No. 19 Huskies top Illinois 34-24

CHICAGO — Just reminded by their coach to watch for a deep throw, the University of Washington Huskies defense moved from the sideline back out to field Saturday.

Ahead 31-10 with 3:16 remaining in the third quarter, the difference in the score could have been more at that point. The Huskies ran and threw as a matter of convenience during the first half, yet led just 10-3, producing a flashback-inducing half reminiscent of the Boise State game.

Sixteen seconds after being alerted by their coach, the Huskies gave up a 72-yard touchdown pass from Illinois quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase to Ryan Lankford, Their lead was now just two scores. With 9:10 remaining in the game, Illinois scored again and the lead dropped to one score.

Washington was able to avert panic. An interception by Greg Ducre and a 32-yard field goal by Travis Coons kept Illinois at bay and Washington came away with a 34-24 victory in front of 47,312 at Soldier Field.

The Huskies controlled the final two games of last season late. They lost both.

Saturday, 19th-ranked Washington (2-0) had Illinois’ face in the dirt prior to letting it up. In the fourth quarter, the Huskies came up with at least enough effort to trip the Illini (2-1) back to the ground.

“I didn’t feel tension,” Washington head coach Steve Sarkisian said.

Ample reasons for confidence existed.

The offense rolled again. Two weeks after gaining 592 yards in the opener, the Huskies amassed 615 against Illinois, good for the sixth-most in school history.

Bishop Sankey ran for a career-high 208 yards, the second time in the past three games he has rushed for more than 200 yards. His previous career-high was set at the close of last season when he rushed for 205 yards in the Las Vegas Bowl.

“I thought Bishop Sankey was a warrior again tonight,” Sarkisian said.

Sankey opened the Huskies’ scoring with a 31-yard touchdown catch just shy of four minutes into the game, then added a 1-yard touchdown run early in the third quarter. Backup tailback Jesse Callier’s 39-yard, third-quarter run put the Huskies up 24-10 and Jaydon Mickens’ darting 9-yard touchdown run after a short pass from Quarterback Keith Price put them in front 31-10.

Price was precise most of the night. He was 28-for-35, including the three passes he intentionally threw away. Price’s 342 yards were the second-most of his career. After two games, Price is completing 77.3 percent of his passes.

“I left a lot out there, I’m not even going to lie,” Price said. “There are some throws that needed to be made.”

Price found nine receivers. Senior wideout Kevin Smith caught five passes for a game-high 104 receiving yards. Kasen Williams beat two defenders for a downfield jump ball that produced a 43-yard completion. Mickens led the team with eight receptions. Austin Seferian-Jenkins had a quiet night in his season debut with three catches for eight yards.

Washington’s mistakes were abundant. The Huskies were assessed 12 penalties, some of them very costly, for 104 yards. They also lost two fumbles.

After fumbling twice on two touches in the first half, redshirt freshman running back Dwayne Washington was benched. Callier, last year’s starter at tailback until he tore his ACL in the first game, was summoned.

With 3rd-and-8 looming from Washington’s own 45-yard line, the Huskies’ paused from their immediate-snap approach. Price turned to the sidelines, Sarkisian signaled, they reset.

Callier, who had a large impact throughout the second half, leaked out of the backfield with an escort from left guard Dexter Charles. Price made a simple, clean dump-off to Callier, Charles popped a block and 27 yards later Callier was out of bounds.

“They gave us the right look,” Price said. “Sark dialed it up, perfect play, perfect call.”

Timeout, Illinois.

Coons came on to kick a 32-yard field goal five plays later. Illinois took over down 34-24 and was intercepted by Ducre on its final trick-play attempt of the night. It was an atonement of sorts for Ducre, who had been beaten on the 72-yard touchdown pass to Lankford.

More in Sports

Rams rout Seahawks 42-7 in NFC West showdown

Los Angeles built a 34-0 halftime lead and cruised to the victory.

Washington men stave off Loyola Marymount 80-78

Noah Dickerson’s 13 points in the final five minutes help Washington hold on

VIDEO: Postgame reaction to the Seahawks’ loss to the Rams

Seattle coach Pete Carroll and players speak after the Seahawks’ 42-7 loss to Los Angeles.

RPI has changed way hoops coaches approach non-league games

The implementation of RPI for state-tourney seeding has local basketball coaches thinking differently.

Everett’s Dustin Wolf stops a shot Saturday night at the Angels of the Winds Arena in Everett on December 16, 2017. (Kevin Clark / The Daily Herald)
Sivertips bounce back, rout Cougars 4-0

Dustin Wolf notches his first career shutout as Everett rebounds from a loss to beat Prince George.

How might NHL team in Seattle impact Silvertips?

A look at local reaction to the possibility of the NHL coming to Seattle.

Seahawks ditch ‘every game is the same’ mantra for Rams showdown

Seattle hosts first-place Los Angeles in what is essentially the NFC West championship game on Sunday.

Freshmen contributing for UW men’s basketball team

Mike Hopkins likes what he’s seen from his freshmen through… Continue reading

Saturday’s prep scores, recaps

BOYS BASKETBALL Neah Bay 61, Darrington 55 Bellingham 77, Sultan 55 Interlake… Continue reading

Most Read