Steve Sarkisian’s Huskies defeated the #8 ranked Stanford Cardinal by a thin margin of 17-13, resulting in a wild field-storming celebration at CenturyLink field. After trailing for much of the defensive battle, Bishop Sankey gave Washington momentum with a 61 yard touchdown run at the end of the 3rd quarter to pull the score to 13-10 following a deflating interception return for a touchdown by Stanford linebacker Trent Murphy, and Kasen Williams grabbed the lead for good by taking a short Keith Price pass, making a defender miss, and romping into the end zone for a 35 yard score.
Sept 27, 2012; Seattle, WA, USA; Washington Huskies running back Bishop Sankey (25) rushes against the Stanford Cardinal during the second half at CenturyLink Field. Washington defeated Stanford, 17-13. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-US PRESSWIRE
Of course, none of those offensive heroics would have mattered if Defensive Coordinator Justin Wilcox’s suddenly imposing defensive unit had not held Stanford without an offensive touchdown for the first time since 2008. Not only did Washington’s defensive line hold up against Stanford’s power running game, limiting Stepfan Taylor to 75 yards on 21 carries, but the UW secondary also took away the pass, leading quarterback Josh Nunes to throw the game-sealing interception to Desmond Trufant late in the 4th quarter.
Equally as important was the solid performance of the Washington offense line, a position group that headed into this game incredibly banged up. The unit was able to generate real push for Bishop Sankey, who grinded out 144 yards on 20 carries. In pass protection, Keith Price was forced to scramble early and often, but down the stretch, he was given a reasonable opportunity to go through his progressions and make a decision. Even if the offense was not incredibly productive, the fact that the run-game was established and maintained until the end of the game is a primary reason, alongside the defensive performance, that Washington pulled off this upset.
Who knows if this win means that the Huskies are capable of beating Oregon and USC in the next few weeks, but defeating a top-10 team on national television certainly doesn’t hurt. This may very well be a defining moment for the program. More on this win early tomorrow morning.