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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.