In front of 55,409 fans at Arizona Stadium, Washington (4-1, 2-0) quarterback Isaiah Stanback bounced back from an 0-4 passing start to complete his final ten passes of the half for 244 yards and two scores, the final one a 55-yard pitch and catch to Quintin Daniels to give the Huskies a 21-3 lead that they would not relinquish during the final 30 minutes of play. An estimated crowd of 6,000 Washington fans watched the game via a closed-circuit broadcast and were treated to a gritty Pac-10 road win.
The Huskies used Stanback's big game through the air with a steady ground attack to churn up
the field at Arizona Stadium for 328 first-half yards. It was all Washington's defense needed, and using Kent Baer's most aggressive scheming to date - UW held the Wildcats to minus-7 yards rushing and 301 total yards on the night.
Washington finished with 447 total yards for the game.
The Wildcats (2-3, 0-2) took two big passes to move themselves inside the Washington red zone for the first time all game long, but senior LB Scott White accounted for two tackles for loss, the second a 15-yard sack on Arizona QB Willie Tuitama via a push, and Folk's 41-yard field goal attempt went left, taking a lot of air out of the 'Cats' comeback efforts.
White finished the game as the leading tackler for the Huskies, with 10 stops and three tackles for loss. Washington's aggressiveness paid off in the form of 11 total tackles for loss and six sacks - led by White and defensive end Greyson Gunheim with two apiece.
The 'Cats were game though. Tuitama found Syndric Steptoe for a juggling touchdown on a fourth-down gamble by UA Head Coach Mike Stoops with 5:55 left in the third quarter, bringing the game to what ended up being its final conclusion.
A Gunheim sack of Tuitama stilted UA's efforts just as they looked to be ready for a charge down 11. And on their next possession, White again came up big, tipping a pass that was picked off by UW corner Dashon Goldson. And when the Dawgs stalled again, they forced the 'Cats to start their next drive on their own one-yard line. White and Goldson combined on another big play - a third-down stop - forcing another UA punt from their own end and effectively shutting the 'Cats out for the rest of the game.
The game never felt like it had the makings for a blowout, even with UW's second-quarter point barrage, as both teams struggled early to take advantage of miscues. The Wildcats hurt themselves early on, as safety Marcus Hollingsworth had a chance to take Stanback's first pass attempt of the night for a score, but his hands failed him. They had a solid punt return by Syndric Steptoe, but a block in the back negated that and put them deep in their own end. He did throw a pick two possessions later, as Michael Johnson took a jump ball away from Sonny Shackelford, but it went for naught on the scoreboard.
Tuitama just overthrew Mike Thomas with a bomb attempt down the sidelines at their own 1, and it would have been a 99-yard score. Jason Wells would not have gotten there.
And Washington cornerback Roy Lewis, although in the right place to make a play, tipped a ball right into the hands of Thomas for a 31-yard gain. But White came right back and sacked Tuitama for a loss of nine, followed up by another tackle for loss.
Their special teams were not to be denied, however - as Nick Folk buried a 52-yarder to give
Arizona their first lead of the game.
Then - much like the pre-game fireworks that signaled Arizona's run onto the field - the Huskies launched some aerial salvos of their own. Stanback struck gold on a naked boot and throwback pass to Sonny Shackelford for 50 yards. Shackelford added a 16-yarder against Arizona cornerback Antoine Cason, and scored on a Stanback bullet in the left corner on man coverage. It was the perfect way to answer Arizona's first scoring drive - which ended with Folk's field goal.
On their next series, Stanback found Anthony Russo streaking down the right sideline for 44 yards. Two Kenny James runs later, the Huskies took firm control of the game. Sensing a shift in momentum, Stoops decided to go no-huddle to get a quick score before halftime, but it backfired. A key holding call on the 'Cats took back a sizeable gain. Baer brought the kitchen sink on the next play and Tuitama went down, forcing an Arizona punt.
That's when Stanback went quick strike, finishing their final series of the half with Daniels' catch and run to put the Huskies up 18.
Huskies defensive in win
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