors or even juniors on this offensive line. Schaefer was the lone upper classman and the Huskies went up against a Utah defensive line that features a future first round pick at defensive tackle. Schaefer handled his own and the Huskies for the fourth straight year under Schaefer as a starter produced a 1,000 yard rusher. The Huskies are going to miss Schaefer a lot on the offensive line next year.

- Steve Sarkisian is now 25-23 as a head coach in his career. He is also 3-0 since ditching the visor and going with his gray Husky hat. The Huskies are 6-4 against the second toughest schedule in the nation. The Huskies have also dealt with injuries yet if they win out as they should they'll go 8-4. That number is significant as the Huskies haven't won eight games since 2001. In fact since Don James retired the Huskies have only won eight games four times in the last 20 years.

I'm one of Sark's harshest critics but if he pulls off this 8-4 season and wins the bowl game to go 9-4 I'll give him credit for that. The Huskies are finding ways to win such as running the football and playing good defense. This is an entirely different team than just last year which shows Sarkisian has had to adjust as a coach. There are still plenty of things about the Sarkisian program that bother me but if he can pull this off I won't be complaining.

The Huskies did what they had to do which is earn the victory at home against a Utah team who hasn't won a road game all season long. The Huskies are now 5-1 this year at home and last year went 6-1 at home. The Huskies are starting to slowly build a homefield advantage once again as Sarkisian is now 19-7 now at home. With six of those defeats coming to ranked opponents such as Oregon(X 2), LSU, USC, Stanford and Nebraska. The Huskies are going to a bowl game which is always nice and after the seven year drought we had from 2003-09 should never be taken for granted. The Huskies are now looking to finish the season out on a five game winning streak putting them at 8-4. The Huskies have survived the hard part of their schedule now we'll see if they can take advantage of the soft part of the schedule.

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