Updated Oct 27, 2013 - 12:29 am
Sankey, Price lead Huskies to 41-17 rout of Bears
SEATTLE (AP) - Reeling after getting embarrassed in the desert, Washington came home and honored the greatest coach in the school's history with a flurry of big plays and a thumping of California.
Bishop Sankey ran for a career-high 241 and two touchdowns, Keith Price threw a pair of long touchdowns to Jaydon Mickens and the Huskies snapped a three-game losing streak with a 41-17 rout of the Golden Bears on Saturday night.
Washington paid tribute to former coach Don James, who died last Sunday at age 80 due to pancreatic cancer by easily handling the school James dominated as the Huskies coach. James went 12-2 in his career against California and the current batch of Huskies (5-3, 2-3 Pac-12) paid homage with a needed, convincing victory.
"I thought it was a great night to honor coach James. He and his family deserve much more than we could have even done tonight," Washington coach Steve Sarkisian said.
Price hit Mickens on TDs of 68 and 47 yards as part of the second best night of his career, while Sankey's 59-yard touchdown run just before halftime gave the Huskies a 24-7 lead at the break.
Sankey had 188 yards at the half _ near his previous career-high of 208 earlier this season against Illinois _ and averaged 11.8 yards per carry in the first half. He set a new career mark early in the fourth quarter, then expanded on it thanks to a 23-yard run cutting against the flow of the play. His performance was eighth best in Washington history.
The Huskies lost wide receiver Kasen Williams likely for the season with a fractured and dislocated left foot suffered in the second quarter, Sarkisian said. Williams limped off the field and was taken away on a cart with his foot and leg in a splint.
Missing Williams didn't matter with the gashing runs from Sankey. He had runs of 42, 32 and 22 yards before breaking off his biggest run near the end of the half. Sankey took a third-and-3 handoff, waited for a pair of key blocks and ran untouched to push the lead to 17 at halftime.
"We just took it upon ourselves to fix the things that we needed to fix and we just came out with more energy and really just worked on the little stuff," Sankey said.
Price finished 20 of 32 for 376 yards. He lamented his underthrown pass that led to Williams' injury, but said the right thumb injury that had been bothering him felt "about 90 percent."
"I could hardly palm the ball for two or three weeks," Price said. "I played through the pain and it felt awesome tonight."
Washington hit bottom after last Saturday's 53-24 blowout loss at Arizona State, the Huskies third straight setback. The news of James' passing came less than 24 hours later and the three-game losing streak took a backseat to the Huskies trying to honor the coach that led Washington to a share of the 1991 national title.
A flag with James' initial was flown atop the Space Needle in downtown Seattle on Saturday and the same "DJ" logo was painted on the field at the 25 -yard lines. The Washington band lowered its on-field flag to half-mast during the national anthem and both California and Washington wore helmet decals honoring the coach.
The most emotional moment of the night came when James' family took the field as honorary captains for the coin toss, greeted by a loud standing ovation. Fans remained seated at halftime watching a video tribute to the coach and performance from the Washington band.
By the time halftime arrived, the Huskies were in complete control, taking advantage of a California defense that ranked 121st in the country giving up 525 yards per game. Washington had 373 yards in the first half and 557 after three quarters. Washington finished with 642 yards.
"The explosive plays on offense, when we're at our best we can get yards in chunks and we were able to do that today with the running game with Bishop and in the passing game with Keith and Jaydon doing their thing," Sarkisian said.
California (1-7, 0-5) lost its sixth straight and hasn't beaten a FBS opponent since winning at Washington State in October 2012. Freshman quarterback Jared Goff had his job put into question this week by coach Sonny Dykes, but responded with an efficient performance in the loss. Goff was 32 of 54 for 336 yards, no interceptions and a 5-yard TD pass to Chris Harper in the second quarter.
Khalfani Muhammad added a 73-yard TD run late in the fourth quarter and finished with 90 yards rushing on four carries.
"You have to play consistent for every play in the game and that's what separates the good teams from the bad teams and right now we're not able to play at that level of consistency," Dykes said.
(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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