Bishop Sankey ties Napoleon Kaufman’s Husky record for career rushing touchdowns, Washington romps for 530 yards – second-most in school history – and Deontae Cooper runs wild, too.
By Gregg Bell
UW Director of Writing
CORVALLIS, Ore. – Whoa!
The Huskies hadn't gone this wild in 69 years.
This unexpected day began with fretting over whether Keith Price’s sore shoulder would allow him to start.
It ended with Bishop Sankey romping like Napoleon Kaufman. With Deontae Cooper sprinting as if he’d never heard of the letters A-C-L. With Marcus Peters and Shaq Thompson intercepting, plus Cyler Miles impressing, in his first career start.
Price? He got a black parka, matching beanie -- and essentially a bye. He stood on the cold sideline, resting for Friday’s Apple Cup.
Sankey rushed for 179 yards, 158 in UW’s revitalizing first half and three touchdowns. Cooper gained 166 yards with two more scores, his best game of a career delayed by three different knee reconstructions in three years. The Huskies ran for 530 yards, their second-most ever in a game, during their 69-27 obliteration of Oregon State Saturday night at eventually deserted Reser Stadium.
"Man, that was loads of fun," said Sankey, whose three touchdowns leave him tied with Kaufman for the Huskies record for career rushing scores (34).
"We just wanted to come out here and let loose, have fun and just play,” Sankey said, while crediting his offensive line of Micah Hatchie, Dexter Charles, Mike Criste, Colin Tanigawa and Ben Riva for opening holes wider than I-5 that links Seattle to Corvallis. “I think that's what we did."
It was 48-0 after three quarters; the Beavers scored 27 points on Washington deep reserves in the final quarter. The 69 points were the most Washington had scored in a game in 69 years, since a 71-0 win in 1944 over Whitman.
The 69 points were also the fifth-most scored in a conference game -- that's stretching back through the Pac-10, Pac-8, even the old Pacific Coast Conference into the 1920s. It's the most the Huskies have scored in the 98 games played between these Northwest rivals.
So much for all that frustration that started this week, the bitter taste of last week’s loss at UCLA that the Huskies (7-4, 4-4 Pac-12) felt they should have won.
Washington can end a string of three consecutive, unfulfilling, seven-win seasons with a victory Friday at 12:30 p.m. at Husky Stadium in the Apple Cup against Washington State (6-5, 4-4).
"Really, really proud of our guys," coach Steve Sarkisian said. "They have a great deal of grit and resolve. I challenged them.”
Still, even Sarkisian was left to say: "I don't know if you could have ever predicted this."
Peters intercepted two passes, both forced by end Hau’oli Kikaha’s quarterback hits. Then Peters ripped the ball from a Beaver for a third of four turnovers forced by the Huskies. The other one: Shaq Thompson stepped in front of an out route and ran 80 yards the other way down a rollicking Huskies sidelines for an interception to make it 48-0 late in the third quarter.
The swarming defense throttled quarterback Sean Mannion and the nation’s No. 2 passing offense. UW held the Beavers to under 200 yards in the air until garbage time, a fourth quarter played in front of maybe 3,000 fans.
“We just wanted to have an onslaught on the ball,” said Peters, who has been suburb against the run and the pass for most of this his sophomore season. “Coach said he wanted us to be plus-10 for month in turnovers. Tonight we were plus-4.
He had company. When the Reser Stadium public-address system blared House of Pain’s “Jump Around” during the third quarter, the entire Huskies roster jumped up and down as if on pogo sticks. It looked like a giant, all-white-and-gold-helmets rave.
Actually, the entire night did. The Huskies were jumping around on the sideline more than usual even before kickoff.
Sankey started the runaway, fittingly. The junior has 1,575 yards for the season. He needs 121 in the next two games, including UW’s fourth bowl in four seasons, to break Corey Dillon’s single-season rushing record at Washington set in 1996.
Third-string running back Dwayne Washington added 141 yards on 11 carries, including a 71-yard touchdown late in this cleansing rout.
This is the second game in UW history with three 100-yard rushers. The other time was 1996 against San Jose State, the day Dillon ran for an NCAA-record 222 yards in the first quarter.
Miles completed 15 of 24 passes for 162 yards and a touchdown, an exquisite, leaping, twisting catch in the back of the end zone by Kevin Smith that made 27-0 midway through the second quarter.
The Huskies led 14-0 just 4:04 into the game. After a 62-yard return of the opening kickoff by freshman John Ross, Miles completed his first two passes in the redshirt freshman’s first career start. Sankey ran in from 3 yards out.
Then after the first of four three-and-out drives for the Huskies’ defense in the half, Sankey bulled through two Beavers to score from 5 yards. It was his 33rd career rushing score.
Oregon State (6-5, 4-4) lost its fourth straight, and avoided the first shutout in this series since 1979 with a score with 14 minutes left.
Price’s streak of 25 consecutive starts dating to a November 2011 game here ended, but not without some second thoughts. Throwing in full pads 45 minutes before the game, Price was winging the ball more freely than any time before his injury eight days earlier at UCLA.
“Feelin’ great,” Price said on the field. “God always has a plan.”
Sarkisian said the pregame show was better than Price had thrown Thursday in his only test in practice of the shoulder this week. But ultimately Sarkisian decided Miles had prepared all week to be the starter, and if UW could get away with more rest for Price entering the Apple Cup by running wild against the Beavers that would be the ideal scenario.
Ideal turned out to be historic.
Miles was effective standing deep in a pocket formed by the line’s stonewalling of the Beavers – he wasn’t sacked – and by taking off on more designed runs than Price usually does. Jeff Lindquist finished up at quarterback in the fourth quarter.
The 530 yards rushing – 29 off the team record from that 1996 San Jose State game – didn’t hurt ease Miles into his first career start, either.
“That’s a big part of our offense,” the redshirt freshman from Denver said. “It does take a lot of the pressure off.
“It helps a lot.”
Cooper called his first 100-yard rushing game, which included a 70-yard sprint, “awesome.” After the long run he bulled in from 2 yards to make it 41-0 with 3:55 left in the third quarter. The entire offense, all 10 teammates, ran over to him under the goal post to hug and congratulate the most popular Husky student-athlete in years.
He credited Sarkisian for sticking with him through the three reconstructive knee surgeries in as many summers and each subsequent comeback.
“I love Coach Sark. He’s been behind me all the way,” Cooper said. “After everything I’ve been through, it’s awesome.”