It’s a rare day when Jake Locker could be overshadowed on UW’s offense. But Chris Polk did that with a performance for the ages, rushing for 284 yards, second most in school history. And that was the focus of much of my post-game coverage in the Seattle Times.
But that shouldn’t take away from what was obviously a great moment for Locker, who came back to UW to lead the Huskies back to the post-season and finally got it done, throwing the winning TD pass to Jermaine Kearse with 44 seconds and also throwing for one other TD and running for another. And it was his run for a first down from deep in WSU territory on the final drive that set up the long Polk run that set up the TD.
And when it was over, Locker was understandably as happy as he’s been as a Husky. Pictured is his embrace with father, Scott, on the field afterward in a Dean Rutz photo.
Asked afterward what the game meant, Locker said: “I don’t really have words to explain how I feel right now. I’m just so proud to be part of this team and part of this program. I wouldn’t want to play with anyone else.”
Here’s some of what else he had to say afterward:
On all the close games UW has won this season and doing it again Saturday: “We had to keep you guys on your toes. We’ve done it the last couple weeks and we were just continuing the trend. But that’s why it’s so awesome to play with these guys, no matter what, coach told us there are going to be ups and downs and times they are making plays and we just need to stay the course and keep fighting to the end and that’s what we did and I really believe that’s why we were able to get these last three wins is that mentality and attitude. It’s really neat to be a part of something like that.”
On how UW has been able to win those close games: “You know in a lot of those games if we play a little more fundamentally sound and stuff throughout the course of the game we are not in those situations. But with all of that you get in those situations and for guys to execute as good as they have all game and make plays as well as they have all game in situations like that is paramount and it comes along with the attitude that this coaching staff has instilled in this program.”
On finally getting to a bowl: “It’s something I had always hoped I would enjoy before I left here and it’s awesome to be a part of.”
On the running game against WSU: “I think coming in we thought we could establish the line of scrimmage and if we were able to do that it would go a long way to us winning the game and it worked for us. The plays that coach Sark (Steve Sarkisian) was dialing up were successful and he was finding different ways of getting to them and I think the guys believed in what we were doing and Chris ran well and those guys up front, when you get a runner like Chris who is so special into the second level, that’s when he’s able to run for near 300 yards and I think it is a testament to both him as a running back and that offensive line the last three weeks has really stepped up. And coach told us in November you win by playing defense and running the ball and they’ve taken that upon themselves to do that and it’s awesome to see those guys have that confidence and tenacity.”
On Polk’s performance: “He always runs hard. That’s something we have become accustomed to every Saturday, But the difference today was we got him to the second level, we got him one-on-one with the safeties and corners, and he is such a powerful runner but he has a pretty good wiggle as well and you saw that on a couple of his runs that he made guys miss and he was able to get to the second level, and he can run, too. So he creates explosive plays when he gets to the second level and that’s why we were able to have so much success running the ball today.”
On the slant to Kearse for a TD in the third quarter: “It was just a route that he had. They brought pressure and played zero behind it and didn’t leave a safety in the middle of the field and it was a perfect call for us at that point at that point with what they had called and Jermaine ran a really good route to get separation and that was a big difference. He didn’t have the guy in his hip pocket and it was complete for six yards. He was patient at the line, got good release and was able to create separation so that when he caught the ball he was able to take it for a touchdown. It was a really well-executed play just like you draw it up.”
On Sarkisian and the fourth down plays: “He went for it on fourth down on the goal line and we had the miscue, we had the fumble and that’s on me on that one. And that goes a long ways, not just him having the confidence but to have it in us to say ‘okay, I know what happened last time but I believe you guys can do it again so let’s dial it up and have another shot at it.’ From a players’ standpoint you love when your coach trusts you like that and has faith in you like that and I think the players responded to that.”
On the Kearse touchdown that won the game: “It was a really good job by him going and getting the ball and keeping his feet in bounds. With a guy like Jermaine, especially on those kinds of routs, you just give him a chancce you always have a chance he will come down with it, and he had one on one coverage on that and I just thought I would give him the opportunity to make a play and that’s exactly what he did.”
On the bowl game: “It could be in Seattle I don’t care. It’s something that will be cool to be a part of. And to be honest I don’t know what comes along with it or what it is all about but I’m looking forward to it.”
December 5, 2010 at 1:43 AM
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