Huskies will use last year's 41-0 loss to Stanford as motivation
Washington has won nine of 11 games since a 41-0 loss to Stanford last season. "We didn't show up," UW coach Steve Sarkisian said of the game.
Seattle Times staff reporter
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Washington was just about a point-a-minute offense Saturday, blowing out Colorado 52-24 in the latest and most efficient scoring explosion for the resurgent Huskies.
Coach Steve Sarkisian, though, spent Monday morning reliving the misery of a day the Huskies were barely a yard-a-minute offense — a 41-0 loss to Stanford at Husky Stadium last Oct. 30.
The dredging up of painful memories was a necessary part of the preparation for Saturday's rematch at 5 p.m. in Stanford, Calif.
"To see our style of play and the way we played them was very disappointing," Sarkisian said, adding that after he watched it, "the same feelings I had after the game last year kind of came back again."
Seeing seven different Huskies score touchdowns Saturday almost made it hard to believe it was less than a year ago that UW had one of the worst offensive performances in school history.
The loss to Stanford was the first home shutout for Washington since 1976, and the 107 yards gained were the Huskies' fewest since 1973. Washington gained just 54 yards in the first three quarters.
In the gloom of the postgame interview room Sarkisian said, "We obviously hit rock bottom tonight."
Few would have imagined then that Washington would win nine of its next 11 games, capped by the win over Colorado that has UW back in the rankings for the first time since 2009.
The rematch gives an obvious comparison of how far Washington has come since that day.
More tangibly, Sarkisian said looking back at that game gives the Huskies something to learn from as they play the Cardinal again.
"We didn't play well in any phase of the ballgame," Sarkisian said of a UW team that allowed 470 yards and trailed 28-0 at halftime. "We weren't physical. We didn't execute. Our efficiency in the pass game was poor. All that is on me."
The Huskies were held to just 19 yards rushing on 25 attempts, and Jake Locker was 7 of 14 for 64 yards and two interceptions before being replaced. He sat out the next week against Oregon with a rib injury.
The memory of that afternoon won't be far from UW players this week.
"Oh, it's extremely motivating," said receiver James Johnson. "We are going to prepare like we do every week. But I know we have great leaders on this team and they are going to make that be known, that no one has forgotten about what happened last year."
While the offensive numbers were hardest to ignore, the loss was a total team effort. The Huskies gave up 278 yards rushing and allowed Stanford to score on five of its first six possessions. The Cardinal had touchdowns on drives of 86, 42, 61 and 80 yards in the first half.
"Yeah, it left a bad taste in our mouth," said junior safety Justin Glenn. "So there is some redemption involved with it."
Glenn, though, also said he thought there was only so much value in remembering what happened a year ago.
"We are a completely different football team this year, and I think that we know that. And I think that we have a lot more confidence and we are gaining and we are rolling," he said. "We all know how big this game is."
Sarkisian said he doubled his pain Monday by also reviewing a 2009 loss at Stanford, when the Huskies were defeated 34-14.
That game was the last time UW was ranked, installed at No. 24 after beating USC the week before. But Stanford dominated UW up front in that game, outgaining the Huskies 321-99 on the ground. That means the Cardinal has outrushed the Huskies 599-118 the past two seasons.
"They're a disciplined team, they're a good football team, they're physical. Ultimately, you need to play well," Sarkisian said.
That's something UW didn't do last year.
"We didn't show up," Sarkisian said. "We didn't play. That was the biggest disappointment for me. And we had to get it fixed."
• Washington's offense has become more diverse this season, with many players in their third seasons in the system. Quarterback Keith Price said Monday that when he arrived at UW and first started learning the system, "everything sounded like Spanish to me." Price said the playbook is bigger than ever this year, saying, "I think he's (Sarkisian) opened it up a lot more, and we're having fun with it and the team is having fun with it."
• Washington announced the Oct. 29 homecoming game against Arizona will start at 7:30 p.m. and will be broadcast live nationally on FSN.
• There were no significant injuries in the Colorado game, though Sarkisian said reserve safety Taz Stevenson remains out with a knee injury.
• Kasen Williams was relegated to punt-return duty while recovering from a sprained ankle. Sarkisian said Williams should be able to return to duty at receiver this week.
Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or firstname.lastname@example.org