Huskies Off and Running

Oct. 9, 2004

By Veronica White

In a season where the Huskies started 0-4, Washington was looking to set a new tone against San Jose State on Saturday. The Huskies jumped out of the gate early to gain a 7-0 lead, but sputtered for the rest of the first half going into the locker room with just a 7-3 lead.

In the second half the Huskies were looking for that spark to get them going but things were looking grim after they turned the ball over on their first possession, setting up San Jose State on the UW three-yard line.

The Huskies finally got another spark, this time from the defense, as Washington held its ground on a fourth and goal from the one-yard line to keep the score at 7-3. That spark led to an explosion as the Husky offense took over from there.

Washington proceeded to march down the field 99 yards, capped by a 52-yard touchdown from Kenny James and turn what looked to be a potential deficit into a 14-3 lead. The offense kept pouring it on and eventually went on to defeat the Spartans 21-6.

'We started off kind of slow through the first half,' says James. 'But in the second half we came out and made some adjustments. The line did a good job of blocking. (James) Sims and I did a great job of running through the holes and making plays. As a running back our job is to go out there and get first downs and touchdowns and that's what we did.'

While James was the individual star on offense, much of the credit must go to the offensive line which opened up holes for the running game.

'When half time came we realized that we needed this win and if we were going to do this, the offensive line needed to step up,' says senior offensive tackle Khalif Barnes.

The offensive line did just that, helping James, a sophomore from Dos Palos, Calif., to a career-high 189 yards rushing, 179 of which came in the second half. The Husky offense finished with 304 total yards rushing, 234 in the second half alone.

While the Huskies found their groove, San Jose State didn't just roll over and die. The Spartans opened the fourth quarter by kicking a 28-yard field goal, narrowing the Huskies lead to 14-6. But from there on the Huskies were in control of the rest of the game.

Washington quickly answered with an eight play, 61-yard drive that gobbled up 4:26 of the clock and resulted in James' second touchdown of the day, leaving little doubt as to the final outcome.

'We knew we were capable of wearing them down and running the ball,' says James. 'And we did a great job.'

The offense's effort did not go unnoticed by head coach Keith Gilbertson.

'I thought Kenny James had some nice runs and we wanted him to take over the game in the second half,' says Gilbertson. 'He did a nice job of staying in drives, and that was the difference for us.'

Gilbertson and the rest of the Huskies hope to keep the momentum going as they resume Pac-10 play next Saturday against Oregon State. In order to do that they are going to need another complete effort from the offensive line and the running game.

'We were more focused today, I think the bottom line was we were tired of losing,' says offensive guard Stanley Daniels. 'This is the spark that we needed to get the avalanche rolling down the hill.'

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