The Washington Huskies traveled to Chicago to take on a suddenly dangerous Illinois Fighting Illini squad led by the explosive Nathan Scheelhaase. UW head coach Steve Sarkisian has turned up the pace on offense this season, putting more offensive responsibility on quarterback Keith Price‘s shoulders. On Saturday, however, it was running back Bishop Sankey who carried the Huskies to victory.
A major component to Washington’s offensive attack this season is controlling the pace of the game. Against Illinois, that meant a very healthy dose of Sankey behind the excellent play of the UW offensive line. The junior tailback was a true workhorse on the night, carrying the ball 35 times for 208 yards, averaging 5.9 yards per carry and finding the endzone once on the ground. He also added three catches for 63 yards receiving and another touchdown through the air.
Sankey helped the Huskies set the tone against the Illini and hold off Scheelhaase as he tried to mount a rally in the second half. Sankey helped the Dawgs rack up 615 total yards as they held the ball for over 31 minutes as they ran 85 plays on the night. Getting Sankey to pound the rock consistently opened up so many other weapons for Washington and was instrumental in Price having a surgically efficient night under center, completing 28 of 35 passes for 342 yards and two touchdowns.
Price is the unquestioned leader of this Washington offense as so much of the fast-paced attack is predicated on him making smart decisions. On Saturday, he made some very smart decisions by feeding the ball the Sankey and letting him run wild on the Illini in Soldier Field. This is the kind of performance that the strong running Sankey is capable of and could be a major factor in how far Washington goes in the Pac 12 in 2013.