Big plays, big momentum swings and soaring defensive ineptitude make for one of the great spectacles in NCAA bowl history.
Washington quarterback Keith Price accounted for an astounding seven touchdowns — four passing, three rushing — and the Huskies established a school record for most points in a postseason game, but even that couldn’t measure up to the offensive display put on by the Baylor Bears, who put a 67-56 whipping on the Huskies in a wild Alamo Bowl in San Antonio Thursday night.
Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III had been expected to light up the Huskies, but he finished with a rather pedestrian 295 passing yards and one touchdown (he also ran for a touchdown). But Terrance Ganaway, one of three Baylor backs to rush for 100 yards, more than took up the slack, running for 200 yards and five touchdowns, shredding a Husky defense that couldn’t stop anybody all season.
In one of the most remarkable bowl games ever, Washington trailed 21-7, scored 28 points in the second quarter to lead 35-24 at halftime, fell behind 53-49, went ahead 56-53, and then fell behind 60-56. Washington had a chance to take the lead again in the final three minutes, but a fourth-down pass by Price sailed high and long over WR Kasen Williams.
Baylor tacked on an additional touchdown to cap what evolved into a free-for-all of big plays.
“That was crazy,” said Baylor coach Art Briles.
“It was going to be two offenses going at it, we knew that,” said UW coach Steve Sarkisian. “We had a couple of chances there to grab a hold of this game and take it, but we just missed against a very good Baylor team. I understand why they beat Texas and Oklahoma. I thought that our kids played hard and turned it into an instant classic. The Alamo Bowl sure got what it was looking for.
Sarkisian added, “I’ve not ever been part of a game like this. We came here to win the game, but all the big plays that they created offensively ultimately got us. We got a little bit sloppy late in the game, and maybe that was a factor. There’s a reason why Baylor is a good football team.
“We didn’t touch on Keith Price. What a frickin’ performance. I thought he was amazing. We saw what he was capable of. But it’s disappointing that we gave up the big plays defensively.”
The 67 points allowed by Washington are the most the Huskies have permitted in a bowl game and the second most in any game. California scored 72 on Washington in 1915. On the other hand, Washington’s 56 points are its most in a bowl, topping the 53 that they dropped on Hawaii in the 1938 Pineapple Bowl.
The 123 combined points set a bowl record. The record for a regulation game was 102 points set in the 2001 GMAC Bowl between Marshall and East Carolina. That game went to double overtime and ended with a combined 125 points. The combined yards by Washington and Baylor — 1,397 — set an FBS record. Baylor produced an amazing 777 of those yards, including 482 rushing, both the most ever against a UW team.
Outplaying Heisman Trophy winner Griffin, Price threw touchdown passes of 12 yards to James Johnson (2nd quarter), 1 yard to Devin Aguilar (2nd), 80 yards to Jermaine Kearse (3rd) and 13 yards to Aguilar (3rd). Price ran for touchdowns covering 5, 15 and eight yards. Kearse caught five passes for a UW bowl record 198 yards.
The sophomore quarterback hiked his season total to 33 TD passes, extending his own school record. It was Price’s fourth four-TD game of the season.
Price finished with 438 yards passing, breaking Tim Cowan’s UW bowl record of 350, set in the 1982 Aloha Bowl against Boomer Esiason and Maryland.
“I think we’ll have a hard time this bowl season to see a quarterback play as well as he did,” said Sarkisian.
UW tailback Chris Polk ran for 147 yards, including a 56-yard touchdown, becoming the second UW back to rush for 100 yards in two different bowl games. Polk had 177 against Nebraska in the 2010 Holiday. Robinson had 142 in the 1982 Rose Bowl against Iowa and 135 in the 1985 Orange Bowl against Oklahoma.
It also marked the 21st 100-yard rushing game of Polk’s career, extending his own Washington record.
Washington botched two red-zone scoring opportunities in the third quarter when Polk fumbled at the 11-yard line and Erik Folk missed a 43-yard field goal. Polk’s fumble came with Washington enjoying an 11-point lead, and it was Polk’s first lost fumble of the season.
“He’s a tremendous player, a tremendous runner,” Sarkisian said of Polk. “When you see the play (his fumble), it looked like his helmet got jarred. It’s too bad, that was one of the opportunities I was talking about it.”
On the play immediately after Polk’s fumble, Ganaway ran 89 yards for a touchdown. So instead of Washington going up by 18 points, the fumble and Ganaway’s run represented a potential 14-point swing.
With the defeat, Washington finishes the season with a 7-6 record. Its all-time bowl mark fell to 17-14-1.
After the game, Sarkisian hinted that changes might be coming to the UW football program.
“Change is inevitable,” Sarkisian said, without being specific. “I do know this. We need to re-evaluate everything we do, starting with me. There is some interest in some guys on our (coaching) staff from other programs. We have to make sure the chemistry is right every time we take the field.”
The Huskies next play Sept. 1, 2012, hosting San Diego State. Then they travel to Baton Rouge to meet current No. 1 Louisiana State.
University of Washington 2011 Schedule/Results
|Date||Opponent||UW Rnk||Opp Rnk||W/L||Score||Rec.|
|9/3/11||vs. Eastern Washington||—||—||W||30-27||1-0|
|11/12/11||at Southern Cal||—||18||L||40-17||6-4|
|11/19/11||at Oregon State||—||—||L||38-21||6-5|
|11/26/11||vs. Washington St.||—||—||W||38-21||7-5|