All of these are completely subjective, especially the ordering of the ten. Some were included and ranked highly based on the impressiveness of the raw numbers, others on how important it was to the team’s performance as a whole. You can feel free to comment below letting me know if I missed any big performances, or if you think I was crazy with my order, just please stay respectful. As always, thanks for reading.
1. Bishop Sankey Vs. Stanford
Following up on a 100+ yard game against Portland State that no one was really sure whether or not to take as a serious sign of progress, Sankey made himself clear in the early season home upset of the then top-10 Stanford Cardinal. He ran for 144 yards on 20 carries for a 7.2 yards per carry average that is simply astounding against a defense as rugged as Stanford’s, and he also added a key 61-yard score on a 4th and 1 play. This was perhaps Washington’s biggest game of the year, and it wouldn’t have happened without this performance.
2. Desmond Trufant Vs. USC
While this one turned out to be the only home loss of the season for the Huskies, Trufant’s ability to lock down Marqise Lee, the best wide receiver in the country this season, was still nothing short of amazing. With Trufant covering him on almost every snap, Lee finished with 2 catches for 32 yards and zero scores. While some pass catchers would be willing to accept those numbers for a game or two, Lee finished the year with an astonishing 112 catches for 1680 yards and 14 touchdowns. That means he averaged just over 9 catches a game for 140 yards and a touchdown each game. In fact, in all 11 games that didn’t involve Trufant, Lee never caught fewer than 5 catches and never racked up less than 66 yards. Considering that Lee is talked about as a 1st round draft pick in the NFL, apparently Trufant should be expected to succeed as a pro as well.
3. Kasen Williams Vs. Stanford
In a game in which yards through the air did not come easily for either team, Kasen Williams’ season-best 10 catches for 129 yards and a score was all the more impressive. Take into account that the lone touchdown was a screen that Williams took 35 yards to give Washington the lead for good, and it quickly becomes clear that this performance is the best of his career. I mentioned earlier that this win wouldn’t have happened without Sankey. Well, it also wouldn’t have happened with Williams, and both players deserve almost equal credit (to be shared with the defense, obviously) for allowing Washington to pull this one out.
4. Austin Seferian-Jenkins at California
Any time a tight end manages 100+ yards receiving, it is worth getting excited about. When that player is one of only two reliable targets on the whole team (and the opposing defense knows it), and he is catching passes from an underperforming quarterback, it’s just beautiful. ASJ simply dominated this one, as shown by the multiple brutal stiff arms, en route to 8 catches for 154 yards and a score. And this wasn’t a product of a dominant day by Keith Price: the redshirt junior signal caller only completed 16 total passes for 237 yards and a single score. ASJ has half the catches, well over half the yardage, and the only score through the air. That’s a serious individual performance.
5. Sean Parker Vs. Oregon State
Sometimes defensive performances are tougher to quantify with statistics. A linebacker or safety could rack up 10 tackles, but that doesn’t mean they played all that well. Half the tackles could have been on wide receivers that they themselves had just allowed to catch the ball, or running backs who they had pursued with a poor angle before chasing down. Other times defenders can clearly dominate a game without it really showing on the stat sheet. However, in Sean Parker’s case, his dominance in the Oregon State game was not only clear to everyone in the seats or on the couch, it was also somewhat clear in the stats. In a tight, rugged game, Parker’s interception of Sean Mannion was huge. Anytime a defender can force a turnover, it’s a huge bonus. What won’t show up in the stats, though, is Parker’s massive hit on Markus Wheaton that not only allowed Justin Glenn to pick off the ball as it was dislodged from the receivers hand, it kept Wheaton out of the rest of the game as well. Add on 4 tackles and two well defended passes to those two turnovers created, and it becomes clear that Parker was on fire that night.
6. Bishop Sankey at California
I know that Cal was pretty terrible last year. But, in terms of raw numbers, this was Sankey’s best game of the year, and I don’t think that can be ignored against any Pac-12 opponent. Except Colorado, of course. 29 carries for 189 yards and 2 touchdowns. You really can’t ask for much more than that from a true sophomore that wasn’t even looking like he would get quite half the carries this season behind Jesse Callier. I seriously cannot wait to see what Sankey does next year.
7. Thomas Tutogi Vs. Stanford
Tutogi is really a curious player. I didn’t enter the season really expecting much from him, but then he burst onto the scene with 12 tackles in the blowout loss to LSU, continued to wreak havoc all over the field in this terrific performance against Stanford, and then pretty much vanished from my consciousness for the rest of the year, totaling only four tackles over the final six games of the year. Apparently a lot of that has to do with the type of player he is. A big, physical linebacker at 242 pounds, Wilcox decided to use him against big, power-run teams like LSU or Stanford while opting for quicker players later in the year against spread teams. That still doesn’t make his 10 tackles and 1 sack against the Cardinal any less impressive. It has been clear for years that Washington was being run over by teams like Stanford because of a lack of size and toughness at linebacker, and Tutogi’s performance felt like a real statement that those days were over.
8. Desmond Trufant Vs. Stanford
I’ve talked a bit about how I feel statistics rarely tell the whole story of a defensive performance. Well, this one is a great example. Trufant only recorded 1 tackle and 2 passes defended. Those numbers don’t seem all that impressive because they don’t take into account the fact that Trufant’s man was so well covered throughout the game that he simply didn’t have the ball thrown to him much at all. However, the 1 interception listed in the box score is a pretty accurate numerical representation of the way Trufant sealed the deal by picking off a pass intended for 6’8″ tight end Levine Toilolo late in the fourth quarter.
9. Bishop Sankey at Oregon
This one was a blowout almost from the very beginning of the game. Thus, it could be argued that the lack of urgency for the Ducks towards the end of the game made things easier for Sankey, but I have to disagree. I believe it showed Sankey’s high level of resilience and determination to continue to grind out yards and break off impressive runs when his team had already lost. 25 carries for 104 yards and 2 scores, including a second half scoring run that was entirely Lynch-esque.
10. John Timu Vs. Oregon State
The 6 tackles are nice, but it’s really the interception that was key to this performance. A few times early in the game, Timu would undercut a back’s route in the flat to knock away the ball. Finally, the third or so time it happened, he managed to catch the ball himself. Later in the game he actually picked off another pass and returned it all the way to the end zone, but a personal foul on Danny Shelton far from the play itself took it off the board. While it may have only been 1 pick officially, as far as individual performances go, I think you have to credit Timu with 2, one of them for a score that would have been so huge at the time.