Huskies fall to Sooners on the road

The Huskies have struggled on the road of late, losing 12 of their last 13 away from Husky Stadium and many thought that going to Oklahoma to face the Sooners would continue that streak. However, Washington came out strong early in Norman and they raised a few eyebrows of those in the press box.

After the opening kickoff, the Huskies held Oklahoma to a three-and-out, something they struggled to do against San Jose State last week, and took the ball on their own 46 early in the first quarter. Senior RB Kenny James took a handoff and ran straight up the middle, spun around Oklahoma S Darien Williams at the Sooner 40, and then outran the rest of the defense for a 54-yard touchdown getting the Huskies out to a quick 7-0 lead.

"It's a play we've been working on every day since the beginning of camp," James said. "We knew we could get some good yards on first down if they were in a certain formation on first-and-ten and they did a good job of opening things up for me."

On the play, FB Mark Palaita, OG Clay Walker and TE Johnie Kirton each had big blocks allowing James the room to maneuver.

The next Oklahoma drive saw the Sooners move the ball to their own 46 before the defense stiffened forcing P Michael Cohen to try to pin Washington inside their own 20. He did even better than that, as they were able to down his punt inside the Husky one-yard line.

After three plays netted one yard for the Huskies, senior punter Sean Douglas, faced a big rush from Oklahoma but managed to get off a school record 82-yard punt that drove PR Reggie Smith all the way back to his own 18.

But Smith, who is one of the nations best return men, got into the open field and ran the ball all the way back to the Washington 22 – a 62 yard return changing the momentum of the booming kick.

Douglas would later hit an 81-yarder that would end up as a touchback with a net of 60 yards.

Oklahoma took it in four plays later when QB Paul Thompson hit WR Malcolm Kelly on a slant pattern in the back of the endzone.

Late in the first quarter Washington forced their first turnover of the 2006 season when Thompson was hit by DE Greyson Gunheim and his pass fluttered down the field into the waiting arms of LB Scott White.

White played one of the best games of his career – finishing with 12 tackles, one interception and one fumble recovery. "I just played hard," White said. "Sometimes you get more chances to make plays than others. I got a lot of opportunities to make plays and so that's what I tried to do."

Washington and Oklahoma then traded field goals twice, with Husky K Michael Braunstein hitting tries from 32 and 24 and Sooner K Garrett Hartley hitting on 44 and 37 yard attempts.

"I have a goal this season to be perfect inside 45 yards," Harley said following the game. "I've gotten off to a good start this year so far."

But, as has been the Huskies' M.O. the past few seasons, they were unable to build off of the success of the first half when they came out for the second half kickoff.

"We started off fast, but the second half we came out a little flat," James said. "That's not to say we didn't run hard. As a team, we gave a great effort and now we're just going to press on for the future.

"Unfortunately we let a few of our mistakes put us back a little bit."

Washington was unable to do much with the first possession of the second half and the Sooners were able to go 69 yards on seven plays as Thompson hit Kelly for a 35-yard pass over a gimpy Dashon Goldson.

"I'm not 100-percent, but I'm not going to make excuses," Goldson said. "I was on the field and I should have gone out there and done my job. (Kelly) did a great job of getting off the ball and he came down with it."

Washington failed to find an answer on their next drive and Douglas' punt from the Husky 21 was blocked when CB Jason Carter broke through the line and got his hands on the kick.

Oklahoma wasn't able to punch it into the endzone and settled for a 30-yard Hartley field goal.

After trading punts, Washington got their second break of the day, when Thompson was sacked in his own endzone by LB Chris Stevens and fumbled. White was in the right place at the right time, able to pounce on the ball at the Oklahoma four.

However, as has been the case recently, the Huskies gave the ball right back when QB Isaiah Stanback, on first-and-goal, was stripped of the ball on an option play and the Sooners were able to take the ball back at their own eight.

Oklahoma then drove 92 yards in six plays ending when Sooner RB Adrian Peterson took it around the right side for a 17-yard touchdown run giving the home team a 30-13 lead.

The Heisman-favorite had a solid day posting 168 yards on the ground and two touchdowns on 32 attempts, but the Huskies did a good job of holding him in check most of the game.

Late in the game, Husky QB Carl Bonnell was able to lead Washington on a six-play, 63-yard drive that ended with WR Sonny Shackelford caught a two-yard touchdown. Top Stories