Sarkisian Keeps Pedal To The Metal

Steve Sarkisian (Kim Grinolds/Dawgman.com)

SEATTLE - The Washington Huskies were apparently in a hurry. They had a date with bowl eligibility they didn't want to be late to and another game to think about in six days so they had no time to really bask in the glow of a 59-7 throttling over Colorado Saturday night at Husky Stadium. The 24 Hour rule lasted about 24 minutes.

"We're over it already," Washington Head Coach Steve Sarkisian said. "The preparation is underway and it has to be for a short week. I think our guys understand that. Our guys were already talking about it."

Sark should have told his counterpart Mike MacIntyre that he wasn't in a mood to fool around. "That was a long day, to say the least," MacIntyre said afterward. "It was the worst tackling day we have had for sure. I don't know why."

The Huskies (6-3, 3-3) accounted for 628 yards of total offense, the fourth time they've gone over the 600-yard mark this season. What made the offensive output even more remarkable is that 464 of it came in the first half, starting with the first drive of the game - a 73-yard effort in eight plays that was only held to a field goal due to false start. The next drive was 64 yards in 12 plays, culminating in a Bishop Sankey 1-yard run to put Washington up 10-0 before the Buffs had time to catch their breath.

By the time UW was done with the first quarter they had run for 79 yards, passed for 148 yards and had run 29 plays to CU's 10.

As well as the first quarter went, Sarkisian wanted to make sure his guys understood his intentions. From the Colorado 9, the Huskies found themselves with a fourth and three. They could have kicked a chip shot to go up 20-7, but Sarkisian saw blood in Lake Washington. He wanted to strike.

Keith Price went back to pass, scrambled back and forth behind the line of scrimmage, and eventually had to throw the ball away.

"That was a bad play call," Sarkisian said, matter of factly. "I thought we were going to get something else and we didn't get what we were looking for. Hindsight's 20/20. If I could do it all over again I'd call time out quite honestly.

"We went into the game telling the guys we were going to be aggressive tonight. We were going to be very aggressive offensively. We talked about our pace going into the game and wanted to play faster and stay aggressive. I was trying to send a little bit of a message to our offensive football team as well that it's not just what I'm saying in the meeting room to them; it's actually when we're playing the game and remaining aggressive. I with the outcome would have been better."

After the defense forced a Colorado punt, the Huskies went right back to work, marching 71 yards downfield in eight plays. Price called his own number and bulled through the Buffaloes for 18 yards, lowering his shoulder and trucking a CU player on his way to paydirt.

"Coach told us not to let up on the gas until he told us to," said freshman wide receiver John Ross, who had two catches for 43 yards and one run for 15 more yards. "Those first three quarters we were on the gas and didn't let up."

The third quarter was definitely one for the nostalgia file. Colorado received the ball, drove down to the Washington 23, where freshman quarterback Sefo Liufau threw a pass that was tipped by Marcus Peters and caught by senior safety Tre Watson. He weaved his way down the UW sidelines for an 84-yard touchdown, the first pick-six for the Huskies since Peters' 21-yard trip to the end zone versus Portland State in 2011.

The next CU possession didn't fare any better, as Liufau threw an interception to Sean Parker - his team-leading fourth of the season - and the senior safety returned it to the Colorado 40-yard line.

Washington had the ball for exactly two minutes and 16 seconds in the third quarter, and they parlayed that time into seven more points through a Keith Price four-yard keeper to push their advantage to 45-7.

The Huskies weren't done. On a third-and-two from the Washington 41, Colorado running back Tony Jones was pushed wide right by Josh Shirley, who came at Jones like a heat-seeking missile. Shirley dislodged the ball and it jumped straight into Peters' hands. The sophomore corner never broke stride, sprinting away for a 53-yard scoop-and-score.

The three turnovers forced by the Huskies was the second time they've done that this year. The first time was against Idaho State. It's a trend Sarkisian hopes to continue all the way through the fourth quarter of Washington's season.

"Creating those three turnovers was big," he said. "That was one of the things we emphasized coming out of the bye week, and then we get three turnovers and tow of them go for touchdowns…so that was fantastic for the guys."

The Huskies will have to stay aggressive - and confident - when they take their act once again on the road this coming Friday at UCLA. And more importantly, can they take their home form and duplicate it when they aren't in the friendly confines of Husky Stadium?

"We don't lose at home and we really try to stand by that and play like it," said Ross. "Tonight was just another step - another team in the way of where we need to be."

On Friday the UCLA Bruins won't be nearly as hospitable as Colorado, that much you can be sure. But if you can take anything away from Washington's performance versus the Buffaloes it's that they have no intention of backing off the gas until they prove they can win anywhere against anyone - or end up on empty trying.

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