Despite their 31-28 loss to the Stanford Cardinal on Saturday, the Washington Huskies have plenty to feel good about as the look ahead to the rest of the season. The defense was flying all over the field and held Kevin Hogan largely in check, Keith Price was dynamic and efficient even with an injured throwing hand and Bishop Sankey looks unstoppable in the running game. Don’t tell that to Steve Sarkisian, however, who has been as poor a sport as they come in the wake of their almost win, spoiling what should be an opportunity for the program to grow.
Sark didn’t wait long before venting his frustrations about the way the game ended. With the Huskies driving to try and tie or take the lead, Price appeared to complete a fourth-down pass to Kevin Smith that would have kept the drive alive. The play was reviewed and ultimately overturned by officials which turned into a controversial ending because there didn’t appear to sufficient evidence in the replays to overturn the call. Sarkisian didn’t mix words afterwards about how he felt with the call going against his team:
“It was ruled a catch, and to determine it not a catch they had to overrule it and determine it wasn’t. And from my vantage point, it looked like it was pretty hard to overturn it. Again, I didn’t get to sit 50 yards up in the booth and play a video game and make a call.”
Passive-aggressive pot-shots at replay officials aside, Sarkisian was visibly upset that the game “had to come down to a judgment call” and that it was ultimately decided by “some guy that didn’t get to feel the emotion and the hard fought football game that that game was.” Washington obviously wanted to win that game very badly and shake up the power structure of the Pac 12 but disappointment is no reason to throw a tantrum.
And Sarkisian wasn’t done after complaining about the replay officials. According to the Seattle Times’ Adam Jude, the UW head coach went on after the game to accuse Stanford of faking injuries to slow down his offense.
“I guess that’s how we play here at Stanford, so we’ll have to prepare for that next time. At some point, we’ll get repaid for it. That never serves a purpose for us, and we’ll never do that.”
Two of the players who appeared injured were Shayne Skov and Ben Gardner, two of the best players on Stanford’s defense. Both responded to the accusations on Twitter with Skov saying “If I’m having docs look at me on the sideline I’m not faking it,” and Gardner flatly denying it as well. It certainly doesn’t make a lot of tactical sense for Stanford to pull their defensive leaders off the field for a few plays in the middle of an important drive and replays did show Skov was rolled up on during a tackle.
At any rate, Sarkisian is coming across as little more than a sore loser. Washington went toe-to-toe with one of the top teams in the country and just didn’t get the breaks to finish it off. His antics now are cheapening what was a tremendous effort from his team and will act as a distraction for future games as he wallows in what he feels were massive injustices. UW can’t afford to get stuck on their almost-win in Palo Alto, though, because the Oregon Ducks are coming to town next week and the Dawgs will need their best game yet to protect home field.
That means more focus on preparing to slow down Marcus Mariota and De’Anthony Thomas and less time complaining about replay officials and “faked” injuries. If Sarkisian doesn’t get dialed in, UW has little chance of breaking their streak of futility against their I-5 rivals.