SEATTLE — Washington ended the nation’s longest losing streak at 15 games with a solid 42-23 win over Idaho on Saturday.
Using his arm far more than his feet, Huskies quarterback Jake Locker was 17 of 25 for 253 yards and three touchdowns.
New coach Steve Sarkisian picked up his first win as head coach as Washington (1-1) scored touchdowns on its first five possessions — minus a fumble on the opening kickoff of the second half — making up for a Huskies defense that Idaho (1-1) showed continues to be leaky against the pass.
Locker tossed touchdowns of 24, 31 and 4 yards and added a 3-yard TD run of his own as Washington picked up its first victory since Nov. 17, 2007 when it beat California.
It’s been nearly two calendar years of misery for the Huskies. A spark came from last week’s game effort against LSU, a 31-23 loss to the Tigers that raised the hopes of Washington fans who became disenchanted during the forgettable 0-12 effort a year ago.
The 15-game losing streak matched the longest skid in conference history, joining Oregon State (1990-91 and 1995-96). For Locker, it was his first victory since Nov. 3, 2007 at Stanford, having missed the Huskies win two weeks later against California with an injury.
But Washington’s defense showed it still has a long way to go in defending the pass, especially with USC coming to town next week. Defensive coordinator Nick Holt was so frustrated, he was regularly screaming, punching the air and walking all the way out to the numbers to yell at his defense.
Quarterback Nathan Enderle threw for 279 yards — part of the 349 total passing yards by the Vandals. But Idaho had to settle for field goals of 44, 28 and 34 yards by Trey Farquhar on three trips inside the Washington 20 in the first half. Enderle then made his one crucial mistake on the first possession of the second half.
After Washington’s Curtis Shaw fumbled the second half kickoff and Idaho recovered, Enderle faced a third-and-4 at the Washington 25. Throwing toward the near sideline, Enderle’s pass found the hands of linebacker Mason Foster, who returned the turnover 56 yards to the Idaho 21. Four plays later, and after Locker hit D’Andre Goodwin for 20 yards to the 1 on third down, Chris Polk plowed in for his first touchdown of the season.
Idaho went three-and-out on its next possession and Locker needed just two plays to make it 35-9 on his 2-yard TD pass to Chris Izbicki.
For the second straight week, Locker looked just as comfortable throwing as he had in the past instantly taking off on the run when nothing developed. His best play came on Washington’s opening drive when on third-and-14 Locker scrambled away from three potential sacks and fired a 35-yard completion to Goodwin inside the Idaho 10 setting up his TD run.
Locker was 6-for-6 on the Huskies next drive, capped by a perfect screen pass to Johri Fogerson for a 24-yard score. Locker capped his stellar first half getting Idaho’s safeties to bite on a play-action fake and finding James Johnson on a 31-yard TD pass.
Fogerson added a 2-yard TD run in the fourth quarter. Idaho’s touchdowns came on runs of 4 and 6 yards by De’Maundray Woolridge.