SEATTLE – Bishop Sankey ran for a career-high 241 and two touchdowns, Keith Price threw a pair of long touchdowns to Jaydon Mickens and Washington snapped a three-game losing streak with a 41-17 rout of California on Saturday night.
Washington paid tribute to former coach Don James, who died last Sunday at age 80 due to pancreatic cancer by thumping the school James dominated as the Huskies coach. James went 12-2 in his career against California and the current batch of Huskies (5-3, 2-3 Pac-12) honored the former with a flurry of big plays to blow out the Golden Bears.
Price hit Mickens on TDs of 68 and 47 yards, while Sankey’s 59-yard touchdown run just before halftime gave the Huskies a 24-7 lead at the break.
Sankey had 188 yards at the half — near his previous career-high of 208 earlier this season against Illinois — and averaged 11.8 yards per carry in the first half. He set a new career mark early in the fourth quarter, then expanded on it thanks to a 23-yard run cutting against the flow of the play. The Gonzaga Prep grad’s performance was eighth best in Washington history.
Price finished 20 of 32 for 376 yards, the second best passing game in his career.
California (1-7, 0-5) lost its sixth straight and hasn’t beaten a FBS opponent since winning at Washington State in October 2012. Freshman quarterback Jared Goff had his job put into question this week by coach Sonny Dykes, but responded with an efficient performance in the loss. Goff was 32 of 54 for 336 yards, no interceptions and a 5-yard TD pass to Chris Harper in the second quarter.
Khalfani Muhammad added a 73-yard TD run late in the fourth quarter and finished with 90 yards rushing on four carries.
Washington was reeling after last Saturday’s 53-24 blowout loss at Arizona State, the Huskies third straight setback. The news of James’ passing came less than 24 hours later and the three-game losing streak took a backseat to the Huskies trying to honor the coach that led Washington to a share of the 1991 national title.
A flag with James’ initials was flown atop the Space Needle in downtown Seattle on Saturday and the same “DJ” logo was painted on the field at the 25 -yard lines. The Washington band lowered its on-field flag to half-mast during the national anthem and both California and Washington wore helmet decals honoring the coach.
The most emotional moment of the night came when James’ family took the field as honorary captains for the coin toss, greeted by a loud standing ovation. Fans remained seated at halftime watching a video tribute to the coach and performance from the UW band.
Price came into the game beat up and with an injured right thumb, and he lost one of his favorite targets in the second quarter. Price tried to throw deep for Kasen Williams, but the pass was underthrown. As Williams came down from his leaping attempt, his left leg got pinned under his body. He limped to the bench with the help of trainers, had a splint placed on his left leg and was taken off the field on a cart. The school’s radio broadcast reported at halftime that Williams has a Lisfranc injury to his left foot.
Washington finished with 642 yards.