3:30 PM ET, September 2, 2006
Husky Stadium, SEATTLE, WA
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," Willingham said.
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 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 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 Lappano said.
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, 1981.
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 3-8.
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 scrimmage play.
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 week.
"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 Washington State.
"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."
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||6-16||8-13|
|4th Down Conversions||2-2||1-2|
|FG||10:42||JARED STRUBECK 40 YD FG|
Drive info: 5 plays, 22 yards.
|TD||6:32||KENNY JAMES 17 YD RUN (MICHAEL BRAUNSTEIN KICK)|
Drive info: 9 plays, 79 yards.
|FG||0:21||JARED STRUBECK 32 YD FG|
Drive info: 9 plays, 41 yards.
|TD||10:45||LOUIS RANKIN 34 YD RUN (MICHAEL BRAUNSTEIN KICK)|
Drive info: 2 plays, 48 yards.
|FG||6:33||JARED STRUBECK 45 YD FG|
Drive info: 5 plays, 27 yards.
|TD||0:21||KENNY JAMES 21 YD PASS FROM ISAIAH STANBACK (MICHAEL BRAUNSTEIN KICK)|
Drive info: 13 plays, 81 yards.
|TD||11:31||JAMES JONES 3 YD PASS FROM ADAM TAFRALIS (MISSED KICK)|
Drive info: 8 plays, 65 yards.
|TD||5:10||ISAIAH STANBACK 6 YD RUN (MICHAEL BRAUNSTEIN KICK)|
Drive info: 13 plays, 65 yards.
|TD||5:32||JAMES JONES 50 YD PASS FROM ADAM TAFRALIS (JARED STRUBECK KICK)|
Drive info: 4 plays, 73 yards.
|TD||5:02||LOUIS RANKIN 68 YD RUN (MICHAEL BRAUNSTEIN KICK)|
Drive info: 1 plays, 68 yards.
|TD||2:03||JAMES JONES 6 YD PASS FROM ADAM TAFRALIS (JARED STRUBECK KICK)|
Drive info: 10 plays, 81 yards.