SEATTLE — On a night when the University of Washington needed a big game from quarterback Keith Price, the junior responded with a season high in passing yards in a 34-15 victory over Utah at CenturyLink Field.
Price threw 33 passes and completed 24, and his 277 passing yards was a high for 2012, topping the 256 yards he totaled in a 52-17 loss at Arizona on Oct. 20.
He had touchdown passes of 8 and 9 yards, and added a third TD with a 4-yard run.
Price started slowly, with his first two passes covering a combined minus-3 yards. And on Washington’s second possession, Price threw a long third-down pass up the left sideline to wide receiver Kasen Williams, who had come free behind the Utah defense. It would have been an easy completion for a first down and a long gain, if not a touchdown, except Price threw the ball out of bounds.
Price finished the first quarter with just 32 passing yards, but soon found his stride. He easily would have gone over 300 yards had the Huskies not gone mostly to a running game in the fourth quarter to use up clock.
Price also showed some savvy in the pocket, twice scrambling for first downs on third-down plays in the final period.
With about six minutes to play in the fourth quarter, UW tight end Austin Sefarian-Jenkins caught a short pass up the left sideline for the 96th reception of his career. That set a UW record for a tight end, breaking the mark set previously by Mark Bruener (1991-94).
What makes Sefarian-Jenkins’ total more remarkable, of course, is that he is only a sophomore. His catches have come in just 23 games.
Pac-12 officials have come under increasing criticism in recent weeks, and there will surely be more in the week ahead following what was likely the worst call of the season in college football.
Midway through the first quarter, Utah quarterback Travis Wilson threw a flat pass to wide receiver Luke Matthews. The ball fell incomplete and UW safety Justin Glenn, trailing the play, came up and gently bumped Matthews while pulling up.
It was absolutely insignificant and the kind of after-the-play contact that happens on every down of every football game.
Except Matthews dropped like he’d been hit by a semi truck and the head linesman through a penalty flag. It was a 15-yard penalty, giving Utah a first down.
The play had a huge impact two plays later when Utah running back John White shot through a hole on the left side and dashed for a 46-yard touchdown.
Because Saturday’s game was Washington’s home finale, the team honored 11 seniors before the game. The seniors are linebacker Nate Fellner, tailback Cole Sager, fullback Jonathan Amosa, cornerback Adam Long, cornerback Anthony Gobern, defensive tackle Semisi Tokolahi, wide receiver Cody Bruns, safety Justin Glenn, defensive end Talia Crichton, center Drew Schaefer and cornerback Desmond Trufant.
Not included was senior wide receiver James Johnson, who was injured early in the season and is expected to be granted a redshirt year.
Starting Saturday’s game at nose tackle for Washington was Drew Schultz, a 6-1, 254-pound sophomore non-letterman from Olympia. It was his first career start and only his second career game, following an appearance two weeks ago against Oregon State.
Schultz was starting in place of Crichton, a defensive end, who was injured against California. Usual nose tackle Danny Shelton started at left defensive end in place of Crichton.
Adding to the streak
Prior to joining the Pac-12 a year ago, Utah had faced Washington six times and lost all six. A year ago, the Utes also lost their first Pac-12 game against the Huskies, and their first conference game overall, 31-14.
The Huskies are the only Pac-12 team Utah has never beaten.
After juggling their offensive line in the season’s first eight, the Huskies have now started the same interior five for three games in a row, beginning with the Oregon State game on Oct. 27. That unit includes left tackle Micah Hatchie, left guard Dexter Charles, center Drew Schaefer, right guard Mike Criste and right tackle Ben Riva.
Hatchie and Schaefer are the only players on the offensive front to have started every game this season at the same positions. Wide receiver Kasen Williams, tight end Sefarian-Jenkins and quarterback Price are the only other offensive players to start every game at their positions.