Washington Huskies on Course to Retake Prominence with Boise State Win
A new offense and a new stadium are taking Washington football back to time when it was among the nation's elite.
On an opening night in which "Retake Montlake" was painted on the Husky Stadium turf, the Huskies took their biggest step yet toward reclaiming national prominence.
UW christened its renovated home by imposing its will on No. 19 Boise State.
Justin Wilcox's remarkable improvement of the Husky defense a season ago carried over into the 2013 opener—UW kept the Broncos out of the end zone for the duration.
Saturday's 38-6 final score was a dramatic about-face from the 28-26 defeat UW suffered to this same BSU side in December's Maaco Bowl Las Vegas. That loss capped a disappointing 7-6 finish for the Huskies, their third consecutive season with the same record under head coach Steve Sarkisian.
No longer content to be merely on the cusp, UW went barreling through with an authority not seen from this program since its heyday in the 1990s.
Beyond the dominating defensive effort and more important for UW's long-term goals in the Pac-12 Conference, was the newly-implemented no-huddle offense's efficiency.
Quarterback Keith Price returning to his 2011 form was a hot topic throughout UW's offseason. The emergence of running back Bishop Sankey amid Price's well-documented struggles last season begged the question, what if?
Wonder no longer.
Sankey, who Sarkisian said at Pac-12 media days played his "best game yet" against BSU in the bowl, went for 161 yards and two touchdowns.
First game for Washington with a 300 yard QB and 100 yard RB since 2011 Alamo Bowl.— SportsGuy (@_ArmChairQB) September 1, 2013
Sankey found impossibly wide holes created at the line. That same blocking tenacity was and will continue to be vital to Price's success. The quarterback spent much of 2012 looking up at stadium lights, the result of 38 sacks surrendered.
Not the case Saturday. Sarkisian told The Seattle Times a "nasty" offensive line would dictate tempo for the Huskies' revamped offense.
Indeed, the big bodies up front gave quarterback Keith Price all day to operate, and the senior obliged with 23 of 31 showing for 324 yards and a touchdown.
The defense was stifling, the passing attack was clicking and the rushing attack rolled. For a program that has seemingly hit on two but never all three phases simultaneously in the last three years, such an all-around performance is a welcome change.
Perhaps most impressive is that UW accomplished this all with its All-America tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins on the sideline, serving a one-game suspension for an offseason arrest.
In his absence, Price spread the ball among seven different receivers with efficiency and exuberance. Frustration frequently bubbled to the surface for Price in a trying 2012. Against BSU, Price played with a loose demeanor.
Happy days are here again in Husky Stadium.
Kyle Kensing is the Pac-12 Lead Writer. All quotes obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. Follow Kyle on Twitter @kensing45.
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