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Originally published Thursday, September 27, 2012 at 11:05 PM

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Washington's Bishop Sankey has breakout game against Stanford

Sophomore running back Bishop Sankey rushes for 144 yards, 61-yard touchdown in Huskies' 17-13 upset.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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Bishop Sankey never intended to break the game open on his 61-yard touchdown scamper that was the momentum-shifting swing in Washington's 17-13 upset over No. 8 Stanford.

He was just looking for a yard on fourth-and-one to keep the drive alive, but when the play began, the sophomore running back sensed something more was in the works.

"It happened so fast," Sankey said. "The hole was there. I tried to hit the hole as hard as I could. I saw the guy (Stanford cornerback Terrence Brown), just a glimpse of him and I stepped out of his (tackle) and after that it was off to the races."

Sankey's dash at the end of the third quarter Thursday cut Washington's deficit to 13-10 and provided the boost for an offense that sputtered for most of the night in the Pac-12 Conference football opener at CenturyLink Field.

The Huskies managed 14 rushing yards in the first quarter. By halftime, UW had just 138 total yards.

"I thought if we could get away from the armored front they have, if we could get to the second level, we'd have a chance to make some plays," coach Steve Sarkisian said. "The challenge was getting there."

Sankey, a 5-foot-10, 200-pounder from Spokane, finished with a career-high 144 yards on 20 carries. The Stanford defense had allowed 124 rushing yards combined this season and ranked No. 1 in the nation.

"We knew they were good against the run, but it was all about being patient and keeping at it," Sankey said. "The O-line did great. They opened up holes and we got through them."

While Sankey did most of the work, Sarkisian credited Dezden Petty for a big play. The redshirt freshman also carried on fourth-and-one and picked up a critical first down on the game-winning, fourth-quarter drive.

Still, none of Washington's runs were as important as Sankey's touchdown jaunt.

"That broke it open," said Cardinal linebacker Travis Murphy. "They scored and the crowd was into it. We never killed the crowd. ... That play hurt us for sure."

The Huskies wondered if Sankey could fill the shoes of Chris Polk, who led UW in rushing for three years.

"Bishop has been working his tail off," tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins said. "Sometimes it takes a little while for you to click, and he clicked today at the most crucial time. It's a blessing to have Bishop Sankey on our team.

"He's a great player and an even better person. He deserves this."

With offensive weapons like quarterback Keith Price, receiver Kasen Williams and Seferian-Jenkins, Sankey gets overlooked.

"Nobody ever talks about their backs," Stanford coach David Shaw said. "They've got three really good backs, and if you give them enough opportunities and they hit a crease, two of them of them are really fast.

"You get them in the open field, and they're tough to tackle."

Percy Allen: 206-464-2278 or pallen@seattletimes.com.

On Twitter @percyallen

Off and running
Bishop Sankey's 144-yard performance Thursday nearly equaled his rushing yards all last season.
Att Yds Lg TD
2011 28 187 33 1
Stanford 20 144 61 1

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