STANFORD, Calif. -- Steve Sarksian walked out of the Washington locker room with a smile on his face. His demeanor showed nothing to indicate any frustration as a result of the controversial finish to his team's 31-28 loss to Stanford.
This, despite his astonishment in the replay official's decision to overturn a pass that would have given Washington a first down at the Stanford 33 with less than two minutes left. After viewing the replay on video board, Sarkisian didn't think there was enough evidence to reverse what was initially ruled a 16-yard reception for Kevin Smith on fourth down.
"It was ruled a catch, and to determine it not a catch they had to overrule it and determine it wasn't," Sarkisian said. "And from my vantage point, it looked like it was pretty hard to overturn it. Again, I didn't get to sit 50 yards up in the booth and play a video game and make a call."
In real time, Stanford coach David Shaw saw it the same way. His coaches in the booth did not.
"They saw a replay from behind, especially, the view that I didn't have, you could see the ball go through, hit his chest, bounce off the ground and into his hands," Shaw said.
That was the explanation relayed by the lead official, a ruling that allowed Stanford to kneel twice and hold on for the win.
"It's unfortunate the game had to come down to a judgment call like that," Sarkisian 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 gotten won on the field and not in the booth upstairs with some guy that didn't get to feel the emotion and the hard fought football game that that game was."
A win against No. 5 Stanford (5-0, 3-0 Pac-12) would easily have been the biggest win of Sarkisian's career and perhaps vaulted the No. 15 Huskies (4-1, 1-1) into the top 10. Instead, they'll settle for heartbreak.
"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."
The Huskies will shift their attention quickly to No. 2 Oregon, which travels to Husky Stadium next week.