Let’s get back at it with a look at the second half of the season:
Arizona 52, Washington 17
Fair to call this the low point of the year. Washington was throttled in a moderately filled stadium down in Tucson. This is the most livid Steve Sarkisian was after any game, including the Apple Cup, and his time with the media was tense. It was also the first time we began to hear about trust issues between Sarkisian and Keith Price. Washington fell to 3-4 overall and 1-3 in the conference. This was the start of the mania which led to the ludicrous questions about Price’s job security by the end of the season.
Washington 20, Oregon State 17
An enormous bounce-back win for Washington. Oregon State was undefeated at the time, ranked No. 7 and a columnist in the Portland area wrote about how soft Washington was. Then, the Huskies won another grinder when Travis Coons hit a 30-yard field goal with 1:20 left. The Beavers chose to play Sean Mannion, who just became healthy, over Cody Vaz at quarterback. Mannion had a miserable night, going 18-for-34 with four picks. Washington scored 10 points in the fourth quarter to pull off the win. Likely the turning point of the season.
Washington 21, Cal 13
We’d call this an ugly football game, but that would insult ugly football games everywhere. Bishop Sankey had a big day amid the chaos, rushing for 189 yards. He also fumbled twice during the fumblefest in Cal’s new and barely half-full stadium. The teams combined for eight turnovers and I had to eat a burger at Denny’s at 2 a.m. At least I ordered a burger. Scientists are still trying to identify the object that was in the bun. Washington moved over .500 for the first time in four weeks. This was also the first week Washington players wore ties on the road.
Washington 43, Utah 15
One of the more complete wins of the season. Price got going against the Utes, throwing for two touchdowns and running for another. Washington became the last BCS team to top 21 points against another BCS team, so, hoozah to that. Price was 24-for-33 and seeming to come out of his doldrums. Sarkisian said it was “far and away” Price’s best game of the season. “When things weren’t there, I just tucked the ball and got what I could get,” Price said. “I didn’t force plays.” This game made Washington bowl eligible (6-4) for the third consecutive year, and was the first time Austin Seferian-Jenkins showed up in third-down situations at defensive end.
Washington 38, Colorado 3
Colorado was one of the worst teams in the land and Washington, after a poor first half, beat them up like (almost) all others this season. The win moved Washington to 7-4, Price had five touchdowns, and all that was left was to beat Washington State in the Apple Cup.
Washington State 31, Washington 28, OT
Up 18 entering the fourth quarter, Washington put together the biggest collapse in the 105-year history of the Apple Cup, Seferian-Jenkins was struck on his way off the field, Coons missed a well-positioned game-winning 35-yard field-goal attempt, and the Huskies didn’t get to eight wins for the first time since 2001. Other than that, the game was no big deal. As we said at the time, the Cougars deserve a great deal of credit for how hard they played. Even with help, which Washington provided with fourth-quarter and overtime turnovers, it’s exceptionally difficult to come from that far back in that amount of time. No one was more irritated than defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox. The normally affable Wilcox walked into a weight room across from the team’s lockerroom where interviews were held, yes, a weight room, and threw his gym bag done before answering questions. Nothing bugged him more than the penalties the Huskies committed.