With No. 6 Oregon and No. 20 USC looming in the next three weeks, Washington hits the toughest part of the schedule, but could become bowl eligible Saturday vs. Arizona.
The Washington Huskies predictably fell out of the college football rankings after sustaining one of the worst drubbings in school history, a 65-21 loss to the Stanford Cardinal Saturday evening in Palo Alto, CA.
Ranked No. 22 by The Associated Press heading into the game, Washington’s first ranking since the fourth week of the 2009 season, the Huskies received just 32 points in the latest AP poll, fourth among other teams receiving votes. Stanford rose from No. 7 to No. 4 while Louisiana State remained No. 1.
Washington had been ranked No. 25 in the FBS Coaches Poll, and also dropped out after receiving just 20 points.
Four Pac-12 teams are among the top 25 in this week’s AP poll, headed by the Cardinal at No. 4. Oregon moved from ninth to seventh, USC from unranked to 20th, and Arizona State moved up one spot to No. 23.
The Huskies (5-2-0), who host Arizona Saturday night in Husky Stadium, are not expected to return to the national rankings during the regular season. They play the Ducks Nov. 5 in Seattle and Trojans Nov. 12 in Los Angeles. Washington, which needs one more win to become bowl eligible, will not face the Sun Devils this season.
The Huskies won nine of 10 games before taking on the Cardinal, the lone defeat coming at Nebraska (51-38) in September.
In its trouncing by Stanford, Washington allowed the second-most (tied) points in school history. The Huskies lost to Miami 65-7 in the final regular-season game of the 2001 season. Most points ever allowed by a UW team: 72 in a 72-3 loss to California in 1921.
Washington’s loss marked the fourth time in school history that it has yielded 60 or more points in a single contest. The Huskies lost to UCLA 62-13 in 1973, in a game in which the Bruins rushed for 566 yards, most ever against UW. In Saturday’s game, Washington allowed 446 rushing yards (198 in the first quarter), the fourth most it has ever surrendered in a game.
Stanford’s 446 rushing yards were also the most against the Huskies since Oregon gained 465 on Oct. 20, 2007, in the Ducks’ 55-34 win. Stanford’s 247 yards rushing in the first half were 31 fewer than it had in its entire 41-0 win at Husky Stadium in October, 2010.
“You give up 400 yards rushing, that’s beyond a setback from a psyche standpoint,” head coach Steve Sarkisian said. “We’ve got to get right and get right quickly.”
UW defensive coordinator Nick Holt didn’t have much of an explanation for what happened at Stanford, other than to say, “At times we were in the right spot and we didn’t make the tackle. Other times, we weren’t. It’s really disappointing. But we’re going to learn from this and get better. We’ve got to move on.”
Holt admitted, however, that his players were no match physically for Stanford, saying, “We are not there yet physically in our program with our guys with just staying toe-to-toe consistently. We’ll keep getting big, strong kids in here. We’ll keep growing.”
In Arizona, the Huskies will face a 2-5 team coming off a 48-12 thrashing of UCLA. It marked the first win for interim Arizona head coach Tim Kish, who replaced the fired Mike Stoops Oct. 10.
Arizona ran for 254 yards (and piled up a season-high 573 yards in total offense) against the Bruins and also received a 291-yard, three-TD effort from quarterback Nick Foles. The Wildcats pounded out 234 rushing yards against Washington last year in a 44-14 victory.
Foles has thrown for 2,546 yards and 18 touchdowns in seven games and will enter the Washington contest with a passer efficiency rating of 153.2
Arizona will be missing some key personnel. Defensive backs Shaquille Richardson, Jourdon Grandon, Mark Watley and Lyle Brown have been suspended by the league following a Pac-12 review of the shoving match and fight between Arizona and UCLA just before halftime (six UCLA players also received suspensions). Richardson and Grandon will serve full-game suspensions, while Watley and Brown will miss the first half of Saturday’s game.
Against the Wildcats, UW running back Chris Polk will have a chance to claim possession of a record he shares with former Husky runner Napoleon Kaufman. With 144 rushing yards against Stanford, and touchdown runs of 46 and 61 yards, Polk now has 17 100-yard games in his career, matching Kaufman’s school-record output between 1992-94.