SEATTLE – As he burst into the end zone with a go-ahead touchdown in the third quarter of Saturday’s Apple Cup, Bishop Sankey also walked into the record book.
On that 7-yard run, the Washington running back broke the school career touchdown record and the single-season rushing record set in 1996 by Huskies star Corey Dillon.
But when the former Gonzaga Prep star stepped to the microphone after a 200-yard rushing game, he said the only thing that mattered was putting the past behind him.
That included a stinging 31-28 overtime loss to Washington State last year in Pullman – “we had a lot of motivation from that,” Sankey said – and a sluggish first half on Saturday that ended with the Huskies trailing 10-3.
At that point, the Cougars defense had held Sankey to 63 yards on 13 carries.
Sankey credited Huskies coach Steve Sarkisian with choosing the right words at halftime, then picking the right play in the third quarter.
Sarkisian’s speech “was right up there” for intensity, said Sankey, who 10 minutes later was on the receiving end of perhaps the biggest play of the game.
After forcing a WSU punt but still trailing by 7, the Huskies faced third-and-5 from their own 20 when Sarkisian called for a screen pass. The play was executed perfectly, with Sankey following blockers 40 yards down the left sideline.
Sarkisian said after the game that the screen pass was schemed at halftime.
“It was a big play – it was kind of like a spark plug,” said Sankey, who did most of the heavy lifting on the Huskies’ next possession. After the Huskies reached the Cougar 38, Sankey carried six straight times, including the 7-yarder to put Washington ahead for good, 17-10.
“He played his heart out,” said WSU linebacker Justin Sagote, whose game-high 13 tackles included six against Sankey.
By game’s end, Sankey was in the record book with 36 career TDs, breaking the record set by Napoleon Kaufman from 1991-94. His 1,775 rushing yards this season broke Dillon’s record of 1,695 in 1996.
There’s more: Sankey has carried the ball 306 times, passing Dillon’s mark of 301; and surpassed 100 rushing yards for the 16th time in his career. Only Chris Polk (with 21) and Kaufman (17) have more.
Sankey said he hasn’t spoken with Dillon, but added “I’ve watched him playing in the NFL, so yeah, I knew who he was.”
That led to the inevitable question of Sankey’s future. The NFL is waiting, but so are even more records.
“I have to see what the best decision is for me, and talk it over with my family, and then we’ll see,” said Sankey, a junior.