By accounting for seven touchdowns — four passing, three rushing — in a 67-56 free-for-all loss to Baylor in the Alamo Bowl Thursday night, University of Washington quarterback Keith Price accomplished two things no one anticipated: He managed to resurrect the ghost of Ervin Dailey, while simultaneously making himself a legitimate 2012 Heisman Trophy candidate.
Woodrow Wilson occupied the White House the last time (1919) that a Washington football player accounted for seven touchdowns in a game. That UW player, Dailey, wasn’t even a Husky — the nickname wasn’t adopted until 1922 — but a Sun Dodger. In any event, Dailey tallied his septet of scores on Oct. 25, 1919, in a 120-0 rout of Whitman College in front of an announced crowd of 5,000 at Denny Field on the UW campus.
Price accounted for his seven in front of 65,256 at the Alamodome. That he also did it in the only college football game available in the contest’s TV time slot, and outplayed a Heisman Trophy winner (Robert Griffin III) in the bargain, means that Price added about eight points to his Q Score — precisely what he needed to do to place his name on the 2012 Heisman “Watch List.”
Price’s four passing and three rushing touchdowns concluded a remarkable season for the sophomore, who succeeded beyond anyone’s imagination in replacing Jake Locker.
- He finished with 33 touchdown passes, a UW single-season record (Cody Pickett threw 28 in 2002).
- He threw for 3,063 yards, second most in school history to Pickett’s 4,458 in 2002.
- He set a school record for completion percentage at .669, breaking Steve Pelluer’s old mark of .650 set in 1983.
- He set a school mark for passing efficiency at 161.9, breaking Brock Huard’s record of 156.7 in 1997.
- His 438 passing yards in the Alamo Bowl tied for the second-most in UW history, 17 behind Pickett’s 455 against Arizona in 2001.
- His 438 passing yards also shattered the Washington bowl record, previously held by Tim Cowan — 350 vs. Maryland — in the 1982 Aloha Bowl.
- His four TD passes set a UW bowl record and marked the fourth time in 2011 that Price tossed four in a game. No other quarterback in UW history had ever produced more than two 400-yard games in a season.
Said Price to all this: “You could have gotten a lot more of that earlier if I’d been healthy. Unfortunately that wasn’t the circumstance, so I’ve just been working with what I’ve got.”
The question now becomes not what Price has, but what he will — or won’t — have. His roommate is junior running back Chris Polk, who may — or may not — have played his final game for Washington.
“I don’t know what he’s going to do,” head coach Steve Sarkisian said after the Alamo Bowl.
If Polk leaves for the NFL — he’s projected to go in either the second or third round — he will do so 57 yards shy of Napoleon Kaufman’s school rushing record of 4,106 yards. Polk, who had 147 yards against Baylor, including a 56-yard touchdown run, has 4,029. Polk also:
- Finished the season with 1,488 yards, the second-best, single-season performance in UW history. Polk now owns the Nos. 2, 3 and 6 single-season rushing efforts in the 121 years of UW football.
- Polk’s 147 yards in the Alamo Bowl made him the second Washington back, following Jacque Robinson, to twice amass 100 yards or more in a bowl game. Polk had 177 in the 2010 Holiday Bowl against Nebraska. Robinson rushed for 142 yards in the 1982 Rose Bowl against Iowa as a freshman, and 135 yards against Oklahoma in the 1985 Orange Bowl as a senior.
- In four bowl games, Robinson produced 326 rushing yards. Polk has 324 in two bowl outings.
- Polk’s 147 yards marked the 21st 100-yard game of his career, four more than Kaufman had between 1992-94.
- Polk became the second Husky, following Kaufman, with three consecutive 1,000-yard rushing seasons.
In an Alamo Bowl that produced five scoring plays of 50 yards or longer, the second longest belonged to the tandem of Price and senior WR Jermaine Kearse, an 80-yard, pass-catch-run at the 14:00 mark of the third quarter.
Kearse caught five passes against Baylor for a career-high 198 yards, the most receiving yards by a UW player in a bowl game. Anthony Allen had 152 in Washington’s 21-20 win over Maryland in the 1982 Aloha Bowl. Kearse’s 198 yards are also the most in any UW game since Reggie Williams had 198 in 2002 against Oregon.
While Kearse ends his career with 29 touchdown catches, one shy of Mario Bailey’s school record set between 1988-91, Washington ends its season with a 7-6 record — same as 2010 — after having averaged 33.4 points per game, but also having allowed 467.
- The 67 points by Baylor is the second-highest total ever permitted in a game by Washington, just five fewer than California scored in 1921 in a 72-3 romp over the Huskies.
- 2011 is the only season in UW history in which the Huskies surrendered 60+ points in a game twice. Stanford tallied 65 against Washington on Oct. 22.
- Washington allowed an average of 35.9 points to its 13 opponents. Only the 0-12 Huskies of 2008 allowed more — 38.6.
- The Huskies yielded 5,893 total yards, including an all-time record 777 against Baylor (previous record 729 by California in 2003). The old record for total yards allowed: 5,803 in 2007.
- The Huskies allowed 58 touchdowns, one shy of the school mark of 59 by the 2008 Huskies.
- In Thursday’s Alamo Bowl, three Baylor players, led by Terrence Ganaway, rushed for more than 100 yards. The only other time that Washington has permitted three 100-yard rushers: 2010 Holiday Bowl against Nebraska.
“That’s a good football team, obviously,” Sarkisian said of the Bears. “We knew coming in that it just wasn’t about Robert Griffin, it was their entire offensive team. They weren’t the No. 2 offense in the country just because of a fluke. They were good. You’ve got a Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback and a first-round draft pick at wide receiver and a 240-pound tailback. I’m not shocked Baylor moved the ball.”
But that the Bears did so with such little resistance means that changes in the Washington program are mandatory.
“Everything we do in our program will be evaluated, myself included,” Sarkisian said. “We’ve got to figure out some issues of why things are the way they are and how we can improve as a football team in all three phases. It’s obvious we need to improve. We need to get better on the defensive side of the ball. And it will be addressed and addressed as quickly as possible.”