By Scott M. Johnson Herald Columnist
SEATTLE — Hope you didn’t blink.
Hope you enjoyed every single second of that University of Washington bounce-back performance Saturday.
Hope you enjoyed watching Portland State play the part of a Mike Tyson opponent, except this time it kept getting propped up after each knockout blow and forced to take 12 rounds of punches.
Hope you enjoyed seeing the Huskies score 14 points before a single snap was taken on their side of the 50.
Hope you enjoyed seeing Bishop Sankey and the UW run game come to life, watching Keith Price turn in a Heisman-like first half and getting an eyeful of a punishing offensive line. Seeing Princeton Fuimaono making punishing hits and Shaq Thompson block kicks. Seeing DiAndre Campbell and Marvin Hall and Marcus Peters arrive on the scene. Seeing blocked kicks and special-teams trickery and a UW record-matching 45 points in the first half.
Hope you enjoyed it all. Because it might be awhile before you see it again.
The Huskies will enjoy a bye this Saturday, and that is likely to be the best thing that happens to UW football for the foreseeable future.
Stanford, Oregon and USC await on the schedule in the Huskies’ next three games. Those three schools hammered UW by an average score of 46-18 last year. Those three schools are ranked in the top 25 and expected to be the class of the Pacific-12 Conference again this year. And as if that’s not enough, the three games against Pac-12 powers will be followed by an Oct. 20 trip to Arizona … currently ranked 24th in the nation.
It’s about to get real, Husky fans.
You’re thinking maybe Stanford isn’t quite as daunting this year because quarterback Andrew Luck isn’t there anymore? Think again. The Cardinal flexed their muscle Saturday with a 21-14 victory over second-ranked USC. They have beaten UW by 20, and then 41, and then 44 points in the teams’ past three meetings.
But let’s not worry about any of that. Not right now. Let’s not even think about Stanford, or Oregon, or USC. Or even LSU, for that matter.
Right now, it’s all about UW. The Huskies’ moment in the sun.
Maybe it took the Big Sky for Husky football to shine, but shine it did.
From the outset, things were looked pretty good for UW on Saturday afternoon. (And, yes, Cmdr. Sarkisian has granted us the permission to report on this one, thank you.) While Portland State tried to pull a fast one with an onside kick to open the game, the Huskies fell on the loose ball and calmly began kicking sand in the Vikings’ face.
By the time Watson picked up a loose ball on Thompson’s blocked field goal and ran 79 yards for the score, the Huskies had built up a 28-0 lead 41/2 minutes into the second quarter and some lady in a Size 30 dress was already stepping up to the microphone.
The only question at halftime was whether UW would hit triple digits.
When PSU was finally put out of its misery, 52-13, the Huskies were relieved to be back on track after last weekend’s blowout in Baton Rouge.
“It’s definitely good to get the bad taste out of your mouth,” quarterback Keith Price said, referring to the 41-3 loss to LSU.
What we learned during the loss to LSU was that UW is as close to a national contender as Chone Figgins is to being Josh Hamilton. What we learned Saturday was that the Huskies would be a pretty trendy pick to win the Big Sky Conference.
What we’re going to find out in the next month is where the Huskies stand in Year 4 of the Sarkisian Era. When he’s not frantically trying to stash his injury reports under his visor, Sarkisian is also attempting to lead UW football to the proverbial next level.
One might argue that coming within 10 points of USC, Oregon and/or Stanford would mark a significant step in the right direction, but the truth is that anything short of two wins over the next three games could only signal another season of almost-but-not-quite football at UW. Without a pair of wins over the so-called haves in the Pac-12, the Huskies would still find themselves as part of that large pack of conference teams still flashing their lights in the rearview mirror.
But, please. Let’s let these Dawgs have their day. They lit up Portland State, and the scoreboard, for 60 minutes on a beautiful Saturday afternoon, and it’s time to throw them a bone.
UW football was back for one day. Now it’s time to see whether the Huskies can sustain it.
Because before you can blink, it might be a month from now, and you might be wondering what happened to the 2012 season.