With every passing week, Steve Sarkasian’s Washington Huskies are less and less Jake Locker’s team and more Keith Price’s. The first-year starter continued to impress over the weekend, throwing three more touchdown passes and bringing his season total to 17 as Washington improved to 4-1.
But Week 5 was about much more than Price, who’s dazzled pretty much every week. The 31-14 road victory over Utah was a coming-of-age moment for the Huskies – and one that has them flirting with AP national top-25 status.
The most exciting development: UW actually played some defense. Keeping opponents off the board had been a big problem for UW so far and the Huskies’ pass rush was in major trouble with Hau’oli Jamora suffering a season-ending injury the week prior.
But something clicked this past Saturday. The Huskies’ pass rush came to life; it hurried Utah all day, knocking quarterback Jordan Wynn out of the game; and the turnovers flowed as a result.
Washington forced four fumbles, recovering three (including one for a touchdown), and picked off two passes.
Washington still allowed 300-plus passing yards, reminding us that the defense remains a work in progress, but how about that run stopping? The Huskies stymied the Utes for just 23 yards on 17 carries.
It was the lowest rushing total allowed by UW since 2007; the Huskies didn’t allow a run longer than six yards.
Star Huskies running back Chris Polk also had that breakout game we were waiting for, tallying 189 yards on 29 carries.
So what does it all mean?
The big effort this weekend vaulted UW to 28th in the national rankings.
The Huskies have a bye this week. After that, they host Colorado in a game they should win in theory.
That would almost certainly get Washington into the top 25 leading up to a crucial Pac-12 battle with Stanford on October 22.