To rattle an undersized, outmanned and often-times confused Portland State defense for more than 100 rushing yards was one thing.
But to back it up with a career-high 144 yards rushing against the nation’s top rushing defense – and arguably the meanest, thickest front seven in the Pacific-12 Conference in Stanford – is a whole different accomplishment.
Maybe Bishop Sankey isn’t the weak link in the University of Washington’s pass-first offense.
Maybe the Spokane product is steadily developing into a top-quality tailback in the Pac-12 the more carries he receives.
Receiver Kasen Williams might have won it with his 35-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown with just under five minutes to go, but Sankey’s 61-yard TD jaunt on the final play of the third quarter certainly restored the buzz on the UW sideline.
The Huskies upset the eighth-ranked Cardinal, 17-13, on Thursday night at CenturyLink Field.
UW coach Steve Sarkisian said he liked the second-level matchups for his playmakers once they got through Stanford’s “armored front” – one that had allowed just 125 rushing yards total in three games before the Sankey invasion.
Leading up to his big play, Sankey dealt with his share of 2- and 3-yard carries.
But after quarterback Keith Price’s 10-yard pass to Williams left the offense 1 yard short of a first down at the Huskies’ 39, Sarkisian decided to go for it on fourth down.
Sankey went off right guard against nine Stanford defenders in the box, darted through a hole and found daylight.
The only man remaining to beat was free safety Ed Reynolds, and Sankey gave him enough of a wiggle that when the junior lunged at him, he touched nothing but air.
“I saw a glimpse of him … stepped out of his (reach),” Sankey said. “After that, it was off to the races.”
What has changed in the three weeks Sankey has become the full-time tailback?
“I feel like I am learning to be more patient as a runner, just weighing my options out before I decide to pick a hole,” Sankey said.
This was a game meant for UW linebacker Thomas Tutogi, who seems to shine against rushing attacks who come straight at him.
Tutogi led the Huskies with 10 tackles – six of them solo – and he was a big reason that Stanford running back Stepfan Taylor went nowhere, rushing for 75 yards on 21 carries.
“I was hoping for the (straight-into-the-middle running) all night,” Tutogi said. “And I got it a couple of times, and had to do my job.”
PUYALLUP’S GARNETT PLAYS AS FRESHMAN
Josh Garnett’s top goal leaving Puyallup High was to play as a true freshman at Stanford.
And he is one of three newcomers playing on the offensive line.
On Thursday, Garnett played six plays – four in the Cardinal’s seven-linemen sets, and during both field-goal attempts.
“We probably have one of the most confusing offenses in the nation, and I have learned a lot being in that package – being that second right guard – from seeing these older guys who are going to be great NFL linemen someday.” Garnett said. “But I am still confused, honestly. I take it day-by-day.”
Sophomore James Atoe became the fourth different starter at right tackle Thursday for the UW this season. Shane Brostek took over at Atoe’s right-guard spot. … Tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins, from Gig Harbor, caught two passes, and now has 63 receptions for his career. The all-time record for a tight end is 67, set by John Brady. … Placekicker Travis Coons made his first start at punter. He was the first to make a field goal (44-yarder) and punt in the same game since Jared Ballman did against Oregon State in email@example.com 253-597-8442 blogs.thenewstribune.com/uw #ManyHatsMilles