Huskies rebound with 52-13 win over Portland State
SEATTLE -- Keith Price threw three first-half touchdowns, Washington returned a blocked field goal and interception for touchdowns and the Huskies shook off their Bayou beat down of a week ago with a 52-13 rout of FCS Portland State on Saturday.
Price tossed touchdowns of 20, 3 and 16 yards, while Tre Watson returned a blocked field goal 79 yards for a score, and Marcus Peters returned an interception 21 yards for a TD as Washington built a 45-0 lead at halftime. The 45 points tied the Huskies school record for most points scored in any half, last accomplished in 1999 against Oregon State.
That wasn't quite good enough for Huskies coach Steve Sarkisian, who berated his team on the sideline for at least one minute as they all knelt before heading to the locker room at halftime. Sarkisian -- upset with sloppy penalties -- even spiked his visor before leading Washington off the field.
Washington (2-1) was humbled by a 41-3 rout last week at the hands of No. 3 LSU. Sarkisian spoke early in the week of needing to get the Huskies psyche back in order following the blowout to the Tigers and before Washington begins Pac-12 play on Sept. 27 at home against Stanford.
The first half certainly made Washington feel better about itself, albeit against a Portland State squad that hadn't shown any bite defensively. The Vikings (1-2) fired their defensive coordinator earlier this week with head coach Nigel Burton -- a former Washington safety -- taking over the defensive play-calling duties.
There wasn't much Burton could devise to slow the bigger and more talented Huskies, including an attempted onside kick on the opening kickoff that Washington recovered. Bishop Sankey ran nearly untouched for a 15-yard touchdown on Washington's opening possession that proved just the beginning. Sankey's run snapped a seven-quarter streak without a touchdown for Washington's offense and Price added touchdown tosses to DiAndre Campbell and Kasen Williams -- a drive kept alive by a fake punt -- to give the Huskies a 21-0 lead early in the second quarter.
Portland State did have chances, twice driving inside the Washington 45 before turning the ball over on downs. On their fourth possession, the Vikings reached the Washington 16 before the drive stalled. Nick Fernandez's 33-yard field goal attempt was smothered by Shaq Thompson and bounded into Watson's hands for the Huskies first blocked field goal returned for a touchdown since 2001 against Michigan.
Price added one more touchdown toss to tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins, one of his five receptions. Peters scored Washington's second defensive touchdown of the season when Portland State QB Kieran McDonagh made a rushed throw after a poor snap. Peters easily stepped in front of the pass and walked in for the score.
Price finished 14 of 19 passing for 181 yards. Sankey added another second-half TD run and had 103 yards on 14 carries.
While the first half was about restoring the Huskies confidence, the second focused on trying to fix a run game that struggled the first two weeks with Chris Polk now in the NFL. The results were mixed, with mostly backups on the field, although Washington's remodeled offensive line surrendered just one sack. The Huskies finished with 209 yards rushing
McDonagh, a freshman in his third college game, threw for 178 yards and a 70-yard touchdown to Nevin Lewis in the third quarter that ended the shutout. McDonagh also added a 4-yard TD run in the fourth quarter.
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