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September 17, 2012

Huskies go into Pac-12 play 2-1




It was a bounce back from LSU to head into bye week on a good note.

Saturday, the Washington Huskies beat the Portland State Vikings 52-13 at CenturyLink Field in Seattle. They're now 2-1 going into a bye week as they prepare to face Stanford to kick off Pac-12 play.

"When you have the week we had last week, you can get maybe a little tentative or a bit gun shy when you're concerned about the way you're capable of playing the game, and I thought our guys came out with a great deal of energy, really good execution, to start the ball game," head coach Steve Sarkisian said.

The Husky momentum began early as PSU decided to try an onside kick to start the game. Not only was the ball recovered by UW's Justin Glenn, but PSU was penalized for illegal formation and an illegal block.

It only took one minute and 27 seconds of possession time for the Huskies to put six on the board with a 15-yard run from tailback Bishop Sankey.

PSU then went four and out immediately following.

And it took UW 40 seconds to get their second touchdown of the game, this time with a 20-yard pass from quarterback Keith Price to wide receiver DiAndre Campbell, his first career touchdown.

It looked like UW's momentum was finally slowing down when a long pass to Mickens was brought back by a 10-yard holding penalty following Price's sack and loss of 11 by linebacker Khalil Bass.

PSU had finally forced UW to punt on fourth and four.

Or did they?

The Huskies may have fooled everybody when they put in kicker Travis Coons instead of punter Korey Durkee. Both share number 46.

Coons was able to hit Sean Parker with a 16-yard pass to give Washington a first down.

Parker said Coons and him worked on that play a lot this week, even after practice.

The fake punt resulted in a drive that ended with a three-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Kasen Williams.

The Vikings finally had a chance to put some points on the board with a field goal, but Shaq Thompson wouldn't let that happen. The PSU field goal, blocked by Thompson, was returned 79 yards by Tre Watson for another Husky touchdown.

This was the first time Washington had returned a blocked field goal for a touchdown since the 2001 game against Michigan.

Tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins was called for two major penalties during Saturday's game. Neither were detrimental to the Huskies. His first, holding, came before Coons faked the punt. His second, a false start, was then countered by a 40-yard reception from Price and a subsequent 16-yard touchdown reception.

Again, PSU had the ball and a chance to make something happen.

Quarterback Kieran McDonagh, however, fumbled the ball off a snap and made a quick pass decision that resulted in cornerback Marcus Peters intercepting the ball and running it 21 yards for the touchdown.

A 41-yard field goal by Coons ended the first half with the score UW 45, PSU 0, tying the school record for most points in a half.

But with six penalties at halftime, Sarkisian wasn't pleased with what he described as "immaturity."

"There's a style and fashion which we play the game that is us and it was a point of emphasis this week and obviously didn't completely hit home," Sarkisian said. "Until we understand what it means to play smart football, executing at a high level, play disciplined football," it will continue to be emphasized.

Williams said the scoreboard didn't matter at that point because, regardless, they need to play smart football.

In response to the penalties, Price said that there were just some things that they didn't need to do.

"The things we were getting penalized for were not our style," Price said. "We just got to make sure that we keep our head and continue to play."

So Washington headed into the locker room with a 45-point lead. When they emerged again at the start of the third quarter, they were ready to add to that lead.

It took the Huskies just over four minutes to add to the score. Sankey had a six-yard run for a touchdown, and with the point after, the Huskies wouldn't score again for the remainder of the game.

The Vikings responded with a 70-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Nevin Lewis. The point after was then blocked by Peters, and the score was UW 52, PSU 6.

Washington started their next drive with a quarterback change. Redshirt freshman Derrick Brown finished the game for the Huskies.

The Husky offense didn't look quite the same without Price, but Sarkisian said it's not fair to completely judge Brown on his performance Saturday because it's hard to get a true evaluation of him as a player in the situation he was facing.

The experience getting snaps, being in the huddle and understanding game day setting was good for Brown, Sarkisian said. Maybe even the experience of throwing a pick.

After an interception thrown by Brown, Portland State was able to capitalize and McDonagh scored their second and final touchdown of the game with a four-yard run.

And so the score would remain UW 52, PSU 13 as the clock expired and the crowd had almost disappeared.

The win gave the Huskies a step in the right direction.

"Our guys came out with a chip on their shoulder," Price said. "We were embarrassed last week and we just need to get back on the right track."

Williams said he didn't think they had confidence going into Saturday's game, but this win gave them that confidence.

Sankey agrees, adding that the win gives them something good to build off of going into Pac-12 play.

It seems like focusing on themselves this week may have helped get their minds right. There was a sense of cohesiveness that appeared to impact decision-making and playing style; and ultimately, the win.

"It wasn't about the offense and it wasn't about the defense. It was about our team," Sarkisian said.

Quick hits:

Day of firsts:

- Dexter Charles (LG) and Mike Criste (RT) made their first career starts on the offensive line.

- DiAndre Campbell made his first start at wide receiver. He also got his first career touchdown.

- Bishop Sankey passed the 100-yard rushing mark for the first time in his career with 103 yards.

- Marvin Hall saw action for the first time as a Husky with his 20-yard punt return.

- Derrick Brown completed his first career pass in the fourth quarter. The reception, a 16-yarder, to Marvin Hall was also Hall's first reception.

- Shane Brostek saw his first action as a Husky in the third series of the game.

Nine true freshmen have now played this season.

Justin Glenn had an interception.

Danny Shelton, who was shook up during a play, will be OK, Sarkisian said.

Sarkisian said he doesn't know the severity of Colin Tanigawa's knee injury.

Total offense (yards): UW 429, PSU 261.

Keith Price went 14/19, 181 yards, 3 touchdowns and a sack.

Derrick Brown went 2/5, 23 yards and an interception.

Bishop Sankey rushed for 103 yards. Erich Wilson II rushed for 75 yards. Dezden Petty rushed for 62 yards.

Kasen Williams had six receptions for 69 yards and a touchdown. Austin Seferian-Jenkins had five receptions for 78 yards and a touchdown. DiAndre Campbell had two receptions for 28 yards and a touchdown. Sean Parker, Marvin Hall, Michael Hartvigson and Evan Hudson also had receptions.

Korey Durkee only had to punt twice for a total of 66 yards.


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