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Our early game report:
Washington senior quarterback Keith Price returned to the starting lineup in his final game at Husky Stadium. It took some time, and a heating pad on his ailing right arm, but he finally returned to form in the second half.
Price led an efficient third-quarter comeback, Bishop Sankey broke two UW rushing records and, unlike last year, the Huskies were able to hold off Washington State’s late rally en route to a 27-17 Apple Cup victory before 71,753 at Husky Stadium on Friday afternoon.
Price, who sat out UW’s victory at Oregon State last week with a sore throwing shoulder, overcame two first-half turnovers to help the Huskies (8-4, 5-4 Pac-12) to their most wins in a season since 2001 (also eight wins).
The Cougars end the regular season with a 6-6 record (4-5 in Pac-12).
Sankey finished with 200 yards on 34 carries, and he broke Corey Dillon’s 17-year-old record for most rushing yards (previously 1,695) in a season by a UW running back. Sankey actually broke two records on his 7-yard touchdown in the third quarter: the run gave him 1,696 yards to move past Dillon and it gave him 35 career rushing touchdown, passing Napoleon Kaufman for the most in program history.
That touchdown run also broke a 10-10 tie.
Travis Coons added a 39-yard field goal, his second of the game, on UW’s next drive to extend the Huskies’ leads to 20-10.
Washington, trailing 10-3 at halftime, outscored the Cougars 17-0 in the third quarter.
Price was 7 of 8 in the third quarter and Sankey had 78 yards on 12 carries in the quarter.
Washington State converted a fourth-and-15 play on Connor Halliday’s 22-yard pass to Dom Williams, plus a personal-foul penalty on UW linebacker John Timu. Two plays later, Halliday hit Williams in the left corner of the end zone for a 5-yard touchdown, cutting the Cougars’ deficit to 20-17 with 7:30 left.
After a UW punt, the Cougars got the ball back at their own 13 with 5:26 left. On the second play of the drive, UW’s Greg Ducre intercepted Halliday at the WSU 37.
Seven plays later, Price sneaked around the right side for an easy 2-yard score to push UW’s lead to 27-17 with 2:08 left.
Timu intercepted Halliday on WSU’s final drive to seal it for the Huskies.
The Huskies blew an 18-point lead in the fourth quarter last year in Pullman, losing 31-28 in overtime. Not this time.
Price, after a sluggish first half, lined up in victory formation and took a knee to end it near midfield for UW, starting a raucous celebration on the UW sideline. Huskies coach Steve Sarkisian was doused with water.
Price finished 15 of 20 for 181 yards with one touchdown pass, one touchdown run, one interception and one fumble.
Price was 5 for 8 for 72 yards with one interception and a lost fumble in the first half. The two turnovers led to both of the Cougars’ first-half scores — an Andrew Furney 49-yard field goal and a 14-yard pass from Halliday to Rickey Galvin.
Coons, who missed the potential game-winning kick from 35 yards at the end of regulation in the 2012 Apple Cup, opened the scoring Friday with a career-long 48-yard field goal.