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Washington Defense Really Turns It Around

Nonconference: After being picked apart by Arizona State's Plummer, Huskies sack BYU's Sarkisian eight times in 29-14 victory.

September 15, 1996|From Associated Press

SEATTLE — The Washington Huskies may not have a bad defense after all.

Torn apart by Jake Plummer and Arizona State in a 45-42 loss a week earlier, Washington's defense looked like an entirely different unit against No. 14 Brigham Young on Saturday.

The Huskies sacked highly regarded quarterback Steve Sarkisian eight times--and even tackled him in the end zone for a safety--in a 29-14 victory.

Sarkisian, who threw 10 touchdown passes in the Cougars' first two games, had two scoring passes, but was unable to overcome a Washington defense that limited the Cougars to 14 net rushing yards.

"Their defense played extremely well," BYU tight end Itula Mili said. "They're not as big as Texas A&M, but they're a lot faster."

"After we got behind, they knew we had to throw and it was easy for them to come after us," Sarkisian said.

Jason Chorak, who had three sacks, delivered the final indignity by tackling Sarkisian in the end zone for a safety with 1:21 to go. Freshman nose tackle Mac Tuiaea had 3 1/2 sacks for the Huskies.

"Last week, I think we all had first-game jitters," Chorak said. "The whole defense is just coming together."

"We really tried to emphasize containment all week after the way Plummer ran around on us last week," Tuiaea said.

Washington (1-1) won its 11th consecutive home opener before a Husky Stadium crowd of 71,165 on a day when Shane Fortney ran for one touchdown and passed for a score, and Rashaan Shehee rushed for two touchdowns.

BYU came into the game with national championship aspirations. The Cougars, who won their opener against No. 25 Texas A&M, felt a victory in Seattle would have been a springboard to an unbeaten season.

"This game meant a lot nationally," BYU Coach LaVell Edwards acknowledged.

That may have affected the way the Cougars played.

"I think all the hype got in a lot of players' heads," middle linebacker Shay Muirbrook said.

The Huskies' defensive pressure was too much for BYU's offensive line. The Cougars (2-1) committed 15 penalties for losses of 119 yards.

The Huskies had 445 yards, 264 by rushing, to BYU's 293. Sarkisian completed 23 of 35 passes for 279 yards and two touchdowns.

Fortney was 16 for 24 for 172 yards and one touchdown. Shehee rushed 21 times for 131 yards and backup Corey Dillon had 82 yards in 10 carries.

The loss came in Edwards' 300th game as BYU coach.

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