The second quarter started with UW in a familiar territory - trailing and giving up sacks. The three and out that ended with Price getting crushed was not exactly what Sark was hoping for and resulted in UW punting the ball back to Boise State. Already early in the second quarter, you got the sense that UW had reached a critical juncture in the game. Fortunately, Josh Shirley and Shaq Thompson were able to assert themselves in forcing their own 3 and out and getting UW the ball back.
UW came out a little ticked and looking to re-establish the run. Sankey started with a big 16 yard run and a first down. Unfortunately, KP continued to be off with both his accuracy and timing. He was intercepted on a 3rd down pass giving BSU really good field position. Joe Southwick and company would not disappoint. He carved UW's secondary up in his first two plays and drove the Broncos down into the red zone. UW stiffened up again and forced a BSU field goal. Michael Frisnia connected on the 30 yarder and extended BSU's lead to 12-3.
The ball came back to UW and it was another mixed bag. Sankey was able to get some runs going, but Price (who had time) was way out of rhythm and unable to convert a 3rd and five. By this point, it is clear that BSU is going to try to force Price to beat them, and it doesn't look like Keith is up to it. The Huskies D couldn't take advantage of a offensive pass interference early in the next series and let the Broncos just carve them up as BSU went down and scored another TD on a trick play, extending their lead 18-3 - Travis Feeney sniffed out the 2 point conversion attempt.
The trick play seemed to wake UW up as Kasen Williams finally decided to get involved in the game with a quick 39 yard catch and run play that got UW deep into BSU territory. Bishop capped the deal off with a huge 26 yard TD run and, before you knew it, UW was back within a single score. The momentum continued on the defensive side as Josh Shirley first flushed Southwick out of the pocket then forced the fumble and dinged the QB.
UW was unable to do anything with the turnover, giving back to Boise State after four downs. But UW's defense stood tall, created some pressure, and forced a three and out of their own, setting up a critical 2 minute drill knowing that BSU starts the second half with the ball. Another bad BSU punt put UW in a pretty good position. Of course, we've been down this road before. An obviously injured KP made one big play - a throwback to Sankey who took the ball the 15. The Broncos got called for Targeting as Jaydon Mickens got headhunted in the endzone setting up a first and goal on the 7. Then the heart of Keith Price took over. Sacrificing his own health and well-being Price channeled his inner-Locker, scrambled on a broken play, initiated contact and dragged some defenders into the endzone. A review confirmed the TD, and the Huskies ended the half down just a point, 18-17.
Looking at the entire first half, it is easy to call out how bad the passing game continues to be. The stats don't lie. Price was just 6 / 18 for 104 yards with a really bad pick. On the flip side, Joe Southwick was 16/21 for 172 and a TD.
The big caveat, of course, is that Boise State has a really good pass defense. While it is disappointing to see KP continue as a pedestrian QB performer, we all knew that UW was going to have to get a big game out of the rushing attack to be competitive and they delivered that in a big way. Sankey was the key cog - running hard and racking up about 130 yards rushing in the first half (not to mention the big catch and run). And, of course, Keith Price showed some serious guts in the scoring scramble at the end of the half. On the defensive side, there were definite breakdowns, but a lot of big stops and big plays. In particular, UW generated pressure - even if they couldn't get sacks. The game is a good one, a competitive one and going about the way we thought it might.
2Q Playmakers: Sankey - our only offense; Josh Shirely got some pressure a few different times and forced the Southwick fumble - he has really showed up today; Danny Shelton shut down the interior lanes pretty well; John Timu with a couple of big tackles, including the one that stopped BSU's momentum and forced their second FG attempt; Austin Seferian-Jenkins didn't get into the passing game much, but he was a relevant blocker; Travis Feeney - all over the place, of course.
2Q Playgivers: Pick an offensive linemen (hint: Micah Hatchie); Keith Price with a really bad pass then a really bad pass for an INT; Marcus Peters got burned on a long pass; Shelton had a bad PF; Justin Glenn with some big plays, but also got burned on the 3rd and 20.