By ADAM JUDE
of The Seattle Times
SEATTLE — His defense had just shut out Idaho State, allowed 164 yards of total offense and sacked the quarterback seven times. For Washington defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox, the plans to celebrate a 56-0 rout of the Bengals on Saturday afternoon involved a low-key dinner with his parents at one of his favorite Bellevue restaurants.
The real plan, Wilcox admitted, involved his parents enjoying a pleasant dinner and him sitting at the table with his iPad open, his mouth closed.
“They can talk to each other,” he said, smiling.
You can largely ignore the meaning of Saturday’s game, too.
Idaho State, an FCS-level team from the Big Sky Conference, never had a chance against the No. 17 Huskies before 67,093 at Husky Stadium, with UW posting its most lopsided shutout since a 66-0 victory over Oregon in 1974.
The Huskies are 3-0 for the first time since 2001. What matters more, and what Wilcox will be studying on his iPad, is what comes next: 3-0 Arizona in a Pac-12 Conference opener that will give a much better gauge of just how good the Huskies really are.
“I feel great about where we’re at,” UW coach Steve Sarkisian said. “The goal is to win the Pac-12 North, and that journey begins next Saturday. These three wins are good for us, they’re good building blocks, a good foundation for the season. But the real season starts next Saturday.”
Washington star running back Bishop Sankey expects to play against the Wildcats, despite leaving the game Saturday in the first quarter with a bruised shoulder after just four carries for 77 yards and one touchdown. UW led 21-0 late in the first quarter when Sankey left the game.
“He was fine,” Sarkisian said. “It’s not serious, but as the game was going and the direction it was going, I just didn’t feel the need to put him back in. He had 35 carries last week (in UW’s 34-24 victory against Illinois) and four today, which is good. I want him fresh and healthy for Pac-12 play.”
The UW defense certainly looks fresh.
Through three games, the Huskies have allowed 30 points. They posted their first shutout since a 30-0 victory over Washington State in 2009.
Of UW’s seven sacks, Hau’oli Kikaha was credited with 2.5 and Josh Banks, in his first appearance of the season, had 1.5.
“I think we’re going to look at the tape and there’s times where we did things really well and we’re real clean,” Wilcox said. “And then there’s going to be some things that show up on tape that weren’t real clean. It’s awesome to get the win … but we’re also going to look at the tape and be critical of the things we need to improve upon.”
And Wilcox planned to watch a lot of film on his iPad on Saturday night. He figured he would watch UW’s victory three times before Sunday morning, not to mention what he’ll watch of Arizona.
The Wildcats beat the Huskies 52-17 in Tucson last season while racking up 533 yards. Wilcox said he already has a good idea of what changes he’ll make schematically, but he said it’s ultimately not about him — it’s about his players making plays.
“There’s no secret,” he said. “It’s all about execution. You just got to do it over and over and over.”
There was a certain rinse-and-repeat feel to what the Huskies were doing to Idaho State. Jaydon Mickens lost a fumble on UW’s first series, but Travis Feeney recovered a fumble by Idaho State quarterback Justin Arias three plays later. And four plays after that, Sankey burst in from 3 yards out for UW’s first touchdown, at 12:47 of the first quarter.
That was the first of six consecutive touchdown drives for UW, which built a 42-0 lead with 6:27 left in the second quarter. After that, senior quarterback Keith Price was pulled after going 16 of 21 passing for 213 yards with four total touchdowns.
The Huskies outgained Idaho State 397-20 by halftime. The Bengals (2-1) had two first downs in the first half; by then, they had four players who got their helmets popped off.
“We knew the only people that could hurt us was ourselves,” Price said.
Eight different players scored UW’s eight touchdowns: Sankey, Jesse Callier, Price, Joshua Perkins, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Dwayne Washington, John Ross and Deontae Cooper.
UW’s 680 yards of total offense was the second-most in program history, behind the 734 yards against San Jose State in 1996. The Huskies have gained more than 500 yards in three consecutive games for the first time dating to 1947, when UW statistics were first kept.
Come next Saturday, the most important statistic for the Huskies is getting to 1-0 in Pac-12 play.