September 11, 2011 in Sports

‘Real’ Huskies top Warriors

UW throws caution to wind in victory
Bob Condotta Seattle Times

SEATTLE – A week later than planned, the 2011 Washington Huskies made their entrance. “This is us,” defensive tackle Everrette Thompson said after Washington beat Hawaii 40-32 in front of 63,252 at sun-splashed Husky Stadium.

The win improved the Huskies to 2-0 for the first time since 2007. But this one felt like a victory worth celebrating, in contrast to the 30-27 escape last week against Eastern Washington.

“I think it was our team that played today,” defensive coordinator Nick Holt said. “Last week we played a little cautious, not to lose, and we weren’t physical and not playing Sark (UW coach Steve Sarkisian) football. And today we did, and I think we got back to kind of being us. It was good to see.”

Being the real Huskies, it meant there’s still work to do, as Sarkisian himself said afterward. Hawaii’s offense also showed that as it relentlessly tried to make a game of it after UW took a 21-0 lead.

But being the real Huskies also meant Sarkisian taking the leashes off the offense, which was evident from the first play as Keith Price hit tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins for a 30-yard gain – 20 yards longer than any completion the previous week.

Price followed with a 47-yard pass to Seferian-Jenkins to set up Washington’s first touchdown. That set the tone for an offense that came out swinging and never let up, as Price – in a breakout game that should erase any doubt as to whether he is the true successor to Jake Locker – threw for four touchdowns and 315 yards.

“We weren’t expecting as much of that,” Hawaii coach Greg McMackin said. “Washington came out really strong.”

Sarkisian said the early deep throws were all in keeping with the theme of the week. “I evaluate myself and our team and our coaches every game, and I was too cautious last week,” he said, adding that an early injury to Price last week helped lead to him rein things in. “I said to myself, ‘I’m not going to do that again.’.”

Price was 8 for 8 in the first quarter as UW rolled to a 21-0 lead, threatening to turn the game into a rout. But then Hawaii’s offense found its groove and Price made a big mistake that turned into a 99-yard interception return by Richard Torres to make it 21-14 late in the first half.

Sticking with the aggressive theme, Sarkisian called for a third-down pass after Hawaii called two timeouts after stopping running plays, hoping to get the ball back. Price hit Devin Aguilar for a 12-yard gain on third-and-nine to set up another TD – a 31-yard pass to Aguilar – to make it 28-14 at the break.

The Warriors, led by senior QB Bryant Moniz, scored touchdowns on its first two possessions of the second half to keep the game tight. But, UW responded each time with another score to retake command.

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