A primary goal for Washington in a game like this is to come out of it healthy.
And star running back Bishop Sankey insists he is just that despite leaving in the first quarter of Washington’s 56-0 victory over Idaho State with what he’s calling a shoulder bruise.
“It’ll be fine,” UW’s junior running back said. “It’s just a little bruise. There’s nothing too serious. I’ll be back. I’m not missing any time.”
Sankey finished with four carries for 77 yards and one touchdown against the Bengals, an FCS-level team from the Big Sky Conference. Sankey, who rushed 35 times for a career-high 208 yards a week earlier against Illinois, entered the game leading the nation with an average of 184.5 yards.
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He said he would’ve been able to “push through” the minor injury if UW wasn’t leading 21-0 in the first quarter.
With his 37-yard rush on his first carry, Sankey passed 2,000 yards for his career in his 28th game. Only Hugh McElhenny (24) and Chris Polk (24) reached the 2,000-yard mark in fewer games. Joe Steele also reached the 2,000-yard mark in his 28th game.
Another goal for UW was to limit penalties, after racking up 12 in a victory over Illinois the previous week.
It got worse.
The Huskies were flagged 16 times against Idaho State for a loss of 130 yards. At least 10 of those were called against the offensive line, and most of those were false starts, drawing some boos from the Husky Stadium crowd.
“The penalties were the glaring issue and they need to be rectified,” UW coach Steve Sarkisian said. “And we’ll fix it. We’ve fixed a lot of things in this program over the last five years, and we’ll fix the penalties, believe me.”
Sarkisian blamed the false-start penalties on the “stemming,” or last-second shifts, by Idaho State’s defensive line — which Sarkisian believes is against the rules.
“In my opinion, you’re not allowed to do that,” he said.
Tough day for short-handed ISU
Idaho State played without tight end Tyler Wright and receiver Luke Austin, who are second and third, respectively, on the team in receptions and receiving yards.
The Bengals amassed 429 and 439 yards in the previous two games, but they were no match for the Huskies.
“We played a little frightened on offense,” Idaho State coach Mike Kramer said. “Because we were unable to generate any type of drives or any type of movement ourselves, it just exposed our defense, which is still under massive construction, just like Husky Stadium was about two years ago. We looked exactly the same way today.”
At halftime, the Bengals had just 20 yards and two first downs. They finished with 164 yards.
If there’s any consolation, Idaho State (2-1) didn’t lose as badly as it did last year when it was pummeled 73-7 at Nebraska.
“We’re coming off a shattering year last year so we’re rebuilding our entire defense, and if we couldn’t keep pace somehow and generate some first downs, it was going to be a JV game in the second half and that’s what it turned out to be.”
Idaho State was 1-10 and 0-8 in the Big Sky last season. The Bengals suffered their 19th consecutive road defeat.
Middle linebacker John Timu, UW’s leading tackler in 2012, suited up but did not play after injuring his right shoulder against Illinois. Senior Thomas Tutogi made his first career start in Timu’s place and was credited with one pass breakup.
Jamaal Kearse played much of the second half at middle linebacker and had five tackles and one sack.
True freshman defensive end Marcus Farria played for the first time this season and recorded a sack. He’s the eighth true freshman from UW’s 2013 recruiting class to play this season.
Sarkisian has said cornerback Jermaine Kelly could also play this season.
Two freshman walk-ons, Kaleb Taylor and Taelon Parsons, made their first appearances for UW in the fourth quarter.
• UW senior safety Sean Parker had the ninth interception of his career. Redshirt freshman Cleveland
Wallace had his first.
•In a pregame interview with KJR radio, UW athletic director Scott Woodward said the Huskies might no longer schedule FCS opponents because lopsided wins against teams such as Idaho State wouldn’t necessarily help UW in the playoff format that starts next year.
• Former UW star Polk, now with the Philadelphia Eagles, watched the game on the Husky sideline.