Tuesday, November 26, 2013 @ 10:46am
SEATTLE (AP) - There is no question Keith Price is recovering from what the Washington quarterback called a "severe" right shoulder injury.
Determining whether he's healthy enough to start the final home game of his college career against rival Washington State will likely go right up until kickoff on Friday.
Price had his most extensive practice Tuesday since injuring his shoulder on Nov. 15 at UCLA. The quarterback said he took part in about half of the morning practice yet remains unsure if he'll be able to show coach Steve Sarkisian he's healthy enough to play in the Apple Cup.
"Today, I impressed myself to be honest with you. I didn't think I was going to be able to make some of the throws I made today," Price said. "But it's still a day-to-day thing. There were throws that I missed that I normally make. So it's just a day-to-day thing. I'm going to rehab my body and get my body in as best shape as I can up until Friday."
Price sat out last week's game at Oregon State while recovering from the injury. He was unable to return in the second half of the loss to UCLA and didn't attempt to throw in practice until last Thursday. He threw well in pregame warm-ups before Washington faced the Beavers, but Sarkisian went with his plan to give redshirt freshman Cyler Miles his first start.
It didn't matter who the Huskies quarterback was last Saturday. Washington ran for 530 yards in a 69-27 blowout, the second-most yards rushing in school history.
"I've never seen a performance like that, especially on the ground. I don't even think we needed a quarterback last week the way our offense was rolling and that is a credit to our offensive line," Price said. "You can't rush for over 500 yards with a whole bunch of bums up front regardless of who you are playing against. I was impressed."
Price said it would be meaningful to play in the final home game of his career, although he won't put his own wishes ahead of what is best for the team. Price won't get in the way if coaches determine Miles gives Washington the best chance to win.
"I'm not going to put myself out there selfishly just trying to battle through something that is very severe," he said. "If I am able to go, I'm able to go."
(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
Monday, November 25, 2013 @ 2:29pm
By Brent Stecker
Washington junior Bishop Sankey is one of three finalists for the Doak Walker Award, which honors the top college running back each season, while teammate Austin Seferian-Jenkins is a finalist for the John Mackey Award, given each year to the top college tight end.
Washington's Bishop Sankey ranks third in the FBS with 1,575 rushing yards this season. (AP)
Sankey has rushed for 1,575 yards (third in the FBS) and 17 touchdowns this season, and with one conference game to go is just 120 yards short of Corey Dillon's Huskies single-season record of 1,695 yards. He topped 200 yards against both Illinois (208) and Cal (241), and is coming off a 179-yard, three-score performance in a win Saturday over Oregon State.
The other finalists for the Doak Walker Award are Arizona's Ka'Deem Carey (1,559 yards, 16 touchdowns) and Boston College's Andrew Williams (2,073 yards, 16 touchdowns).
The award winner will be announced Dec. 12.
Seferian-Jenkins, also a junior, has 361 yards and six touchdowns on 31 receptions this season despite missing the first game due to a suspension. Coach Steve Sarkisian has also credited his blocking for helping the team's running game, which ranks 15th in the FBS at 244.8 yards per game.
The other candidates for the John Mackey Award are North Carolina's Eric Ebron (50 receptions, 774 yards, eight touchdowns) and Florida State's Nick O'Leary (27 receptions, 457 yards, seven touchdowns).
The winner will be announced Dec. 11.
Monday, November 25, 2013 @ 1:29pm
By Brent Stecker
A continued quarterback mystery will add a new wrinkle to the Huskies' annual Apple Cup clash with rival Washington State.
With senior Keith Price still rehabbing an injured shoulder and freshman Cyler Miles coming off a strong performance in Washington's 69-20 thrashing of Oregon State on Saturday, coach Steve Sarkisian didn't have a starter named by the time he met with the media Monday. In fact, he appears content to keep his options open until prior to the 12:30 p.m. Friday kickoff at Husky Stadium, which would make it the second week in a row that Washington's starting quarterback is game-time decision.
Huskies senior quarterback Keith Price sat out Saturday's win over Oregon State with a shoulder injury, and coach Steve Sarkisian was unsure Monday if he will start Friday against Washington State in the Apple Cup. (AP)
"We really don't know quite honestly yet," Sarkisian said about the Huskies' starter for the Apple Cup. "The way we'll do it is just like last week – we'll prepare for Cyler to be the starter, and if Keith is physically able to go, where we feel confident and comfortable with what he's able to do, then Keith will be able to step in and execute the game plan."
Price, who sustained his injury in a Nov. 15 loss to UCLA, sat out practice until last Thursday. And even though he was in uniform and went through normal pregame preparations Saturday, Miles got the call. Miles answered it well in his first career start, too – he completed 15 of 24 passes for 162 yards, one touchdown and no interception, and rushed for 26 yards on seven carries.
"I thought he looked like a Pac-12 quarterback. (It) didn't look new to him. He just looked comfortable," Sarkisian said of Miles. "He prepared really well. I think he trusted his preparation. ... I thought he used his legs effectively – he didn't have any real big runs but a couple first downs when he pulled the ball down and ran, and ultimately had some times to escape some pressure and make some plays. For a guy making his first career start on the road in that environment in those conditions, I was very pleased."
With the biggest rivalry game of the year upcoming for the Huskies (7-4 overall, 4-4 Pac-12), it would seem they'd be more comfortable playing a fifth-year senior who is the school's record holder for career touchdown passes and is having a stellar season. But as Sarkisian pointed out, Miles proved he's trustworthy when running the offense.
"The biggest thing is what's best for our team. Cyler's performance gives me a comfort level of knowing I have a very capable guy that can go in and perform and run our offense and command our offense," he said. "I also know I have a fifth-year senior who is working his tail off in the rehab room to get himself healthy enough to go out and perform and play and finish off his college career on a high note.
"For as unfortunate as the situation is, it's a good situation to be in with the circumstances that we have based on the two people."
The positive for Price is that his shoulder feels much better than it did a week ago.
"He threw some today, so he's in much better shape this week than he was last week," Sarkisian said. "He's not 100 percent. He's not fully recovered. That's very clear. It's just a matter of, as we get closer to the game, is he in a position to go out and perform well against a good team, against a good defense at 12:30? That's what we have to assess."
Apple Cup returning to prominence
It's been a long time since both the Huskies and Cougars were bowl eligible entering the Apple Cup – 11 years, to be exact, when the Cougars went on to play in the Rose Bowl and the Huskies made the Sun Bowl.
Washington State (6-5, 4-4) reached bowl eligibility for the first time since 2006 with a 49-37 win over Utah on Saturday, though the Cougars may need a win over Washington to ensure a bowl berth. Washington, meanwhile, is poised to play in its fourth straight bowl.
"I think it's great for our state. I think it's great for northwest football that both programs are really moving in the right direction," Sarkisian said. "The better the two teams are performing, the better the environment for the game, and I'm hoping in the near future this game is deciding who is playing for the Pac-12 championship, because I think our fans – theirs and ours – deserve that. It's a great game to be part of it. I'm fortunate, this is my fifth one now, (and) they've all been really good games and they'll probably all continue to be."
The last edition was definitely a standout in the series – Washington State scored 21 unanswered points in the fourth quarter and overtime, with kicker Andrew Furney's 27-yard field goal sealing the 31-28 Cougars victory. Washington's kicker, Travis Coons, missed an opportunity to win the game at the end of regulation, pushing a 35-yard attempt wide right after a bad snap.
Both Furney and Coons are now seniors.
"It still leaves a bad taste in all of our mouths, I can tell you that. Players understand it, coaches understand it," Sarkisian said of last year's loss. "It was almost really a comedy of errors for the fourth quarter and then overtime. We can't do anything about it but prepare really well this week and put our best foot forward here at Husky Stadium at 12:30, and if it comes down to a kick again, I have all the confidence in the world that Travis Coons will make it. He's had a tremendous season for us."
Monday, November 25, 2013 @ 10:11am
AP Sports Writer
CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) Bishop Sankey ran for 179 yards and three touchdowns, matching Napoleon Kaufman's Washington record for career rushing touchdowns with 34, and the Huskies defeated Oregon State 69-27 on Saturday night.
Redshirt freshman Cyler Miles made his first college start and threw for 162 yards and a touchdown for Washington (7-4, 4-4 Pac-12) which clinched a winning record with the victory. Deontae Cooper ran for 166 yards and two TDs and Dwayne Washington ran for 141 yards and two more scores, and the Huskies finished with 530 yards on the ground, second-most for a single game in school history.
It was Washington's biggest margin of victory over the Beavers since a 58-6 win in the 1991 national championship season.
Sean Mannion threw for 229 yards and a score but also threw three interceptions for the Beavers, who lost their fourth straight. The loss snapped a three-game winning streak over the Huskies at Reser Stadium. And it was Oregon State's worst loss since falling 35-0 at Wisconsin in 2011.
Washington was without starting quarterback Keith Price, who injured his right (throwing) shoulder in the second quarter of the Huskies' 41-31 loss to UCLA last weekend. Miles had appeared in six previous games for the Huskies this season, throwing for 250 yards and three touchdowns.
Sankey scored on a 3-yard run to put Washington in front 7-0 early in the game. It was his 32nd career touchdown run, tying him for second on the Huskies' career list with Joe Steele. Sankey edged a touchdown closer to Kaufman with a 5-yard scoring run less than three minutes later that extended Washington's lead.
Travis Coons added a 44-yard field goal to make it 17-0 before the end of the first quarter. Mannion was intercepted under pressure, giving Washington the ball in the red zone and the Huskies went on to score on Coons' 24-yard field goal.
Miles found Kevin Smith in the end zone with a 28-yard pass and Washington went up 27-0 before halftime.
Sankey got his third touchdown on an 8-yard run in the third, before Cooper scored on a 2-yard dash to give the Huskies a 41-0 lead.
The Beavers avoided the shutout early in the fourth quarter when Mannion found Cooks with a 29-yard touchdown pass with 14:40 left in the game. Mannion went into the game leading the nation with an average of 386 yards passing per game and 33 total touchdowns.
Cooks had 117 receiving yards, which gave him 1,560 for the season and put him over Oregon State's single-season record of 1,532 set by Mike Hass in 2005. He already has the school record for receptions with 110 receptions.
Washington pushed their lead to 62-6 with two quick scores, on Cooper's 1-yard run and Dwayne Washington's 32-yard dash. Oregon State answered with Victor Bolden's 98-yard kickoff return and scored again on Chris Brown's 3-yard run to make it 62-20.
Washington added a 71-yard touchdown run for the Huskies before Mannion's backup, Cody Vaz, threw a 33-yard scoring pass to Micah Hatfield for the final margin.
Washington finished with 692 yards in total offense, compared to 414 for Oregon State.
Both teams went into the game having seen their seasons take a downturn.
Washington won its first four games and popped up to No. 15 in the AP Top 25, but the Huskies slumped with consecutive losses to Stanford, Oregon and Arizona State. They've rebounded of late, winning three of their last four.
The Beavers' season got off to a disastrous start, with a loss at home to Eastern Washington in the season opener. Then they reeled off six straight wins, before falling back with losses to Stanford, USC, Arizona State and finally Washington.
Oregon State closes the regular season at Oregon in the annual Civil War rivalry game next Friday. The No. 5 Ducks fell 42-16 on Saturday to Arizona.
Washington wraps up the regular season against Washington State in the Apple Cup. The Cougars became bowl eligible for the first time since 2006 with a 49-37 victory over Utah on Saturday.
The Pac-12 now has nine eligible teams with seven bowl agreements: The Rose Bowl, Alamo, Holiday, Sun, Las Vegas, Fight Hunger and New Mexico. Teams that don't get into one of those bowls would be eligible for an at-large invitation.(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
Sunday, November 24, 2013 @ 1:01pm
By Brent Stecker
Keith Price was in uniform, but it turned out all he needed to do was sit back and watch.
The senior quarterback was able to rest his injured shoulder Saturday night as Washington blew the doors off Reser Stadium in a 69-20 pounding of Oregon State. But after such a dominant performance without Price, there's suddenly another quarterback making a case for playing time.
Three things we're still trying to figure out:
1. Is there suddenly a quarterback controversy in Montlake?
Making his first career start, freshman quarterback Cyler Miles was 15 of 24 for 162 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions against Oregon State on Saturday. (AP)
Redshirt freshman quarterback Cyler Miles made his first career start Saturday, and while his numbers weren't all that impressive – 162 yards passing, one touchdown – he was still very accurate (15 for 24, no interceptions), made things happen with his legs (26 yards on seven carries), and was in the center of the Huskies' 69-point explosion. Does this all mean he should start in front of Price in the Apple Cup next Friday? Probably not. But if Price's shoulder is still giving him problems, you better believe coach Steve Sarkisian will be comfortable turning to Miles.
2. Did Miles help take some of the heat off of Sarkisian?
Sarkisian has been feeling pressure ever since Washington cooled off after a 4-0 start this season, and some of have even called for his five-year tenure to end after this season. One would have to believe a solid start from a freshman quarterback (and the obvious signal-caller of the future for the Huskies) would help his standing immensely in Seattle, however. Of course, Washington needs to take care of one more piece of business to really ensure job security for Sarkisian, and that's defeating the Cougars in the Apple Cup next week.
3. Will Bishop Sankey break Corey Dillon's school rushing record against WSU?
The junior running back had a lot of people uttering his name in the same breath as the Heisman Trophy on Saturday night, because he ran all over the Beavers for 179 yards and three touchdowns on 23 carries. He tied Napoleon Kaufman's school record for career rushing touchdowns in the win, but he has one more Huskies record in his sights – Corey Dillon's season rushing record of 1,695 yards. Sankey's sitting at 1,575 yards, the third most in the nation, and a 120-yard rushing performance isn't out of the question against the rival Cougars. But if there's one thing you can count on Friday, it will be the Cougars' defense keying in on the former Spokane prep standout who spurned Washington State to play for the Huskies.
Three things we learned:
1. The Huskies have Sean Mannion figured out.
Oregon State's quarterback can be an all-or-nothing passer, and in his last two meetings against the Huskies, it's been a whole lot of nothing. Washington picked off Mannion three times (twice by cornerback Marcus Peters), and though he had 229 yards and a touchdown, he completed fewer than half of his passes and ended the game with a dismal 89.1 rating. It was at least slightly better than his performance last year against Washington, when he threw four interceptions.
2. Washington's offensive line is in good shape heading into the Apple Cup.
Sankey wasn't the only Huskies rusher to have a big game. Deontae Cooper and Dwayne Washington both had two touchdowns, a gain of over 70 yards, and a final tally of over 100 yards rushing. That kind of dominance points squarely to a tremendous effort from the Huskies' offensive line, which is finally healthy and had no trouble pushing the Beavers around all night.
3. John Ross is something special.
It took all of one play for the Huskies to take the momentum, and that was simply because of the electricity that the freshman provided on the opening kickoff. Ross was off to the races immediately, returning the ball 62 yards to Oregon State's 38 and setting the tone for a first quarter in which Washington took a commanding 17-0 lead. The fastest Husky didn't have much impact on offense, making one catch for 7 yards as a wide receiver, but he found another way to make waves by making some appearances in the secondary on defense.
Saturday, November 23, 2013 @ 6:11pm
By 710Sports.com staff
Redshirt freshman Cyler Miles will make his first career start at quarterback for the Washington Huskies tonight at Oregon State, head coach Steve Sarkisian announced in a pregame radio interview.
Miles will start in place of senior Keith Price, who is nursing a shoulder injury suffered in the Huskies' last game, a loss to UCLA on Nov. 15.
Price was reportedly practicing on the field prior to the 7:30 p.m. start. He hasn't missed a start in two years, when a leg injury held him out for the first three quarters of a game against Oregon State.
Miles has played in five games this season, including the entire second half against UCLA. He has passed 21 for 32 for 250 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. He has also run for 144 yards on 14 attempts.
Price has been a standout this season for Washington with a 154.6 passer rating. He has 2,662 yards on 64.8 percent passing, with 19 touchdowns and four interceptions.
Friday, November 22, 2013 @ 3:46pm
By 710Sports.com staff
The quarterback picture for the Huskies is still shrouded in mystery, at least for another day.
Washington coach Steve Sarkisian won't name a starting quarterback for Saturday's game at Oregon State until before kickoff, he said in a radio interview Friday.
The Huskies options are senior Keith Price and redshirt freshman Cyler Miles. Price hasn't missed a start in two years for Washington, but a banged-up shoulder on his right (throwing) arm suffered in a loss last week against UCLA prevented him from even practicing until Thursday morning. Miles took his place against the Bruins and the No. 1 snaps in his place in practice earlier this week.
Sarkisian said that Price was "vastly improved" after practice Thursday.
"I was encouraged that he was able to go out and throw the ball the way he did. (He was) much improved from where he couldn't even basically put a shirt on Saturday," he said.
Friday, November 22, 2013 @ 8:03am
By Danny O'Neil
The Washington Huskies are at a crossroads.
Saturday's game in Corvallis, Ore., is being cast as one more referendum on the coaching tenure of Steve Sarkisian, a chance for his Huskies to show the program is continuing to make progress with him at the helm.
Kind of like that road game at Stanford earlier this season. Or the home game against Oregon a week later or any of another half a dozen games over the past three seasons that were deemed an opportunity for the Huskies to make a statement and move up the Pac-12 pecking order.
The fact that we're two games from the end of Sarkisian's fifth year and still having this conversation says everything you need to know about this program's ability to take that next step: I don't think it can. Not under Sarkisian, which is why I'm hoping the Huskies have a new coach next season.
I'm not happy about that conclusion. I even hope that I'll be proven wrong over the remainder of this season, but I know that a victory at Oregon State for the Huskies' first conference road win in 2013 won't be enough to change my mind.
We have five years of history under Sarkisian, more than 60 games, and while his resuscitation of the program should be commended, the inability to get the Huskies beyond conference mediocrity is not only undeniable, but indicative of what the future holds under him.
This team's inability to develop across the line of scrimmage on either side of the ball and a dumbfounding insistence on committing penalty after penalty has left it high-centered in the Pac-12. Not only is it looking up at Oregon, but this season Arizona State and UCLA – two programs in their second season under new coaches – beat the Huskies decisively.
Washington's inability to keep quarterback Keith Price upright is an indictment of the coaching staff's failure to recruit and/or develop talent on the offensive line. (AP)
Sarkisian deserves a ton of credit for bringing a pulse back to this program that had flatlined before his arrival. He showed that it could again be a destination and that beautiful new stadium is due in part to the enthusiasm Sarkisian brought back to a program that had all the hope of a condemned building when Tyrone Willingham was fired.
Sarkisian brought Washington from a winless season in 2008 to a bowl game in 2010 and helped Jake Locker become a first-round pick and kept Austin Sefarian-Jenkins and Kasen Williams from leaving the state, all of which were so incredibly important for this program.
But Sarkisian has had five years now, and while there have been memorable moments like that home upset of USC in 2009, the closest the Huskies have come to a win that would vault the program into an era of contention was that 2010 Holiday Bowl victory against a decidedly disinterested Nebraska team that had a less-than-healthy quarterback and had beaten Washington by 35 points in Seattle earlier that season.
More than anything, Washington's record has not improved even as its schedule has gotten easier. Not only is this program no longer playing at LSU or hosting Nebraska, it's facing lesser-division college football programs like Eastern Washington and Idaho State for the first time in the program's history.
The Huskies even changed the offense this season, going to an up-tempo approach despite the fact that Sarkisian is one of the better pro-style playcallers in the college game. But Washington wasn't able to keep pace with teams like Oregon and Arizona State – who already played at that place – and was decisively outmuscled at UCLA a week ago.
Which brings us back to this weekend's game, the Huskies sitting at 6-4 for the third successive season and everyone pointing to this game at Oregon State as a chance for Washington to show it is making progress.
Trouble is that I've been down this road too many times already. I'm ready to turn back.