Something very good is happening in Husky stadium over the last couple of years, with a lot of the credit going to the emergence of Bishop Sankey at running back, who is on pace of having an even bigger season than his Sophomore year, as it doesn’t seem like Steve Sarkisian is planning on giving him some easy games inside the rough Pac-12 schedule.
It was supposed to be a meeting of the running backs in the conference, with Ka’Deem Cary playing for Arizona. While the two didn’t disappoint, combining for 191 yards, Arizona tried to air it out in a game and conditions that were for rushing plays only. It ended in a 31-13 win for Washington, remaining undefeated with a 4-9 start.
It’s not that Washington didn’t have any problems with the rough weather, but they made the best of the situation. Keith Price was limited to 25 throws, finding Kevin Smith and Austin Sefarian-Jenkins in the endzone while throwing being intercepted once. On the other side of the trenches, B.J. Denkner was intercepted twice, completing only 40% of his passes and averaged only 3.4 yards per carry.
How ever many times they need me to carry, I’ll do it. When I’m out there, the adrenaline is pumping. I’m not really thinking about how many carries I’m at — what the limit is. I’m just trying to pick up yards and move the chains.
Saneky was the story of the game, breaking a school record by rushing 40 times for 161 yards. This was just under 40% of his season total, following and easy week with only 4 carries as they beat Idaho State 56-0 seven days ago. However, we should expect Sarkisian to rely more and more on Sankey, even if it does make for some gross imbalance in their offense. Washington improved to 4-0 for the first time since 2001, and it’s better to keep doing whatever’s working for him.
Bishop was awesome. He didn’t change, his focus was there, his body language didn’t change from the first carry to the last. He was a warhead tonight. We needed to lean on our run game today. We knew it was going to be extremely hard trying to throw the ball downfield so we were kind of conservative with that.
How much is this making Washington true contenders in the Pac-12 North? They have Stanford and Oregon back-to-back in the next two weeks, which will determine if this is another season of settling for slight improvement and a mediocre bowl game, or has Sarkisian done enough during his time in Seattle to make Washington an elite team in this conference once again, something that’s long been forgotten.
Their wins over Arizona and Illinois suggest that this is more than just a team that dines on bottom feeders, and their defense, allowing 10.8 points per game, has got to count for something. But for all of the yards and carries Sankey can pick up, until we see Washington pull its own weight against the quality opposition the Pac-12 has to offer, they’re going to be nothing than a nice anecdote with one hell of a running back.