Over the first three games of the season, the Washington Huskies ran a pretty balanced offense: 976 passing yards, 911 rushing yards.
However, they played their fourth game Saturday in a driving rain and turned heavily to their ground game: 61 rushes compared to 25 passes. And picking up most of the load was junior tailback Bishop Sankey, who carried a school-record 40 times for 161 yards.
“In 61 rushing attempts, someone’s got to carry the ball,” coach Steve Sarkisian said. “I don’t know if that would have been the ratio if we had better weather, but you play the hand you’re dealt. Those were the conditions that we had and Bishop was awesome.”
Sankey’s workload was two carries beyond the previous UW record of 38, set by Corey Dillon against Washington State in 1996.
“I didn’t know how many, but you just go with it and continue,” Sankey said. “We’re trying to finish the game at that point, that’s the main goal. … However many times they need me to carry it. When I’m out there, adrenaline’s pumping, and I’m not really thinking about how many carries I’m at or what the limit is. I’m just trying to pick up yards and move the chains. … It’s a blessing I’m able to go out there and be durable and carry it as many times as my team needs me to.”
Sankey now has 607 yards on the season. He has topped 100 rushing yards in seven of his past nine games and 10 times in his career.
The Huskies improved to 4-0 for the first time since 2001. The last time Washington started 5-0 was 1992 when they won their first eight games.
“It feels awesome,” Sarkisian said. “We’ve never been 4-0 since I’ve been here. It’s pretty cool. The work obviously is not done, but we’re accomplishing things that we haven’t done before.”
If these Huskies are going to extend their run, they’re going to have to overcome No. 5 Stanford on the road next weekend, and then No. 2 Oregon back at Husky Stadium on Oct. 12.
The one-game at a time Dawgs can’t look ahead to the Ducks yet, but they’re attention turned to the Cardinal even before they left the stadium Saturday night.
“We know that’s a very good football team,” Sarkisian said. “But we can’t worry about Stanford as much as the information that Stanford gives us. And then we prepare off the information that they give us. So, the process for us this week starts a little bit earlier because those guys are in the locker room right now watching (the Stanford-Washington State) game on TVs in there. So they’re excited about the opportunity.”
A win on Saturday also would push the Huskies to 2-0 in the Pac-12 race, while dealing a defeat to one of the prime conference contenders.
“We knew that we were going to try to make a championship run this year,” quarterback Keith Price said. “We have the talent to do it, and we’re quick in all three phases. It was just a matter of us being consistent. We know that we have a tough one next week. So we’re just taking them one game at a time.”
Washington hasn’t yet trailed at any point in any game this season. … Sean Parker recorded his third interception of the season Saturday on Arizona’s opening drive. … Kevin Smith’s first-quarter touchdown was the first touchdown reception of his college career. He had a rushing touchdown against Colorado in 2011. … UW has scored six touchdowns off of seven turnovers by opponents this season. … The Huskies recorded their first safety since the 2010 Holiday Bowl against Nebraska. … Washington has outscored its opponents 38-0 in the first quarter this season. … Austin Seferian-Jenkins increased his UW tight end touchdown-reception record to 15.
Don Ruiz: 253-597-8808