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December 20, 2014

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College football:

Career night from Washington running back not enough against Boise State

The Huskies’ Bishop Sankey compiled 279 total yards and a touchdown, the second most in bowl history, in his team’s 28-26 loss

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Sam Morris

Washington tailback Bishop Sankey holds his 2012 Maaco Bowl Las Vegas MVP trophy while looking at Boise State’s game trophy Saturday, Dec. 22, 2012 at Sam Boyd Stadium. Boise State won their third consecutive Vegas Bowl 28-26.

2012 Maaco Bowl Las Vegas

Boise State fans cheer on the field after their 28-26 win over Washington in the Maaco Bowl Las Vegas game Saturday, Dec. 22, 2012 at Sam Boyd Stadium. Launch slideshow »

Boise State Football Team

Boise State football team prepares for their upcoming game Saturday when they face off against Washington in the 2012 MACCO Bowl Las Vegas, Thursday Dec. 19, 2012. Launch slideshow »

Washington Prepares for MAACO Bowl

Washington quarterback Keith Price practices with his team at Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas on Wednesday, December 19, 2012. Washington is preparing to face Boise State in Saturday's Maaco Bowl Las Vegas Launch slideshow »

The standard line on career nights is you never want to have them in a loss. In that regard Washington’s Bishop Sankey fits the norm, though there was nothing standard about his performance in the Huskies’ 28-26 loss to Boise State in the Maaco Bowl Las Vegas at Sam Boyd Stadium.

Washington was at risk of getting blown out until Sankey broke free for a 26-yard touchdown run in the first half. All told the game’s MVP finished with career-high totals in rushing (205) and receiving yards (74), and his all-purpose total (279) was the second highest in bowl history.

Those are great numbers and positive things the sophomore will take into the offseason. Still, it doesn’t feel the same after a loss.

“I am just disappointed that we came up short tonight,” Sankey said.

Boise State led 18-3 when Washington finally found the end zone. Sankey’s run was the cap on a three-play scoring drive that answered the Broncos’ long drive right before it. The score seemed to wake up the Huskies, who added another touchdown score just before halftime and went into the break trailing 18-17.

“I thought our energy was not great at the start of the game,” Washington coach Steve Sarkisian said, “but I thought it picked up in the second quarter and continued throughout the game.”

Washington would eventually take its only lead of the game, 26-25, on a field goal with 4:09 remaining in the game. Had the Huskies defense been able to hold on, Sankey could have fully enjoyed his MVP status and career numbers.

However, Boise State, a team that’s struggled with field goals in big situations before, got a 27-yard game-winner from Michael Frisina with 1:16 remaining. Earlier in the game Frisina hit a 34-yarder, the longest field goal at Boise State since 2010.

Frisina, a senior, will always be able to think back to his career performance without any regrets. And that feeling comes at the expense of Sankey.

“It is definitely disappointing that we didn’t get the win, but I am proud that we came out and played hard throughout the game,” Sankey said.

On Washington’s go-ahead drive Sankey tallied 40 total yards, and he also caught two passes on the Huskies’ final drive, which ended with an interception. No matter what the Broncos tried to do to stop him, Sankey found holes and created opportunities for his team. He was by far the most consistent thing Washington had going all game.

Huskies quarterback Keith Price, who finished with 242 yards and two interceptions on 20-of-39 passing, was 6-for-18 in the first half. While he struggled to find his targets against the Mountain West’s best defense, Sankey carved up that same group.

“He was doing a good job at finding holes in our defense,” said Broncos linebacker J.C. Percy. “He's a great back, he showed it all year and he was able to run hard and break tackles and use his elusive moves to get away from us.”

That’s a nice compliment, though it rings hollow on a night when the confetti dropped for another team. At least Sankey can rest easy knowing he did everything he could to get Washington in the game.

Taylor Bern can be reached at 948-7844 or [email protected]. Follow Taylor on Twitter at twitter.com/taylorbern.

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