3:30 PM ET, September 17, 2005
SEATTLE (AP) -- Finally, Tyrone Willingham has his first victory as Washington's new coach, and it was an impressive one against an opponent that was expected to give the Huskies a tough game.
Louis Rankin rushed for 115 yards on 19 carries, including a 48-yard touchdown, as Washington ended an eight-game losing streak with a 34-6 win over Idaho on Saturday.
"I have no thoughts personally, just for our team," Willingham said. "It's great for our team and for coach Willingham, it's always nice to win."
Washington's defense stymied quarterback Steven Wichman, sacking him seven times for 52 yards in losses. It also stymied Idaho's rushing attack, holding the Vandals without a touchdown and to minus-4 yards rushing on 31 carries.
Tackle Manase Hopoi, a 6-foot-4, 290-pound senior, led the Huskies' relentless sack attack with four sacks of Wichman for 21 lost yards. The harrassed Wichman threw two interceptions.
The Huskies' improving quarterback Isaiah Stanback had an interception and a fumble in a scoreless opening quarter, but he redeemed himself nicely, running for one touchdown and passing for another in the third quarter.
Tight end Johnie Kirton caught the touchdown pass from Stanback, who found Kirton between two defenders.
"In watching film all week, we know the over route is the one that's always open," Kirton said, talking about his TD reception. "Today, it wasn't as open as it was supposed to be. But Isaiah made a great throw and connection with me, and it worked out."
Rankin, a sophomore, had his second 100-yard rushing game of the season. He rushed for 112 yards on 23 carries in a last-minute loss to Air Force in the Washington opener. His 48-yarder was his first college touchdown.
"The line opened a lot of holes," Rankin said. "So it was pretty much open all day. All you had to do was get to the hole."
The Huskies (1-2) won for the first time in almost a year -- since beating San Jose State 21-6 at home Oct. 9, 2004.
"In the locker room after the game, it was festive," Willingham said. "I think they were excited about the performance they gave."
They'll face Notre Dame, Willingham's former school, in Seattle next Saturday. The Fighting Irish pushed Willingham out with two seasons left on his five-year contract after last season, and the Huskies hired him in an effort to rebuild a program that was 1-10 in 2004.
"At the end of the day, the scoreboard will say, Washington and Notre Dame, not Ty and Charlie," Willingham said. "It means we have a chance to be 2 and 2."
Notre Dame hired New England assistant Charlie Weis to succeed Willingham.
After a 2-0 start, the 10th-ranked Irish lost 44-41 in overtime Saturday to Michigan State in South Bend, Ind.
Facing a longtime foe in a series in which Idaho last one a game exactly 100 years ago, Washington rebounded from a 56-17 loss to California in its Pac-10 opener last weekend.
Idaho (0-3) was supposed to be a credible opponent after playing Washington State, another Pac-10 team, close -- 38-26 -- in its opener. The Vandals held their own for a quarter against UW.
Washington led 17-3 at halftime, scoring all its first-half points in the second quarter after failing to get into the end zone on second-and-1 in the opening period.
Stanback lost a fumble that was recovered by teammate James Sims and then threw an interception before Evan Knudson missed a 28-yard field-goal attempt wide left with 8:16 left in the first quarter.
But Stanback and the Huskies' offense got going in the second period, taking advantage of a stand by the Washington defense.
Sims scored on a 1-yard run on fourth down with 3:32 gone in the second quarter to cap a 74-yard drive and give the Huskies a 7-0 lead.
The Huskies stopped Wichman twice for no gain to take over the ball on the Washington 27 with 7:17 left in the second period and scored 20 seconds later on Rankin's 48-yard touchdown run.
Mike Barrow kicked a 30-yard field goal with 2:26 left in the second quarter for Idaho.
Three plays after a 45-yard pass from Stanback to Craig Chambers, Knudson converted an 18-yard field-goal attempt for Washington as time ran out in the first half.
The third quarter was all Washington. Stanback scored on a 5-yard run and passed 6 yards to Kirton for another touchdown. Linebacker Joe Lobendahn set up the scoring run by intercepting a pass by Wichman and the TD pass to Kirton followed a shanked 21-yard punt out of bounds at the Idaho 27.
It was a tough loss for second-year Idaho coach Nick Holt to swallow.
"Offensively, you can't give up seven sacks," he said. "You can't have nine tackles for losses. You've got to protect your quarterback better. You've got to run the ball better than minus-4 yards."