SEATTLE (AP) -- Isaiah Stanback's learning curve with second-year
Washington coach Tyrone Willingham has turned sharply again.
This time, in a good way.
"Coach said he was going to run me. I didn't know he was going
to run me this much," the inconsistent 2005 Huskies' quarterback
said on Saturday.
Stanback's wide smile in front of his dreadlocked hair showed he
hardly minded Willingham relying on him to rescue Washington from
an embarrassing home-opening loss.
Stanback's 11-for-14 passing gave Washington a 12-point halftime
lead. Then he raced for 78 of his 111 yards rushing in the second
half with another score in the Huskies' 35-29 win over pesky San
Jose State before the smallest Husky Stadium crowd in 25 years.
Louis Rankin overcame an early fumble to rush for 148 yards on
10 carries and two touchdowns. His 68-yard sideline run with 5:02
to go clinched Washington's first season-opening win since 2001.
The Huskies were 3-19 over the previous two seasons.
"Whew! Sounds great to me," Willingham said of the Huskies
finally being 1-0 heading into an ominous trip to powerful Oklahoma
-- despite three turnovers and sloppy pass defense Saturday.
"I think this is a hell of a start compared to last year,"
San Jose State rallied three times to within six points in the
second half. 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
Washington, favored by 19 points, then recovered the ensuing
onside kick. The Spartans did not get the ball back until 36
seconds remained and the ball at their own 15 with no time outs
remaining. They advanced only 21 yards.
"We didn't want it to be this close, but in the long run we can
build on this adversity," Washington offensive coordinator Tim
Tafralis finished 28-for-35 for 323 yards and the three
touchdowns to Jones, who tied a school record for receiving scores.
The Spartans' repeated rallies stunned the crowd of 52,256 --
Washington's smallest since 50,410 saw Arizona State on Oct. 3,
But San Jose State coach Dick Tomey saw no consolation in that.
"Too many times a year ago, we played a game like that and
everybody was so excited we competed," said the former Arizona
defensive wizard, whose Spartans debut season last fall ended at
A Stanback interception -- when receiver Anthony Russo fell down
and tipped the ball into Dwight Lowery's hands on the opening drive
-- and two first-half fumbles led to a school record-tying three
field goals by the Spartans' Jared Strubeck.
Tafralis' 3-yard touchdown pass to Jones pulled San Jose State
within 21-15 early in the second half. But 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 with his 68-yard sprint on the next
Stanback completed 12 of his first 15 throws through the first
2½ quarters -- many on short, safe screen passes and one-step darts.
His only early incompletions: the tipped interception, Sonny
Shackleford dropped a short pass and Stanback overthrew Corey
Williams on a long post route.
"He was more than advertised," San Jose State linebacker
Demetrius Jones said of the man Tomey had called "scary" last
"He's faster than we are. People are going to have trouble with
that all year," Tomey said, knowing Stanback missed qualifying for
last spring's NCAA national 100-meter dash championships by two
one-hundredths of a second.
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'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. That was one more first down than the Huskies had
in their entire previous game, last November's Apple Cup loss to
"It's a pretty good feeling going into Oklahoma," Rankin said.
"We're just going to sneak in there and see what we can do."