SEATTLE (CBS / AP) — Keith Price threw for 292 yards and three touchdowns and Chris Polk added a touchdown on the ground as Washington knocked off California 31-23 to get off to their best start in six years.
In the conference opener for both teams, Price picked his way through the California secondary as Washington improved to 3-1 for the first time since 2006.
Both teams traded field goals to open the second half before Washington regained control. Price connected with a wide-open Polk down the middle of the field for a 70-yard touchdown to swing the momentum back in Washington’s favor as the Huskies took a 31-23 lead.
California (3-1, 0-1 Pac-12) faced a short fourth down from the Washington 36-yard line with under seven minutes left to play. Zach Maynard’s pass to Isi Sofele was broken up by Cort Dennison to give Washington the ball and grind a couple minutes off the clock before California got the ball back with 4:19 left to play.
On the game’s final drive, Maynard converted on three straight third downs to move California into Washington territory. A pass interference call on Desmond Trufant gave California a first down at the Washington 21-yard line with 48 seconds left. Maynard, who threw for 349 yards and a touchdown on the day, connected with Allen for 19 yards down to the Washington 2-yard line.
An incompletion and a pair of runs left California facing fourth down from the 2-yard line. Maynard’s fourth-down pass for Allen sailed high and out of the endzone as Washington held on for the victory with a stout defensive stand.
The game was defined by its big plays from both sides. Maynard found Keenan Allen wide open on a busted coverage running straight down the hashmarks early in the first quarter. Allen broke an attempted tackle by Quinton Richardson and tumbled into the endzone for a 90-yard touchdown to give California an early 7-0 lead. The scoring toss was the longest reception in school history.
Price and the Huskies answered quickly, moving 66 yards on three plays. Price hit Devin Aguilar for 44 yards to advance deep into California territory. Price then danced through California defenders before scrambling right and finding Seferian-Jenkins wide open downfield. Seferian-Jenkins crashed through a defender at the goal line and into the endzone to even the game at 7-7.
After a three-and-out by Cal, Price led the Huskies on an 8-play, 65-yard scoring drive culminating in a 2-yard touchdown run from Keith Price to give the Huskies a 14-7 lead at the 3:30 mark in the first quarter.
After a 29-yard field goal by Giorgio Tavecchio, California held Washington on a short third down from their own 41-yard line, but coach Jeff Tedford elected to accept a holding penalty on Seferian-Jenkins and back the Huskies up. Price connected with Kevin Smith for 12 yards on a long third down as Washington kept the drive alive. Five plays later, Price found Seferian-Jenkins for a 20-yard touchdown to take a 21-10 lead.
Tavecchio connected from 36-yards out to pull within eight and California got the ball right back after Price fumbled on the first play of Washington’s next drive. Maynard completed passes of 17 yards to Allen and 15 yards to Covaughn DeBoskie-Johnson to get inside the Washington 5-yard line. C.J. Anderson scored from a yard out to close the gap to 21-20 wifth just over a minute to play in the first half.
Notes: Washington LB John Timu left the game in an ambulance after apparently taking a knee to the head late in the third quarter. He was taken to Harborview Medical Center for X-rays on his neck. CB Gregory Ducre (concussion), DE Hau’oli Jamora (knee) and RB Johri Fogerson (knee) also left with injuries for Washington.
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