In the wake of allowing 67 points to Baylor in the Alamo Bowl, Steve Sarkisian suggests that changes to the Washington football program will be coming “as quickly as possible.”
By accounting for seven touchdowns — four passing, three rushing — in a 67-56 free-for-all loss to Baylor in the Alamo Bowl Thursday night, University of Washington quarterback Keith Price accomplished two things no one anticipated: He managed to resurrect the ghost of Ervin Dailey, while simultaneously making himself a legitimate 2012 Heisman Trophy candidate.
Woodrow Wilson occupied the White House the last time (1919) that a Washington football player accounted for seven touchdowns in a game. That UW player, Dailey, wasn’t even a Husky — the nickname wasn’t adopted until 1922 — but a Sun Dodger. In any event, Dailey tallied his septet of scores on Oct. 25, 1919, in a 120-0 rout of Whitman College in front of an announced crowd of 5,000 at Denny Field on the UW campus.
Price accounted for his seven in front of 65,256 at the Alamodome. That he also did it in the only college football game available in the contest’s TV time slot, and outplayed a Heisman Trophy winner (Robert Griffin III) in the bargain, means that Price added about eight points to his Q Score — precisely what he needed to do to place his name on the 2012 Heisman “Watch List.”
Price’s four passing and three rushing touchdowns concluded a remarkable season for the sophomore, who succeeded beyond anyone’s imagination in replacing Jake Locker.
Said Price to all this: “You could have gotten a lot more of that earlier if I’d been healthy. Unfortunately that wasn’t the circumstance, so I’ve just been working with what I’ve got.”
The question now becomes not what Price has, but what he will — or won’t — have. His roommate is junior running back Chris Polk, who may — or may not — have played his final game for Washington.
“I don’t know what he’s going to do,” head coach Steve Sarkisian said after the Alamo Bowl.
If Polk leaves for the NFL — he’s projected to go in either the second or third round — he will do so 57 yards shy of Napoleon Kaufman’s school rushing record of 4,106 yards. Polk, who had 147 yards against Baylor, including a 56-yard touchdown run, has 4,029. Polk also:
In an Alamo Bowl that produced five scoring plays of 50 yards or longer, the second longest belonged to the tandem of Price and senior WR Jermaine Kearse, an 80-yard, pass-catch-run at the 14:00 mark of the third quarter.
Kearse caught five passes against Baylor for a career-high 198 yards, the most receiving yards by a UW player in a bowl game. Anthony Allen had 152 in Washington’s 21-20 win over Maryland in the 1982 Aloha Bowl. Kearse’s 198 yards are also the most in any UW game since Reggie Williams had 198 in 2002 against Oregon.
While Kearse ends his career with 29 touchdown catches, one shy of Mario Bailey’s school record set between 1988-91, Washington ends its season with a 7-6 record — same as 2010 — after having averaged 33.4 points per game, but also having allowed 467.
“That’s a good football team, obviously,” Sarkisian said of the Bears. “We knew coming in that it just wasn’t about Robert Griffin, it was their entire offensive team. They weren’t the No. 2 offense in the country just because of a fluke. They were good. You’ve got a Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback and a first-round draft pick at wide receiver and a 240-pound tailback. I’m not shocked Baylor moved the ball.”
But that the Bears did so with such little resistance means that changes in the Washington program are mandatory.
“Everything we do in our program will be evaluated, myself included,” Sarkisian said. “We’ve got to figure out some issues of why things are the way they are and how we can improve as a football team in all three phases. It’s obvious we need to improve. We need to get better on the defensive side of the ball. And it will be addressed and addressed as quickly as possible.”