Washington Opens with Win Against San Jose State, 35-29
Sept. 2, 2006
SEATTLE (AP) -Isaiah Stanback rescued Washington from a home-opening loss by passing for 168 yards and a touchdown and running for 102 yards and another score in the Huskies' 35-29 win over pesky San Jose State.
Louis Rankin overcame an early fumble to rush for 148 yards on 10 carries with two touchdowns, including a clinching, 68-yard sideline run with 5:02 to go, for Washington's first season-opening win since 2001.
San Jose State rallied when quarterback Adam Tafralis, starting because Ryan Flynn had a groin injury, found James Jones for their third scoring pass of the second half with 2:03 left. Their 6-yard connection made it 35-29.
Washington, favored by 19 points, then recovered the ensuing onside kick. The Spartans did not get the ball back until 36 seconds remained with the ball at their own 15 with no time outs remaining. They advanced only to their own 35.
Tafralis finished 28-for-35 for 323 yards and the three touchdowns to Jones.
Stanback's 11-for-14 passing in the first half Saturday allowed Washington to withstand three, early turnovers and shaky pass defense that had 52,256 fans at relatively quiet Husky Stadium worried. It was Washington's smallest home crowd since 50,410 saw Arizona State on Oct. 3, 1981.
Tafralis' 3-yard touchdown pass to Jones pulled San Jose State within 21-15 early in the second half. Stanback answered with 31 rushing yards on a 14-play drive. His last 6 yards came behind guard Stanley Daniels' turning block and through Christopher Vedder's ankle-tackle attempt that gave Washington a 28-15 lead.
Tafralis and Jones connected on a 50-yard score with 5:32 left to make it 28-22.
But Rankin answered on the next scrimmage play with a 68-yard sprint.
Stanback completed 12 of his first 15 throws through the first 2 1/2 quarters - many on short, safe screen passes and one-step darts. His only early incompletions: receiver Anthony Russo fell down and then tipped the ball into Dwight Lowery's hands for an interception on the game's opening drive, Sonny Shackleford dropped a short pass and Stanback overthrew Corey Williams on a long post route.
Three first-half field goals by the Spartans' Jared Strubeck came off turnovers.
Kenny James bulled through three defenders at the goal line on a 17-yard touchdown run that put Washington ahead 7-3 lead midway through the opening quarter. Rankin then fumbled at the end of a 12-yard run on a hit by Trae Jackson. Damaja Jones recovered at the Spartans 44.
Tafralis had Chester Coleman open in the end zone but overthrew him on third down to end the subsequent drive. Strubeck then made a consolation, 32-yard field goal and the Spartans trailed 7-6.
Rankin's first rushing score came when he bounced off teammate Williams at the 15 and bulled through a missed tackle at the 10 for a 34-yard touchdown and a 14-6 Washington lead.
Washington had 265 total yards and 13 first downs in the first half against a San Jose State defense returning just two starters from last season's 3-8 team. That was one more first down than the Huskies had in their entire previous game, last November's Apple Cup loss to Washington State.