3:30 PM ET, October 15, 2011
Husky Stadium, SEATTLE, WA
SEATTLE -- The names changed with every score Washington posted in its nearly perfect first 30 minutes.
The guy orchestrating Saturday's onslaught remained the same.
Keith Price continued his assault on Washington's record book with four first-half touchdown passes, and Washington made its case for a national ranking with an impressive 52-24 rout of Colorado on Saturday.
Price's TD passes went to four different receivers, setting the tone for the day. Seven different Huskies scored as Washington topped the 50-point mark for the first time in more than 10 years.
"The guy plays. In the football world, he's a baller," Washington coach Steve Sarkisian said. "He just plays the game. I love coaching him. It's fun."
In general, it was an afternoon of continued progression for the Huskies in their continual climb out of their 0-12 hole in 2008 back to Pac-12 legitimacy. The win gave the Huskies their first 5-1 start in a decade, their first 3-0 start in conference play since 1997 and almost certainly a return to the AP Top 25 after barely missing out on the poll the last two weeks.
It also highlighted Washington's ability to handle success. They were favored by two touchdowns, coming off an impressive road victory two weeks ago at Utah. Next week, the Huskies travel to Stanford for a crucial Pac-12 North showdown.
Instead of coming out flat against the overmatched Buffaloes, the Huskies put together a first half that was so impressive Sarkisian felt almost like he was transported back to his days at USC when he helped choreograph the most dynamic offense of its time.
"It's fascinating. It hasn't been this way in a long time for me personally," Sarkisian said. "When I'm calling plays for this football team right now, I'm not calling plays for a specific guy."
The Huskies compiled nearly 400 yards of offense in the first half and led 38-10 at the break behind TD passes of 17, 11, 14 and 4 yards by the sophomore quarterback. Price now has 21 TDs on the season, tied for fourth most in Washington history for single-season TD passes with six games remaining.
Washington (5-1, 3-0 Pac-12) has now scored at least 30 points or more in its first six games for the first time in school history. The 52 points were the most since posting 53 on Idaho in September 2001.
The Huskies scored on all six possessions in the first half and did not punt until the opening drive of the second half when a penalty slowed their march near midfield.
Price exploited the middle of Colorado's defense and didn't make any risky throws. He threw just four incompletions in the first half and when he did make a bad toss, he answered immediately.
The example: Price missed Devin Aguilar for a potential touchdown midway through the second quarter, but on the next play, he found running back Chris Polk for a 14-yard TD to give the Huskies a 28-10 lead.
"We could have (struck) earlier than we did. I just overthrew that ball," Price said. "But I think we're getting better."
Price added TD throws of 17 yards to Jermaine Kearse, 11 yards to Austin Seferian-Jenkins and 4 yards to Aguilar to round out his total. Kevin Smith added a 22-yard TD run on a reverse in the first quarter, becoming the first Washington player other than Polk or former quarterback Jake Locker to score a rushing touchdown since Sept. 12, 2009. Jesse Callier and Bishop Sankey also had rushing touchdowns for the Huskies.
Polk didn't find the end zone rushing, but did top 100 yards for the 16th time in his Washington career, one behind Napoleon Kaufman's school record. Polk finished with 117 yards on 18 carries.
Playing healthy for the first time since the season opener after suffering knee and ankle injuries, Price finished 21 of 28 for 257 yards, didn't commit a turnover and wasn't sacked. Price was the beneficiary of a timely bye week and used it to heal.
"Keith was just feeding everyone and everyone was making plays when the opportunity came," Kearse said.
Price exited the game with 1:05 left in the third quarter and was replaced by redshirt freshman Nick Montana, son of Hall of Fame QB Joe Montana. On his first college play, Montana was sacked from behind, fumbled and Colorado recovered.
The turnover led to Tony Jones' second TD run of the second half for Colorado, but that amounted to the majority of the Buffaloes' highlights. Colorado (1-6, 0-3) lost its 21st consecutive road game and the loudest cheer from the gold and black clad fans in the west end zone came when the Buffaloes finally forced Washington to punt.
Colorado can chalk up the loss as part of the transition perdiod as it gets acclimated to the Pac-12. The Buffaloes were hampered by a knee injury running back Rodney Stewart sustained in the first quarter, which led to his early exit from the game. Stewart and the Buffaloes racked up 70 yards on their first possession and had 199 the rest of the game.
Colorado QB Tyler Hansen was 18 of 30 for 155 yards and a 5-yard TD pass to Kyle Cefalo on the Buffaloes opening drive. By the time Colorado found the end zone again in the third quarter, they were down 38-17
"They have to go out and compete and have some pride," Colorado coach Jon Embree said. "There's nothing magical you can tell them. We have what we have so we have to understand when we're out there."
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||8-17||8-10|
|4th Down Conversions||0-0||0-0|
|TD||12:16||Jermaine Kearse 17 Yd Pass From Keith Price (Erik Folk Kick)||0||7|
|TD||09:42||Kyle Cefalo 5 Yd Pass From Tyler Hansen (Will Oliver Kick)||7||7|
|TD||06:47||Kevin Smith 22 Yd Run (Erik Folk Kick)||7||14|
|TD||00:00||Austin Seferian-Jenkins 11 Yd Pass From Keith Price (Erik Folk Kick)||7||21|
|FG||10:51||Will Oliver 46 Yd||10||21|
|TD||08:05||Chris Polk 14 Yd Pass From Keith Price (Erik Folk Kick)||10||28|
|TD||02:09||Devin Aguilar 4 Yd Pass From Keith Price (Erik Folk Kick)||10||35|
|FG||00:00||Erik Folk 41 Yd||10||38|
|TD||10:45||Tony Jones 2 Yd Run (Will Oliver Kick)||17||38|
|TD||02:48||Jesse Callier 26 Yd Run (Erik Folk Kick)||17||45|
|TD||13:34||Tony Jones 1 Yd Run (Will Oliver Kick)||24||45|
|TD||02:32||Bishop Sankey 3 Yd Run (Eric Guttorp Kick)||24||52|