SEATTLE (AP) – The final result at No. 4 Stanford left Washington head coach Steve Sarkisian in disbelief.
It wasn’t the 615 total yards Washington allowed or the 65 points. Another number rankled Sarkisian.
“If you told me going into the game Saturday that Andrew Luck would throw for (169) yards but we would get beat by 44 points, I wouldn’t believe you,” Sarkisian said Monday.
What was a matchup of Top 25 teams coming in, turned into a mismatch by the half in the Cardinal’s 65-21 win last Saturday.
It was Washington’s second road game of the season versus a ranked opponent. Each ended with a sound beating and common theme.
On Sept. 17, Washington lost 51-38 to 11th-ranked Nebraska. The game unraveled for Washington in the third quarter. Nebraska outscored the Huskies 17-0, aided by recovering a Washington fumble of a kickoff on the 1-yard line. Nebraska scored 27 unanswered points from the end of the second quarter to the start of the fourth.
Against Stanford, the Huskies surrendered 21 consecutive points in the second quarter. After scoring early in the second quarter to pull within 17-14, Washington allowed three consecutive touchdowns prior to the half. The biggest blow came when quarterback Keith Price threw an interception that Stanford safety Michael Thomas returned 62 yards for a touchdown with 56 seconds left in the half.
Suddenly, Stanford led 38-17.
“You’re trying to help everybody, keep everybody up, but then again the score is just like, there is no way we can win the game,” Price said. “It’s hard to keep your motor going.”
Sarkisian is trying to figure out how to stop such a rapid decline. Washington’s missed chances — a clanked field goal in the second quarter, Price not seeing an open receiver on the play where he was intercepted — have turned into swift scores for the opposition.
“We have got to find a way to capture our guys and refocus them in the ballgame before they get into the locker room or before we get to the sidelines,” Sarkisian said. “I’ve got to do a better job of that.”
Price said the plane ride home from Stanford was different than the one from Nebraska.
“This game was just humbling, just getting our butts beat like that,” Price said. “I seen tears, I seen it all, and I’m happy about that, that people actually care about that.”
Washington won three consecutive games following the loss to Nebraska. The Huskies have little time to relax before trying to turn things around again.
Despite a 2-5 record, Arizona is first in passing offense in the conference and third in total offense. Washington had trouble against the run last Saturday, but had problems at the start of the season against pass-first teams.
Price and Sarkisian said the Stanford loss will be mentally dispatched well before Saturday night’s game.
“We’re going to bounce back,” Price said. “Trust me.”
Sarkisian also wanted to send another reminder.
“I’ve said this before: losing sucks,” Sarkisian said. “None of us like it. We can sit and dwell on it and feel sorry for ourselves, (but) the reality of it is we’re 5-2. There’s a lot of football left to be played and we need to get right, and we need to get right today.”