Huskies humiliated at Stanford, lose 65-21
The Cardinal, rated No. 7 in each major poll this week, ran over the Huskies in beating Washington 65-21 in front of 50,360 at Stanford Stadium.
Seattle Times staff reporter
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STANFORD, Calif. — The Washington Huskies had said their game here Saturday against the Stanford Cardinal would give them a good idea where they stood against the best teams in college football.
They're not quite there yet.
And maybe even further than they'd hoped, especially on defense, which was overwhelmed all night by a big, physical and veteran Stanford team that looked worthy of national-title consideration on this night, beating the Huskies 65-21.
It tied the most points allowed by UW since 1921 (the Huskies lost 65-7 at Miami in 2001), and the 615 total yards by Stanford were the most allowed during the Steve Sarkisian era.
"It's embarrassing," said safety Sean Parker. "I know we are a better defense than that. It's just unacceptable."
The manner in which Stanford dominated caught the Huskies off guard as they thought they were ready to stand up to the Cardinal after decisive defeats the past two years. Instead, they were again flattened, having lost to Stanford by a combined score of 140-35 the past three years.
"I don't think anybody expected this," said middle linebacker Cort Dennison. "When you are preparing to win a football game, this is the last kind of thing you think about."
UW is 5-2 overall, 3-1 in Pac-12 play, and will surely fall out of the Top 25 rankings — just as they did after a 34-14 loss here in 2009 that came after the last time they had been ranked.
"We got beat in all three phases," said Washington coach Steve Sarkisian. "They wear you out and they wear you down. We couldn't keep pace with them."
Stanford, 7-0 and likely to move up a few spots from its No. 7 ranking, scored on its first seven possessions and didn't punt until there was just over two minutes remaining in the third quarter.
And Stanford was so efficient running the ball — with a school-record 446 rushing yards on 44 carries — that it hardly needed to rely on quarterback Andrew Luck, a Heisman Trophy favorite, who was 16 of 21 for 169 yards and two touchdowns before departing in the fourth quarter.
"They did a couple of (different) things with some of their formations and different things," Sarkisian said of Stanford's rushing success. "I thought they just executed really well and we would defend the play and defend the play and the one time we would get out of a gap, bang. And it wasn't a gain of 12. They just executed really well like a good team does. ... I don't think it was from a lack of physicality. I think at times we just weren't right, and when you are not right against this good of a team they make you pay."
The Huskies kept up for a little while. After Stanford scored on its first two possessions to take a 10-0 lead, the Huskies came back with a 46-yard touchdown run by Chris Polk — the first points Stanford had allowed in the first quarter all season.
Stanford answered right back with a touchdown to make it 17-7. But Polk again responded with a 61-yard TD run to cut the lead to 17-14 early in the second quarter.
The offense had barely sat down, however, when Stanford's Stepfan Taylor broke loose for a 70-yard touchdown to put Stanford back on top 24-14.
Sarkisian thought that sequence was tough to bounce back from for his players.
"It's obviously tough," he said. "We are becoming a more mentally tough team. I think that we are still a bit fragile at times but we will learn from this."
UW's last gasp came with Stanford ahead 31-14 late in the first half, but the Huskies driving. On third-and-four at the Cardinal 41, quarterback Keith Price tried to hit Jermaine Kearse over the middle. But Stanford strong safety Michael Thomas picked it off and returned it 62 yards for a touchdown to put the Cardinal ahead 38-14 at halftime.
"I thought a real killer was the pick six there right before the half," Sarkisian said. "That was a real blow to our psyche."
Indeed, the Huskies didn't put up much of a fight in the third quarter as the Cardinal scored 10 more points while UW gained just 2 yards on its first nine plays, going three-and-out on its first three possessions.
"To come out and be non-existent offensively in the third quarter was real disappointing," Sarkisian said.
Players admitted it was tough to keep up the fight as the game got away.
"We got a little frustrated out there," Polk said. "I know I did personally, because we were getting stopped and they were scoring, and we felt like we had to do something, like we had to make plays. So I think people were trying to do too much and not just do their job."
Sarkisian and players, though, left the stadium echoing a theme that "one game will not define our season" and that this won't derail what had been a promising start.
"There is a lot of football left to be played," Sarkisian said. "And at the end of it all, we are a 5-2 football team. And we've got five games to go and we can go one of two ways now, and one of the keys is for us not to feel sorry for ourselves and sulk and feel down. We've got to get back up and get ready to play Arizona next Saturday."
Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or firstname.lastname@example.org
|For the fourth time in the 28 games that Nick Holt has been the defensive coordinator, the UW defense allowed more than 300 yards rushing to an opponent.|
|Oct. 22, 2011||at Stanford||446||L, 65-21|
|Sept. 18, 2010||Nebraska||383||L, 56-21|
|Sept. 26, 2010||at Stanford||321||L, 34-14|
|Sept. 17, 2011||at Nebraska||309||L, 52-24|
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