We’ll start all this with a caveat: It’s one week.
But, in that one week, Washington had an offensive life that eluded it last season.
Keith Price was on-point after his ugly first-throw interception. Bishop Sankey maintained his role of being a bowling ball with shifty feet. New weapons — Kevin Smith, John Ross, Jaydon Mickens — emerged. The Huskies gained 592 yards, the 10th-most in school history, without their preseason All-American tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins.
Much of Boise State’s problems and Washington’s success started with the quiet Sankey. He just keeps rumbling along. He picked up another 161 yards against the Broncos. It was the fifth time in the last six games he’s run for more than 100 yards, dating back to last year.
Play-action throughout the night to Sankey often froze Boise State or had it sucked into the box. That Price topped it off with a crisp performance produced a lethal combination, at least for one week.
Following his opening interception, Price threw the ball away three times on purpose. That means he was 23-for-27 after that first throw when the balls thrown away are subtracted.
Most of his passes were short and to the perimeter, yet that’s what Washington used to punish Boise State. Here’s a look at Price’s pass breakdown, with the distance of throw from his hand upfield to receiver as opposed to from the line of scrimmage to the tackle:
1-9 yards: 16-for-18
10-19: 3-for-4 (Only incompletion was the interception)
Lots of YAC for his receivers, namely Mickens who finished with nine catches for 109 yards.
The four incompletions:
> A deep ball to John Ross. Price gamely said the incompletion was his fault and that he could have “put it on” Ross a bit more. Steve Sarkisian told me Ross slowed down mid-route, otherwise that’s a touchdown.
> A sideline throw to Josh Perkins: Perkins never really came out of his break. Price said he was trying to put it where only Perkins had a shot to catch it.
> A sideline throw to Smith: Price said he was trying to go to Smith’s outside shoulder. Was inside a bit too much and the pass was broken up.
> A dump to Kasen Williams in the red zone: Price said they just weren’t on the same page. He thought Williams was going to sit down on the route sooner. Arguably a drop.
With those out of the way, let’s move on to the primary attack. Washington ran 85 plays, up from the 69.5 of last season. It pounded Boise State on the perimeter, particularly with Mickens, then leaned on that threat a couple times to take shots at big plays.
“Going into the game, we knew that our outside guys and our perimeter guys were better than theirs and we wanted to test that, and we showed that was the case,” Williams said.
He and Smith did a lot of blocking on the night. Along with Price and Sankey, the Broncos were at a loss for answers.
“It was a great mix,” Price said. “We really didn’t have any tendencies. I throw the bubble here, we hand it off and get six or seven yards, next thing you know, we’re hitting them down the middle for a big gain or we’re hitting them up top on the post.”
Here’s a look at some of the usage of Mickens, plus how it was parlayed into a big play for Ross that he almost broke:
“We liked our athletes, we liked the matchups,” Sarkisian said. “I don’t know if that’s going to change, game to game it will vary.”
Again, one week, but an effective one.