Things were back on track for Washington before Kasen Williams flashed a “W” with his hand to fans in the east stands at Husky Stadium.
For Washington, the game Saturday night against California was indeed a chance to get well and get a victory.
The Huskies got the triumph, beating the Bears 41-17 to end a three-game losing streak. But this night did not end well for Williams, UW’s No. 1 receiving threat.
Williams left the game in the second quarter with an apparent left leg injury as the Huskies were building a dominant early lead. He was taken from the sideline on a cart, his leg covered by an air cast as he was wheeled past the east stands. Williams was taken to Harborview Medical Center and treated for a break and a dislocation in his left foot that UW coach Steve Sarkisian said will “probably” keep the junior receiver out for the rest of the season.
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“It’s not good,” Sarkisian said.
The good news for UW?
Bishop Sankey and Keith Price each returned to form, helping the Huskies (5-3, 2-3 Pac-12) enter halftime with a 24-7 lead.
On a night when UW paid tribute to legendary coach Don James who died six days ago, Sankey rushed for a career-high 241 yards on 27 carries and two touchdowns, and the Huskies enter a bye week with some much-needed relief.
“It was great that we were able to play the way we did tonight with Coach James watching,” Sarkisian said.
Sankey, one week after being held to a season-low 22 yards on 13 carries in UW’s blowout defeat at Arizona State, had 16 carries for 188 yards and two touchdowns in the first half alone, pushing him past the 1,000-yard rushing mark for the second consecutive year.
“I think it’s a start,” Sankey said of the victory. “I think after the game down in Tempe, we lost a little respect. Tonight, we bounced back. I loved how our guys responded.”
Price, who didn’t practice until Thursday while resting his banged up throwing thumb, wasn’t even sure earlier in the week if he’d play Saturday night. “Thursday was kind of my test day,” he said. “And obviously, I passed the test.”
In his 22nd consecutive start, Price completed 20 of 32 passes for 376 yards and two touchdowns. His passing yards were the second most in his career, and the ninth best in UW history.
“When he came out Thursday and threw the way he did, I felt great,” Sarkisian said.
Price also had a 1-yard touchdown run on a read-option play to push UW’s lead to 38-7 in the third quarter.
The Huskies finished with 642 yards of offense and hit several big plays to pull away from the Bears (1-7, 0-5).
Price found sophomore slot receiver Jaydon Mickens wide open behind the Cal secondary for touchdowns of 68 and 47 yards. Mickens finished with six catches for a career-high 180 yards.
“He was on fire,” Price said. “He had a certain swagger about him today, and he made plays for me.”
Sankey’s 59-yard run with 1:08 left in the second quarter helped the Huskies to a 17-point halftime lead. Sankey’s previous career high rushing was 208 yards on 40 carries against Illinois last month.
California, decimated by injuries this season, came into the game ranked among the three bottom FBS teams in scoring defense, pass defense and total defense.
The Bears also started a true freshman at quarterback (Jared Goff), a true freshman running back (Khalfani Muhammad) and featured a reshuffled offensive line.
Cal proved a perfect rehabilitation opponent for the Huskies, who had lost three in a row to then-No. 5 Stanford, No. 2 Oregon and, in stunning fashion, at Arizona State.
“This was the type performance I’d hoped we’d have,” Sarkisian said. “It’s been a tough three weeks.”
On UW’s opening, 97-yard touchdown drive, Price completed all six of his passes, to five different receivers, covering 74 yards. Sankey’s 3-yard run touchdown run gave UW the 7-0 lead.
Two drives later, Sankey’s 42-yard run set up Travis Coons for a career-long 46-yard field goal, pushing the UW lead to 10-0 late in the first quarter.
Redshirt freshman Cyler Miles relieved Price with 7:16 left.
“It feels like we hadn’t won in a long time,” Price said. “It’s been a long month for us, but it’s always good to get a win.”
|Washington career rushing leaders|
|Bishop Sankey moved past Jacque Robinson and into sixth place on Washington’s career rushing list Saturday.|
|1. Napoleon Kaufman||1991-94||4,106|
|2. Chris Polk||2008-11||4,049|
|3. Joe Steele||1976-79||3,168|
|4. Greg Lewis||1987-90||2,903|
|5. Vince Weathersby||1985-88||2,811|
|6. Bishop Sankey||2011-present||2,788|
|7. Jacque Robinson||1981-84||2,636|
Adam Jude: 206-464-2364 or email@example.com