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Huskies tame nature, ’Cats

Washington’s Jesse Callier, right, hugs Kevin Smith after Callier’s TD run in fourth quarter. (Associated Press)
Washington’s Jesse Callier, right, hugs Kevin Smith after Callier’s TD run in fourth quarter. (Associated Press)

Weather forces UW to run to win

SEATTLE – Husky Stadium was improved over the offseason, but Northwest weather is still pretty much the same old Northwest weather.

On Saturday, the wettest Seattle day of 2013, the Washington Huskies adapted and rode a pounding running game, a tough-enough defense and a efficient passing game to a 31-13 Pacific-12 Conference win over the Arizona Wildcats.

“A really cool win,” Washington coach Steve Sarkisian said. “It was one of those games that the weather had an impact on both teams and made it one of those grind-it-out, meat-and-potato games. Both teams had to run the ball. Both defenses knew it.”

Washington ran 61 times for 244 yards. A school-record 40 carries came from Bishop Sankey, who ran for 161 yards.

The win pushed the Huskies to 4-0 on the season and 1-0 in conference play. The Wildcats fell to 3-1 and 0-1.

“The conditions probably affected both teams offensively,” Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez said. “The wind wasn’t as bad as we thought, but it was raining so hard that the ball was wet. Both teams were struggling in the passing game with that. Both teams actually held onto the ball well, because usually you’d see more fumbles in weather like this.”

Still, the wet and the wind took their toll.

Three points-after-touchdown were missed. Three passes were intercepted. A bad snap led to a safety. There were a couple of fumbles.

But through it all, UW quarterback Keith Price managed to complete 14 of 25 passes for 165 yards, with touchdown passes to Kevin Smith and Austin Seferian-Jenkins.

“Be efficient and manage the game,” Price said. “That’s what I wanted to do today.”

Washington ground out some breathing room early. Sean Parker ended Arizona’s opening possession with an interception. Then the Huskies made it pay off with a four-play 35-yard drive, capped with a 7-yard pass from Price to Smith.

A wild snap snuffed the point-after attempt. However, the Huskies picked up a couple of points soon enough as the Wildcats’ second drive went nowhere and when trying to punt from their own end zone, a high snap resulted in a safety.

Arizona seemed to find its footing after that, and UW’s lead was 11-6 at halftime.

The Huskies created breathing room by opening the second half with a 14-play, 95-yard drive with the final yard coming on a pass from Price to Seferian-Jenkins.

The Wildcats closed the gap again to 18-13 late in the third quarter. However, the Huskies answered a 10-play, 90-yard drive, capped by a spinning 1-yard run by Sankey.

Washington settled it with the only score of the fourth quarter: a 2-yard run by Jesse Callier.