Finally, Huskies feel like winners

First-year Washington Coach Steve Sarkisian was feeling pretty good after Saturday’s 42-23 victory over Idaho -- the Huskies’ first win in nearly two calendar years.

So good, he was even happy for reporters.

“You guys get to write something positive!” he exclaimed, punching his fist in the air as he left his postgame news conference. “How’s that feel?”

Well, not quite that giddy.


But Sarkisian, the former USC offensive coordinator, had reason to celebrate.

Washington had the nation’s longest losing streak, 15 games. Another loss and the Huskies would have established a Pacific 10 Conference record.

“We’re a new team,” Huskies linebacker Matt Foster said. “New coaches. New program.”

With a date against USC next week in Seattle.



Count again

Florida Coach Urban Meyer told anyone who would listen last week that Troy (Ala.), the Gators’ opponent Saturday, had Southeastern Conference-caliber talent among its starters.

“I have some contacts,” Meyer told reporters. “I say, ‘Give me the pro prospects on each college team we’re going to face. I want to know who they are.’ Troy had more than several SEC opponents that we’re going to play this year, more NFL-projected players.”

Really? Florida won, 56-6.

So if Meyer is right, we can forget all that talk about the SEC being college football’s toughest conference.


Quick as (Bear)cats


Defending Big East Conference champion Cincinnati is No. 23 in the Associated Press poll but has to be No. 1 when it comes to scoring quickly.

The Bearcats, who averaged 1 minute 56 seconds on their five first-half scoring drives in winning their opener against Rutgers, were back at it again Saturday against Southeast Missouri State.

Cincinnati scored the first time it touched the ball, as Mardy Gilyard took back a punt 53 yards for a touchdown.

Then, after a three-incomplete-passes-and-out first series, the Bearcats scored on their next six possessions of the first half, the “drives” averaging 1:41 in duration -- even counting a 13-play, 75-yard march that dragged on for 4:46.

For good measure, Cincinnati’s Darrin Williams took back the second-half kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown. That took 12 seconds.


Pulling away

Tailbacks Jahvid Best of California and Taiwan Jones of Eastern Washington had a history of matching strides even before Saturday’s game, won by Cal, 59-7.


Both were finalists in the 100 meters at the 2007 California Interscholastic Federation track and field championships. Best, who attended Los Angeles Salesian High, won with a wind-aided time of 10.31 seconds. Jones, running for Deer Valley High, was fourth in 10.58.

Saturday’s competition was not as close. Best rushed for 144 yards and a touchdown in 17 carries and caught two passes for 19 yards. Jones, a converted cornerback in his second game on offense, carried three times for three yards and caught two passes for 11 yards.


Neighborhood watch

Knoxville, the third-largest city in Tennessee, had a 2007 estimated population of 183,546. Attendance at the UCLA-Tennessee game: 102,239.

Columbus, the largest city in Ohio, had a 2008 population of 754,885. Attendance at the USC-Ohio State game: a record 106,033.


Top techie

Virginia Tech had 605 yards in offense in a 52-10 victory over Marshall after gaining only 155 yards in an opening loss to Alabama.

The one constant: Tailback Ryan Williams. He accounted for 200 yards against Marshall -- 164 and three touchdowns rushing and 36 yards on one catch.

Against Alabama, Williams had 71 yards rushing and 42 yards receiving, so he has accounted for 41.2% of the Hokies’ offense.


Odds and ends

Syracuse has played more football games against Penn State than any other school, but has only four wins in 27 games against the Nittany Lions since Joe Paterno took over as Penn State’s coach in 1966. . . .

After leading Oklahoma to just one field goal in five second-half drives against Brigham Young after Sam Bradford was injured, Sooners quarterback Landry Jones found the going much easier against outmanned Idaho State, completing 18 of 32 passes for 286 yards and three touchdowns in a 64-0 victory.