Sunday, October 17, 2010

Locker throws for five touchdowns in Huskies 35-34 double overtime win over #24 Beavers

By Kshell

The Washington Huskies have had plenty of great passing combinations in their history from Warren Moon to Spider Gaines, from Billy Joe Hobert or Mark Brunell to Mario Bailey, Brock Huard to Jerome Pathon or Cody Pickett to Reggie Williams but none of those combinations did what Jake Locker to Jermaine Kearse did today. Locker would throw for five touchdowns the most for any Husky quarterback since 1973 and four of those went to Jermaine Kearse who set a Husky record for most receiving touchdowns in one game. This passing combo along with plenty of gutsy stops by the defense helped the Huskies improve to 3-3 with a wild 35-34 double overtime win over the #24 Oregon State Beavers. In fact this was the Huskies first over time win ever at Husky Stadium.

The Huskies were hoping to avoid the slow starts that have plagued this team at Husky Stadium. The Huskies had trailed 10-0 to Syracuse, 14-0 to #8 Nebraska and 21-7 Arizona State. Sarkisian challenged the toughness of the team and blew up the offensive line. Only Senio Kelemente was the only guy starting at the same position as last week. We saw some shuffling that saw true freshman Collin Porter making his first career start at guard and Cody Habban who has been a starter the previous two years benched. Locker would fumble on the first series in the red zone but the Huskies were going to move the ball on the Beavers.

In the first quarter the Huskies drove down to the red zone again. With Locker rolling out he would find Kearse in the right corner of the end zone for a touchdown. It was a nice diving catch by Kearse who has had some rough games this year on catching the ball. The Huskies were rolling out and pounding the ball early and often controlling the clock. In the second quarter facing a second and goal from the four yard line Locker would find D'Andre Goodwin for a touchdown to give the Huskies a 14-0 lead. Goodwin after going his first three years with just one career touchdown has had two in the past two games. That touchdown was set up by Desmond Trufant interception.

The Huskies on their next series at midfield from the 45 yard line would call for Jake Locker to throw deep on a play action pass to Jermaine Kearse for a touchdown. Just like that the Huskies were up 21-0 and Locker had already thrown for three touchdowns. The Huskies defense has stuffed Jacquizz Rodgers to that point holding him to 14 yards on just seven carries. Then everything went south for the Huskies quickly.

The Beavers would over come more adversity when Ryan Katz would hit Aaron Nichols for an easy touchdown but Nichols dropped the pass. The Beavers would continue to march down the field which featured Rodgers who had four carries for 36 yards on the drive. The drive would end on a Ryan Katz five yard rushing touchdown that saw some missed tackles.

The Huskies offense for the rest of the regulation would be shut down and held scoreless. The Beavers on the next series would march down the field and score again behind Rodgers six yard touchdown run cutting the lead to 21-14 at halftime. The Beavers would take the opening possession of the second half and score another touchdown on a four yard run by Rodgers up the middle. Suddenly the game was tied at 21 and the crowd was in shock.

Little did anyone know at the time but the scoring was done in regulation but featured plenty of big plays. Like the Huskies facing a crucial fourth and one at midfield and getting stuffed. Then Ryan Katz would over throw his receiver which was intercepted by Nate Fellner. The Beavers would then have the ball in the red zone. Facing a third and goal Katz tried to squeeze a pass in the end zone but true freshman Sean Parker would intercept the pass to keep the game tied at 21. The Huskies defense kept getting stops in the fourth but the Huskies offense couldn't do anything with it.

The Huskies essentially ran out the clock and sent the game to overtime. For only the second time in Husky Stadium history there would be an overtime game. The Huskies would win the toss and elected to be on defense first.

The Huskies forced the Beavers into a third and long situation but Ryan Katz found Rodgers for a 10 yard touchdown pass to give the Beavers their first and only lead of the game 28-21. The Beavers had scored 28 unanswered points. The Huskies appeared to have choked away another game. That's the thing about this 2010 Huskies team when you count them out they respond and they responded by some tough runs by Chris Polk setting up a third and two from the 17 yard line. Sarkisian calls a pass play and Locker hit Kearse who had one on one coverage on a slant to tie the game at 28. That would be Lockers fourth touchdown pass of the game and Kearse his third.

The Huskies in the second overtime would have the ball first. After a back breaking holding call which made the Huskies facing a second and 17 from the 21 yard line. Locker saw the blitz coming and threw the ball perfectly to Kearse who had a step on his man to left corner of the end zone for the touchdown to give the Huskies a 35-28 lead. That would be Lockers fifth touchdown pass of the game and for Kearse a record breaking fourth touchdown pass of the game.

Now the Beavers would have the ball and this is when the game really got interesting. Facing a third and 20 plus a crazy crowd at Husky Stadium Katz would hit Jordan Bishop for a 23 yard gain to silent the crowd. The Huskies would then stop Rodgers on back to back runs forcing a third and 11. Katz would hit Markus Wheaton for a 10 yard catch setting up a 4th and one from the three yard line. The Huskies expected a run to Rodgers so they loaded up to stop the run only the Beavers called a play action pass which Katz threw it to the end zone. The ball fell incomplete and the crowd was going nuts then a late flag came out calling pass interference on Desmond Trufant. That call was very reminiscent of the 2002 national championship game between Miami and Ohio State. Rodgers would score on a two yard run to make the game 35-34. The Beavers called timeout meaning they were going to go for two points and the win.

The Beavers head coach Mike Riley has faced this exact situation before. In 1998 the Beavers were heavy underdogs against the Huskies scored a touchdown with no time left to tie the game we all thought but instead Riley for two. The Beavers failed on the two point play and lost 35-34. Well trailing 35-34 Riley would go for two again. The Beavers were in a shotgun no running back set and Katz would hit an open Joe Halahuni who had caught the ball but then Cort Dennison dove to put a hand on the ball and the ball fell out. The Huskies won the game 35-34 in double overtime to improve to 3-3 and 2-1 in Pac-10 play.

Jake Locker has now bounced back three times this year after fans and media have written him off. Locker would end up 21 of 35 for 286 yards with five touchdowns and just one interception. Locker would also rush for 60 yards on 12 carries but have two fumbles. Kearse another guy who had a rough last two games bounced back greatly with nine receptions for 146 yards and four touchdowns. Chris Polk was getting shut down early on but he would grind out 105 yards on 25 carries(4.2 YPC).

The Beavers had a great game from their do everything running back Jacquizz Rodgers who had 140 yards on 32 carries(4.4 YPC) and three rushing touchdowns. Rodgers also had four receptions for 49 yards and a touchdown. Ryan Katz had a rough game throwing three picks after having thrown just one interception all year. Katz would finish 17 of 31 for 206 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions.

Last week was the low point in the Sarkisian era but this week is definately up there. The Huskies this time last year were 3-3 after beating Arizona in a wild game at home. Hopefully this year the Huskies don't go on a four game losing streak like we saw last year. The Huskies began the year with four of their first six games at home but now must finish with four of their last six on the road. Hopefully this is a game we look back on and saw that was the start of Husky football.

- The Linebacking play was amazing. Mason Foster was all over the field making big stops including a huge third down run by Katz. Foster would have 12 tackles on the day. Rodgers got his stats but he only had 4.4 YPC and didn't bust any long runs. Victor Aiyewa was also huge with seven tackles including three for a loss. Cort Dennison made some plays and made the game saving play at the end. This linebacking group I expected all year long to be a good group and by far they played their best game.

- The Huskies have to find a way to get Jesse Callier more involved in the game. Callier had just five carries for 20 yards. I don't know why Sarkisian got rid of the fly sweep when it appears to be so effective.

- The Huskies did a great job limiting the big plays. They didn't allow a pass over 30 yards all game and Rodgers had just one 20+ yard run which was 22 yards. I know I'm not setting the bar high but as you saw today when you make a team earn each and every point they could stall, or turn the ball over.

- Huskies defense has allowed just six points total in the last three 4th quarter games. Say what you want about the Huskies defense but all we ask of them is to keep the team in the game. They don't need to be great just be average and right now they are being average. Today they played good defense.

- The Huskies are now 3-3 and face a team next week that went from a possible loss to a possible win. The Arizona Wildcats will be missing star quarterback Nick Foles who is out 2-3 weeks. The Huskies hopefully can take advantage of that loss. The Huskies are now 3-0 after a loss, unfortunetly they are 0-2 after a win.

- Just like that Jake Locker has 13 passing touchdowns to just 4 interceptions. Not bad for a quarterback who everyone loves to be down on.

- D'Andre Goodwin was a receiver that caught 69 passes as a sophomore in 2008. Then last year had just 14 receptions and fell out of the rotation. Well with James Johnson regressing and Aguilar being injured the team has called on Goodwin. Goodwin today had 6 receptions for 75 yards and a touchdown. He has been big for the Huskies the last three games. While Johnson had two costly false starts. He has more false starts on the year(2) than receptions(1).

- Huskies must avoid dumb mental breakdowns. The Huskies had four false starts at home, blew two first half timeouts and blew another second half time out. We also saw a delay of game on a punt. These mistakes are unexcusable especially at home. The Huskies are lucky this didn't cost them the win.

- This win snaps the Oregon State strangle hold over the Huskies. If you look closely at those four wins in a row over the Huskies that they had it occured in 2004(1-10),2005(2-9) ,2006(Stanback got hurt that game), and 2008(0-12). So yes the Beavers have dominated the Huskies of late but quite frankly so has everyone. This is a new year and a new team.

Well guys this was a huge win for the Huskies after it appeared the dawgs had blown the game. I have to give them credit so far this year everytime me or anyone for that matter has counted them out they have bounced back. Now I'd like to see the Huskies do something they haven't done all year which is start a winning streak. Without Foles playing next week its very possible.

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