STANFORD, Calif. (AP) — Washington showed a national audience Saturday night just how far it has come under fifth-year coach Steve Sarkisian and just how close the program might be from contending for a Pac-12 title again.
For now, that's at least one bounce short.
Or, depending on one's perspective, maybe just one replay short.
Keith Price threw for 350 yards and two touchdowns on an injured thumb before officials ruled his final pass incomplete after a video review, and the No. 15 Huskies lost 31-28 at fifth-ranked Stanford in a matchup of unbeaten Pac-12 North teams.
"There's no awards for losing," Sarkisian said. "We're a proud football team and we're proud of the way we played, but we came here to win the game and, unfortunately, we didn't do that. So we have to show the ability to handle the adversity of a tough loss like this against a tough football team and learn from some of the mistakes we had."
The Huskies outgained Stanford 489-284 in total yards but had no answer for Ty Montgomery any time the Cardinal's rejuvenated junior wide receiver touched the ball.
Montgomery finished with 290 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns. He returned the opening kickoff 99 yards for a TD and caught a 34-yard pass for another score to put the Cardinal (5-0, 3-0) in control from the start and keep them there.
"I would say Ty was the difference in the ballgame," Stanford coach David Shaw.
Stanford led from wire-to-wire while winning its 13th straight game and 12th in a row at home. But no matter the score, Washington never went away.
Price completed 33 of 48 passes with one interception, and Bishop Sankey ran for 125 yards and two scores in an impressive — though, at times, mistake-filled — performance for the Huskies (4-1, 1-1) against the defending conference and Rose Bowl champions.
In the end, officials ruled Washington needed at least one more clean catch to have a chance.
On fourth-and-10 from the Stanford 49, Price rolled to his right and stiff-armed a defender before throwing a 16-yard pass near the sideline to a diving Kevin Smith. But after reviewing TV replays, officials said the ball hit the ground.
"I should've (thrown) a better ball," Price said. "I thought it was complete at first. Turns out, it wasn't."
Sarkisian said the video he saw on the scoreboard from the sideline looked inconclusive.
"It's unfortunate the game had to come down to a judgment call like that," he said. "That part was unfortunate because it was two good football teams battling and competing with one another and I wish the game would have got won on the field and not in the booth upstairs with some guy that didn't get to feel the emotion in the hard-fought football game that game was."