It didn’t matter to Keith Price that his statistics were better than average.
Most quarterbacks would gladly take his game stats: 25 completions in 35 passes for 222 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions.
But for the self-critical Price, he described his performance in the Huskies’ 21-12 win over San Diego State on Saturday night at CenturyLink Field as “not good enough.”
To Price it was not good enough for him or his teammates or for UW fans.
It certainly was not good enough to beat third-ranked LSU on Saturday in Baton Rouge.
“I haven’t played that bad of a game in a long time,” Price said. “I just felt that I played a terrible game.”
Part of that was Price being a leader and shouldering the responsibility for an offense that doesn’t have consistent pass protection or a solid run game.
Huskies coach Steve Sarkisian wouldn’t allow Price to take all of the blame.
“I’ve called better games and I’ll call better games than I did tonight,” he said after the game. “I’ve seen Keith Price better than I have tonight. He just didn’t feel quite right, comfortable all the way through it. We’re probably not going to be great on offense if Keith and I just aren’t in the rhythm of the game, so we’ll get better with that.”
The Washington offense will likely have to get better without two starters.
Sophomore right tackle Ben Riva, who suffered a fractured forearm, is out for at least a few weeks, and junior tailback Jesse Callier, who was supposed to share first-team carries with Bishop Sankey, strained a knee and likely will miss this week.
The loss of Callier might mean Sankey will take all of the first-team carries, while walk-on Willis Wilson of Lakes will move up to the second team, and true freshman Erich Wilson II got some carries against the Aztecs.
The depth and production is a concern to Sarkisian.
“We had a pretty decent plan for the two backs being in there together and it just wasn’t at a comfort level of getting to that stuff,” he said. “That’s not an excuse. We should run the ball better than we did.
“We’ve got to find our identity in the run game. Who are we? And how are we going to become that? I don’t know if we’re going to lead the country in rushing but it needs to be a good complement to our passing game. Tonight, it wasn’t where it needed to be.”
Riva suffered his injury right before halftime and never returned to the field. Sarkisian moved sophomore Mike Criste into Riva’s spot. Criste, who had been working as a center and only recently started working out at tackle, struggled in pass protection.
Sarkisian mentioned the possibility of moving starting right guard Erik Kohler to right tackle and inserting James Atoe at right guard.
That seems to be a likely solution to replacing Riva because Kohler started every game last season at right tackle and would be comfortable playing that position.
“Again, that’s why we practice and move guys around (to) be prepared for stuff like this,” Sarkisian said. “(We’ve) got some options, which is OK.”
But options might not be good enough against an LSU defensive line that features two NFL-caliber defensive ends in Barkevious Mingo and Sam Montgomery.
Price said the pressure of SDSU’s shifting 3-3-5 defense bothered him. He took plenty of hits – far more than Sarkisian would like.
Price blamed himself for some of the hits, saying he didn’t get rid of the ball soon enough. But he was optimistic about his performance.
“I promise you I’ll play better next week,” he said. “(I’ve) just gotta keep my cool. I think a couple times I made poor reads. There were two or three times when I escaped the pocket a little bit early.”firstname.lastname@example.org 253-597-8483 blog.thenewstribune.com/uwsports @RyanDivish