Washington is a team in transition. Steve Sarkisian is at USC, Chris Petersen is waiting to take over on a full-time basis, and the seniors and junior running back Bishop Sankey and tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins could have been focused on the future rather than the bowl game.
Instead, Sankey rushed for two touchdowns and Seferian-Jenkins caught one touchdown as the Huskies downed BYU 31-16 in the Fight Hunger Bowl on Friday night.
That pass-catching ability, along with his dominance in the red zone, was exemplified on a 16-yard touchdown in the third quarter where Seferian-Jenkins moved right up the hash marks untouched to pull in the pass from quarterback Keith Price.
Seferian-Jenkins won the John Mackey Award as the top tight end in college football this season after catching 36 passes for 450 yards and eight touchdowns. In three seasons at Washington, Seferian-Jenkins had 146 receptions for 1,788 yards and 21 touchdowns, claiming every single-season and career school record at the position.
The other cornerstone of the Washington offense, Sankey showed tremendous vision and lateral movement on a pair of 11-yard scoring runs, the latter leaving Cougars standout linebacker Kyle Van Noy grasping at air. Though he did not play in the fourth quarter with an apparent hand injury, Sankey finished with 95 yards on 21 carries and caught three passes for 6 yards in what may well have been his final outing before declaring for draft.
Sankey (5-10, 203) is as complete a back as can be found in the college ranks, handling a workload of 670 carries over the past two seasons. While he would hardly be labeled an explosive runner, Sankey's consistency will be valued at the next level.
Van Noy finished with seven tackles, including 1.5 for loss with a wicked stop of Sankey on fourth down at the goal line in the first quarter, but it was a pair of underrated Washington juniors, linebacker John Timu and defensive end Hau'oli Kikiha, that stole the show on defense.
Timu had 14 tackles with one sack and one interception, while Kikiha sacked quarterback Taysom Hill three times among his nine tackles.