The usual teeter-totter of football, fall camp or regular season, happened again Saturday at Husky Stadum.
Beaten on Tuesday, the UW defense stood its ground Saturday.
Quarterback Jake Locker had five trips with the first-string offense against the No. 1 defense. One of them led to a Erik Folk 47-yard field goal. Another, right at the end of the first half, netted a 3-yard Locker-to-Cody Bruns scoring connection.
But without receivers Jermaine Kearse (foot) and James Johnson (ankle), and starting left tackle Senio Kelemete (ankle), the offense sputtered out of the gates – gaining minus-2 yards on its first two series.
In fact, the Huskies' first two offensive plays were a 1-yard loss on a pass from Locker to Devin Aguilar (Alameda Ta'amu tackle) and a 3-yard loss on a sack of Locker by safety Nate Williams.
Needless to say, the start set the tone.
"I'd give it to the defense today," Sarkisian said.
"They came ready to play, and I thought we were a little lackadaisical at the beginning," Locker said.
"They definitely played better than us today," offensive guard Gregory Christine said.
Sarkisian expanded on his assessment of how quickly the defense dictated play.
"The defense today came out with the right energy and passion and was really focused and locked in early on, and they played physical, enthusiastic football, which is the style of play we like to play with," the second-year coach said. "Especially early on, we were kind of lackluster on offense, almost a little bit like in slow motion, in a sense. (We) couldn't get out of our own way because of penalties and just poor execution."
In the hurry-up offense at the end of the half, Locker did lead the offense 70 yards. He threw a perfect ball over the outstretched hands of cornerback Adam Long, and completed a 19-yard pass to D'Andre Goodwin to set up his short touchdown to Bruns.
"We came out in that two-minute offense, we started getting going and getting into our rhythm a little bit," Bruns said. "Jake threw a nice ball outside and put it on me. You've got to win the man-to-man (battles)."
• It's plain to see, and has been the entire week that backup quarterback Keith Price has been playing better than Nick Montana.
Is it enough to win the No. 2 job? Sarkisian isn't telling – yet.
"We're going to assess these first two weeks here over the weekend and then next week, and come to some at least clear sense that I'm not going to wait (on)," Sarkisian said. "God forbid something happens to Jake that I make the decision off the cuff on the sidelines wherever we are. I'm going to have a plan in mind."
Price was 10-of-15 for 91 yards, and led the No. 2 offense to a pair of scoring opportunities in four drives.
Montana was 7-of-11 for 55 yards, including an 8-yard TD strike to tight end Marek Domanski.
• All the running backs had their shining moments. Jesse Callier had nine carries for 62 yards to lead the way, followed by Demitrius Bronson (9/61), Chris Polk (7/46) and Johri Fogerson (5/44).
On back-to-back carries in the first half, Polk ripped off runs of 15 and 12 yards – running over Will Shamburger on the second one up the gut.
"I thought Chris did a good job of running really hard, finding a way to get a couple of first downs," Locker said. "He moved the chains for us."
• Of the eight sacks, six were recorded in the first half. Locker was sacked three times, by Williams, and sophomore Semisi Tokolahi and Talia Crichton.
Linebacker Cooper Pelleur, a true freshman, had three sacks with the reserve defense.
• One of the concerns from Tuesday cropped up again Saturday – penalties. UW was whistled for 13 of them, totaling 100 yards.
• Eighty-five offense plays took place, including 50 in the first half. In Locker's five series, he took 25 snaps. He finished 9-of-13 for 70 yards and a score.
• Injuries included Kearse (foot), who woke up sore Saturday; Johnson (ankle), who went through warmups; Kelemete (knee); safety Taz Stevenson (shoulder), who wore the red jersey and did light individual work; defensive end Kalani Aldrich (knee) and fullback Zach Fogerson (shoulder), who got dinged up in practice Friday.
• Estimated attendance was 1,500.