Huskies edge Spartans in thriller

It wasn't pretty to say the least, but the Washington Huskies can say that they started the season with a win, and for the time being, boast a winning record for the first time in nearly three years with a 35-29 over San Jose State Saturday in front of 52,256 paying customers at Husky Stadium.

Washington (1-0) got off to a rough start with their first possession of the game. Senior QB Isaiah Stanback was intercepted by the Spartans' Dwight Lowery on a pass intended for Corey Williams. The Spartans (0-1) were able to convert the turnover into a field goal to take an early 3-0 lead.

Washington then began to find their groove in the running game. Kenny James took a draw play 17 yards up the middle for the first Husky score of the game and cap a nine-play, 79 yard drive.

But the ground game wasn't done yet. James' backup Louis Rankin got in the act a couple of possessions later with a 34 yard run to give Washington a little more breathing room with a 14-6 lead.

Later in the first half, Stanback found James for a 21-yard touchdown pass to give the Washington a 21-9 halftime lead.

The Spartans however came out roaring in the second half. San Jose St. QB Adam Tafralis marched the Spartans down the field and found WR James Jones in the end zone for a three-yard strike to cut the Huskies lead to 21-15. Stanback immediately responded by leading the Huskies on a 13-play, 65 yard drive of his own, capped by a six-yard scamper into the end zone on the ensuing possession to give Washington a 28-15 lead.

As the fourth quarter approached, the Spartans continued to show life and refused to back down. With 5:32 left in the game, Tafralis and Jones connected again, this time on a 50 yard pass to cut the Huskies lead down to only six points.

But once again, the Huskies reclaimed their cushion when on the very first play of the ensuing possession, Rankin took the ball and ran it 68 yards for another touchdown to give Washington a 35-22 lead with 5:02 left in the contest.

On the Spartans next possession, Trafralis looked poised and confident and led his team back on a 10-play, 81 yard drive that ended with him finding Jones in the end zone again to cut the lead down to six with just 2:03 left in the game.

The Spartans then went for the onside kick, but Washington's Johnie Kirton was able to recover the kick, only to let the offense go three-and-out and give the Spartans one last chance.

Trafralis's heroics would come to an end however when a Hail Mary pass with time expiring could not find the mark and give the Huskies a hard-fought 35-29 victory.
Stanback had a solid game, throwing for 168 yards on 16-of-25 passing with one touchdown and one interception.

"(Stanback) was more than advertised," said Spartans LB Demetrius Jones. "He was fast. A lot of times, we had a linebacker spying him, and he made it to the corner before we could get to him."

The Spartans duo of Adam Trafralis and James Jones had monster afternoons as well. Trafralis passed for 323 yards on 28-of-35 passing with three touchdowns, all to Jones who tied a school record with the three scores and made a career-high nine receptions on 130 yards.

As a team, the Huskies ran for 300 yards, with Rankin leading the way with 145 yards on just 10 carries. Stanback also passed the century mark, rushing for 102 yards on 17 attempts. James ran for 53 yards on 14 attempts.

Washington's front seven played brilliantly, allowing the Spartans to rush for just 50 yards and recording three sacks. However, their efforts were almost washed away by the secondary. Washington's depth-depleted secondary was under attack all day and allowed 323 yards through the air.

The Huskies coughed up the ball three times, all in the first half, and all resulted in field goals for the Spartans. Washington did not force any turnovers from the Spartan side.

Two true freshmen saw action in today's game: fullback Paul Homer and linebacker Donald Butler. Butler saw action only on special teams, but Homer did play some fullback in addition to special teams. Other Huskies who saw action in their first career game: WR Marcel Reece, OLB E.J. Savannah, FS Jason Wells, LS Danny Morovick, OLB Linus Chou, DT Jovon O'Connor, OLB Trenton Tuiasosopo, C Juan Garcia, DE Daniel Te-o Nesheim and OT Ben Ossai.

All three of UW punter Sean Douglas' three punts were downed inside the SJSU 20-yard line. He averaged 45.7 yards per punt. Top Stories