TEMPE, Ariz. — A black brace enveloped the right wrist, hand and thumb of Washington quarterback Keith Price, who gamely smiled and answered questions from reporters after the Huskies were blitzed, 53-24, by Arizona State on Saturday night.
And that blitzing was literal for Price, who was sacked six times and knocked down even more before he eventually left the game in the fourth quarter to have his right thumb X-rayed in the locker room.
The results were negative for fractures, according to Price and coach Steve Sarkisian. So Price sat in a chair in a cold room inside Sun Devil Stadium and vowed to play next week against California.
“It’s getting better,” Price said of the thumb, which he injured against Stanford two weeks ago. “Nothing’s broken, but I’ve just got to keep rehabbing it. It’s just kind of tough to keep rehabbing it. It’s kind of tough to keep it healthy when you’re constantly kind of agitating it.”
Constantly is the right word. Price was under siege from an aggressive ASU defense, which forced him into a 16-for-39 passing performance with 217 yards.
“They knew that they were going to try to rattle me, and they just kept bringing pressure,” Price said. “They kept applying pressure, and if I was their defensive coordinator, I would have (done) the same thing because we didn’t handle it right. We didn’t handle it correctly, and usually when a team pressures, you should be able to gash them, and that kind of forces a defensive coordinator to call some other stuff and stop pressuring as much. But I mean, they had great success today, and more power to them.”
The second of his two touchdown passes, a 20-yarder to Austin Seferian-Jenkins in the fourth quarter, came with a price: He was drilled by an ASU defender and was slow getting up, then ambled to the sideline for further evaluation.
He was eventually taken to the locker room, and backup Cyler Miles finished the game. But Price insists all is OK, even if the thumb injury is hurting his ability to grip the football.
He said he was ready to re-enter the game after the X-ray results came back.
“I don’t get the full spin (on the ball), but like I said, I’m healthy enough to be out here,” Price said. “Some of those throws were on me. It had nothing to do with my thumb. I just missed them. Easy throws that I normally make. If I wasn’t healthy enough to make those throws then I wouldn’t jeopardize our team’s chances of winning the game. So if I’m healthy enough to play, then I’m healthy enough to make those throws.”
He overthrew two wide-open receivers who almost certainly would have scored touchdowns had he hit them — Marvin Hall in the first quarter and Kasen Williams later.
Sarkisian expressed concern afterward about UW’s passing game.
“We have to reassess as coaches our schemes to make sure we’re putting our players in position to do what they do best,” Sarkisian said. “We have to assess from a protection standpoint that we’re giving ourselves the best chances to be successful against good fronts, and then ultimately we have to assess our execution, because our execution isn’t there where it needs to be either.”
The Huskies were playing without left guard Dexter Charles, who didn’t make the trip because of a shoulder injury. Price said that might have played a role in some of UW’s protection issues.
“It’s very frustrating,” said receiver Kevin Smith, who caught a 70-yard touchdown pass from Price on UW’s first possession of the third quarter. “We’ve got players outside, and we’re getting open and whatnot, but he just didn’t have time to get us the ball.”