With No. 8 Stanford deep in Washington territory and threatening to escape Seattle with a win, Washington’s Desmond Trufant intercepted Cardinal quarterback Josh Nunes’s fourth down pass to seal the upset for the Huskies, 17-13, Thursday night.
Down 13-3 near the end of the third quarter, Washington opted to go for it on fourth and one from their own 40-yard line and hit the jackpot with sophomore running back Bishop Sankey rushing up the middle for a 60-yard touchdown to give the Huskies a little boost heading in to the fourth quarter. Sankey, making just his third start for the Huskies, rushed for 144 yards, 20 more yards than Stanford had allowed all season heading in to the game. The Huskies took their first lead of the night with under five minutes to play when Kasen Williams caught a pass from Keith Price and ran the rest of the way for a 35-yard touchdown to put the Huskies up 16-13, with an extra point capping the scoring on the night.
It was just three weeks ago Washington showed how young and inexperienced they were when they were dominated by a much more experienced and battle-tested LSU team in Baton Rouge. Stanford may not be close to LSU either, as the Cardinal have been a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde story in September, but the Huskies showed good maturity against a program that could still factor in to the Pac 12 North race when all is said and done.
“I was talking to the team last night, the ultimate goal for tonight was to lay down in bed tonight and be 1-0 in Pac-12 play,” Washington head coach Steve Sarkisian said. “I just wanted to be 1-0 and start off on the right foot. And how we did it and the final score didn’t matter to me, it was more of playing the way we were capable of playing, playing disciplined football.”
“Bottom line is we are in a great conference if you don’t play your best football in the conference you lose,” Stanford head coach David Shaw said. “We lost tonight, we lost a tough road game, we are down one game in the Pac12 North and that’s where we are. So now we have to approach every day with a sense of urgency because now we are behind and we don’t like to be behind, we’ve got to catch up.”
Thursday night’s victory was Washington’s first over a top ten team since upsetting No. 3 USC in 2009 in Husky Stadium. Since that game Washington had been 0-5 against top ten opponents, including this season’s road loss at LSU. It was also Washington’s first win against Stanford since 2007. With the Cardinal program enjoying a recent string of success on the football field, this win was a long time coming for some of Washington’s veteran players.
“I’m a senior, this is my last year and I have never beaten Stanford until now,” senior fullback Jonathan Amosa said. “Words can’t explain it. For all the guys who left and all the guys that are here now, you can only imagine how it feels to take down a #10 team in all black on ESPN with all the fans rushing the field, it does not get any better than that.”
Fifth-year senior Justin Glenn, who was on the team when Washington went 0-12 in 2008, said Thursday night’s game might have been the best he has been a part of, even better than the 2009 upset of USC at home.
“This is up there,” Glenn said, with a big grin. “Especially personally. I wanted this one as much if not more than any other one, just because every game that we’ve played against Stanford has kind of just been a beat down, really.
“I almost felt like they didn’t respect us,” Glenn added. “They definitely respect us tonight.”
Washington’s next two games will be an even tougher task for the Huskies. Next week Washington heads to Eugene, Oregon to take on the Oregon Ducks in prime time. The following week Washington returns to their home field to host the USC Trojans.
Washington earned Stanford’s respect. Can they win the respect of the Ducks and Trojans as well?
Kevin is a national college football writer for quadrust.com and the host of the No 2-Minute Warning podcast. Submit your mailbag questions via Tumblr. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Follow Kevin: Twitter | Facebook | Google+