BERKELEY, Calif. – After going more than a year without a road win, Washington coach Steve Sarkisian had his players wear suits for the plane ride to drive home the message that this was a business trip.
The play on the field may not have looked as good as the players did on the plane but the result did.
Bishop Sankey ran for a career-high 189 yards and two touchdowns and Washington overcame four turnovers and 12 penalties for its first road win in 13 months, 21-13 over California on Friday night.
“That was the whole message,” quarterback Keith Price said. “We’re not here for vacation. A lot of guys were home back here playing. That’s not what we were here for. We were here to get a win and we did that.”
Austin Seferian-Jenkins caught eight passes for 154 yards and a touchdown for the Huskies (5-4, 3-3 Pac-12), who had been outscored 145-41 in three road games this season and had lost six straight away games since beating Utah on Oct. 1, 2011.
The Golden Bears (3-7, 2-5) lost for the fourth time in six games at their renovated stadium and are assured of missing out on a bowl for the second time in three seasons. That will only raise more questions about the status of coach Jeff Tedford, who has a 23-25 record since the start of the 2009 season.
Each team had four turnovers in a sloppy game, including three lost fumbles in a span of six plays early in the fourth quarter. An interception on the next drive helped seal the win for Washington.
Shaq Thompson intercepted a pass by Zach Maynard near midfield and returned it 33 yards to the Cal 28.
Sankey ran four straight plays and scored from 1-yard out to give the Huskies a 21-13 lead. Washington needs just one win in its final three games against the bottom teams in the conference, Utah, Colorado and Washington State, to become bowl eligible.
“We knew we had to close it out and we knew we were on their side of the field,” Sankey said. “It was on the o-line’s back and on the running game and I feel like we did a great job with that.”
Cal settled for field goals twice in the third quarter after driving deep into Washington territory, which proved costly when Seferian-Jenkins made a leaping grab over the smaller Steve Williams for a 29-yard score on third-and-goal to give the Huskies a 14-13 lead in the final minute of the third quarter.