SEATTLE — Keith Price connected on his first eight passes en route to a career-high 315 yards and four touchdowns, and Washington used a blistering start to hold off Hawaii’s late rally for a 40-32 win on Saturday afternoon.
Washington (2-0) jumped to a 14-0 lead in fewer than 8 minutes, led 21-0 late in the first quarter, then played counter-punch with the Warriors, who could not overcome the Huskies torrid start.
Price tossed his fourth TD to Austin Seferian-Jenkins, a 14-yarder in the back of the end zone with 10:02 left after Hawaii cut the Huskies’ lead to 31-26.
Sterling Jackson had two short TD runs for Hawaii (1-1) and Richard Torres returned an interception 99 yards for a score, but the Warriors fell to 1-8 on the road since 1998 against BCS teams.
Wearing unique white helmets with the American flag embodied within the “W” on the side of the helmets in honor of the 10th anniversary of 9/11, the Huskies answered the call of coach Steve Sarkisian and his public berating of his team after the Huskies squeaked past FCS-champion Eastern Washington 30-27 in the season opener.
Price seemed to take that to heart and combined with aggressive early play calling, picked apart the Hawaii secondary. He hit Seferian-Jenkins for a combined 77 yards on the first two plays from scrimmage and Chris Polk’s 2-yard TD run came just 70 seconds after the kickoff.
Price added TD passes of 10 and 20 yard to Jermaine Kearse in the first quarter and finished the quarter 8-for-8 for 193 yards and two scores. By the time Price tossed his first incompletion with 12:30 left in the second quarter, the Huskies were already up 21-0 and had 266 yards of total offense, more than the 250 total yards they had in their opener.
Hawaii appeared ready to answer early in the game on a pair of occasions, only to make critical mistakes they couldn’t afford on a day that was very island-like, with the thousands of green and black clad Warriors fans in attendance fanning themselves on the warm afternoon. Royce Pollard hauled in a 41-yard completion on Hawaii’s opening drive, only to be stripped from behind by Cort Dennison and see Washington’s Gregory Ducre fall on the fumble at the Huskies’ 5.
Later in the half and trailing 21-0, Ducre knocked away a fourth-down pass intended for Darius Bright from the Washington 9.
Hawaii quarterback Bryant Moniz finished 31 of 45 for 333 yards, but his running that was a threat last week against Colorado was absent. Moniz, who ran for a career-high 121 yards and 3 TDs against Colorado, was limited to two yards on nine carries. He did score on a 1-yard plunge to cap a 14-play drive starting the second half, but was sacked twice.
Moniz was intercepted by Desmond Trufant with less than 5 minutes to go deep in Washington’s end, but the Warriors defense held and Moniz hit Jeremiah Ostrowski on an 8-yard TD pass with 1:39 left. The extra point was blocked and returned 87 yards by Trufant for two points to give the Huskies a 40-32 lead.
The ensuing onside kick was perfectly placed by kicker Tyler Hadden, but it came up inches short of rolling the required 10 yards and Washington took possession.
Price’s one mistake came late in the first half when he locked on receiver Devin Aguilar running a quick slant at the goal line and Torres stepped in front of the pass. Torres raced nearly untouched the length of the field, matching the longest interception return in Hawaii history.
Price immediately answered after his mishap. Given a short field, he took just three plays to find Aguilar on a 31-yard TD with 44 seconds left in the half to give the Huskies a 28-14 lead at the break.