The 12 Plays of Christmas: No. 7

With the holidays upon us, is counting down the top plays of the season, with the No. 1 play to finish out the year. So who is next on the list? It's about time we talked about Bishop Sankey and his contribution to the Washington team in 2012, highlighted by a spectacular run when the Huskies needed it most.

The 5-foot-10, 200-pound running back from Spokane was nothing short of incredible in his debut as a starter replacing Chris Polk. No one expected Sankey to come close to the 1488 yards Polk rolled out in 2011, but he nearly duplicated Polk with 1439 yards on 289 carries - essentially five yards every time he touched the ball. And until his 30-carry, 205-yard performance in UW's 28-29 Vegas Bowl defeat to Boise State, Sankey's career-high was a 29 carry, 189-yard effort in the Huskies' 21-13 win at California.

And there was no more important runs than the ones he gave at the end of a topsy-turvy, sloppy, game that the Huskies were able to pull from the Golden Bears. In a span of 11 plays in the fourth quarter, both teams gave up the ball twice, the last one being a Shaq Thompson interception and return off Cal QB Zach Maynard.

With the ball on the Cal 28 and just a little over six minutes left in the game, Steve Sarkisian had seen enough. With Husky Hall of Fame RB Napoleon Kaufman watching on the UW sideline, Sarkisian called Sankey's number four-straight times. The sophomore delivered. Arguably his biggest run of the series - and best in our opinion - came on 2nd-and-6 from the Cal 13. Sarkisian called a toss play to the left side. Sankey had fullback Jonathan Amosa leading the way, but instead of following Amosa all the way around the end, Sankey cut sharply toward the Cal line, jumped through two would-be tacklers and then instinctively worked his way with speed and lean to the 1-yard line. Sankey ran with purpose, aggression, and with a keen sense of where his blockers were and what he could do to maximize his angles of attack. It was a beautiful run to behold, and one play later Sankey burst through basically untouched until he hit the Bears' end zone, giving UW a 21-13 lead.

Washington was able to hold on to preserve their win via another Sankey run to give them a first down and a chance to use the victory formation. The Huskies racked up a valuable road win, one that would use as a springboard to defeat Utah at home the following week 34-15.

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