Oct. 16, 2004
Although the Washington Huskies lost 29-14 to Oregon State on Saturday the football team may have found a new weapon. After falling behind 6-0 in the first quarter, the Huskies called on sophomore quarterback Isaiah Stanback to spark the offense.
Frustrated in the beginning of the season by a nagging injury and a lack of playing time, Stanback finally got his chance and he made the most of it.
"I was frustrated that I got hurt and that I didn't get the opportunity to get back in the game," says Stanback. "This is the first week I could really come in here and just bust my butt. I got my number called and I was just trying to come in and fill the position."
On Washington's first drive of the second quarter Stanback led the Huskies 62 yards, capped by a 23-yard touchdown pass to Quintin Daniels. It was Stanback's first career touchdown pass as a Husky.
Washington's next possession started on Oregon State's 32-yard line after a blocked punt by Tim Galloway. Stanback was on the way to leading Washington to another score before a fumble on the six yard line, the third of seven turnovers in the game, stopped the drive prematurely.
"We beat ourselves a lot, " says Stanback. "Not taking anything away from Oregon Styate, they're a great team, but we got down there on the goal line and fumbled twice. When you're playing from behind and you turn it over, it's tough."
Although Stanback and his teammates made many mistakes which changed the momentum of the game, Stanback's contributions kept Washington in the game and raised the crowd to it's feet on numerous occasions. Stanback showed the ability to throw the ball down field, avoid pressure and the ability to improvise on the run.
"He did very well," says wide reciever Sonny Shackelford on the Garfield High School graduate. "He came in and helped the team a whole bunch. He came in and played as a great quarterback should. Isaiah is a playmaker. That's what the coaches want out of him, to make plays and get first downs and touchdown, and he did that."
"He has a great ability to be able to move out of pocket and has the arm to throw it downfield and throw across his body. That's the makings of a great quarterback."
And it's not like Stanback was doing all this against a second-rate opponent. Although the Beavers entered the game 1-4, their defense is a tough match for any team. They entered the game allowing only two conversions in 33 attempts by opponents when it was third down and nine or longer all season long. Stanback managed to convert three of those situations himself.
"I feel good I had some plays but I didn't do it by myself," says Stanback. "Coaches give you the plays and you kind of put your own little twist to it. As long as it comes out positive nobody is asking questions."
Coach Keith Gilbertson praised the play of Stanback but he was also cautious of his youthful quarterback.
"I thought he did some really, really good things, and there were other things that I wish he hadn't have done," says Gilbertson. "For the most part of the game he gave us some spark and lift. After the turnovers and the interceptions he pretty much came off the bench and moved us. That's his style of play. He's going to do some things that you don't like but he's also going to do some things that you're going to just say, `Wow; nice play.'"
After Saturday's effort against the Beavers, Husky fans can look forward to seeing many more nice plays from Stanback.