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Jake, fans, Dawgs jobbed
Malamute, 6 September 2008

Washington quarterback Jake Locker raced into the end zone from 3-yards out with just 2 seconds remaining on the clock, to bring the Huskies within one point of BYU, 28-27.

So what could go wrong?

Answer: An excessive celebration call against Locker.

After scoring, he tossed the ball over his shoulder to free his hands to greet his teammates, which resulted  in a 15-yard excessive celebration penalty. That took the option away from head coach Tyrone Willingham of going for a two-point conversion and an almost certain win. Instead, BYU's Jan Jorgenson blocked Ryan Perkinsí extra point attempt from 35 yards out to win the game.

Overtime or a two point conversion, that is the question.

It wouldnít have made any sense to take a high-scoring machine like BYU into overtime, assuming the penalty hadnít been called, especially considering UW's flaky defense.  Instead, down by one, Willingham could have gone for two-point conversion with Locker, calling for a sprint-out pass/run option, with a run into the end zone or a dump off to tight end Kavario Middleton at the back of the end zone. Like Locker, Middleton has great athleticism. One of them would have certainly put two points on the board to secure a 29-28 win.

Call me a disgruntled fan.

Instead, what would have been a chip shot for a try for point was turned into what amounted to a 35-yard field-goal attempt--which resulted in a blocked kick. BYU is good at that, having beaten UCLA in the Las Vegas bowl last year, 17-16, with a blocked field-goal attempt. The launch angle on the ball changes from 35-yards out as opposed to a 20-yard boot for a normal try for point. It also requires more leg and a cleaner hit on the ball.

The excessive-celebration call, in my opinion, was iffy at best and down-right tragic at its worst. It robbed the 64,611 fans in attendance at Husky Stadium of an exciting overtime finish or, put another way, robbed the Huskies of a two-point conversion attempt, which almost certainly would have won the game on Lockerís feet or Middletonís hands.

The result of that critical, "judgment" call was another nail in Willingham's coffin. He needs six wins to stay alive and faces Oklahoma next week. If he loses to Oklahoma that means he'll need to win six of his remaining nine games, which feature treacherous games on the road against USC and Cal.

No one will remember how the Huskies lost to BYU, for they donít put an asterisk behind a loss or put one inside a coach's file to indicate a moral victory.

Most certainly, the NCAA will change the excessive celebration rule before next season begins, to prevent the high-jacking of any more games, especially from such a deserving team as the down-trodden Washington Huskies. Call the new rule to be: the "Locker rule."

It's hard to blame the referee throwing the flag; caught up in the excitement of the game, he reacted immediately, as he's been instructed to react. In all reality, it's a bad rule, and has been since its inception. 

Did the bad rule make Locker the goat of the game?

Jake wasn't showing off; he didn't need to give himself a high five; he sells tickets to the games, sells recruits on UW and pitches peanuts and popcorn in the stands. On the field, he's Hugh McElhenny, Don Heinrich and Arnie Weinmeister morphed into one.

It seemed to me he was just freeing his arms to greet his teammates, but he couldn't with the ball in his hands -- it was in his way. It had to go somewhere, and, in close quarters, his teammates were beginning to mob him. Locker meant no disrespect to BYU.

How high is high?

Note: Rule 9, Section 2, Article 1 of the NCAA rule book says throwing the ball high in the air constitutes an unsportsmanlike penalty.

In my opinion, the ball wasn't thrown high enough in the air; that's why I think it was a judgment call. However, the referee involved in the play said it was not a judgment call and had to be called. Most experts will probably agree with him.

After the game, Tyrone said it could have been a no-call.

On Spirit's shoulder injury: With the Dawgs' Spirit broken, it is just another burden to shoulder.

Now for the rest of the story.

Washington's defense was hapless again, for a second week in a row, this time giving up 457 total net yards to BYU. In its first two games, the defense has surrendered 953 yards; last season at this time, the Huskies had given up 595 yards, in games against Syracuse and Boise State, and were 2-0 on the season.

The Dawgs failed to put a rush on Cougar quarterback Max Hall, who, seemingly had all day to throw. Hall completed 31 of 40 passes for 338 yards and three touchdowns against one interception.

Harvey Unga, who seemed unstoppable, ran 23 times for 136 yards, averaging almost 6 yards per carry. The Cougars' Unga also caught five passes for 39 yards.

The Dawgs posted a tepid 337 yards of total offense, and, in their first two games have racked up an anemic total of 579 yards. Last year, after two games, they had posted 832 total yards.

Locker was mostly sensational, however. He completed 17 passes out of 32 attempts for 204 yards and 1 touchdown, a 48-yard pass to Jermaine Kearse. He also ran for 62 yards and 2 touchdowns on 18 attempts. His passing efficiency, though, was an anemic 116.99. That stat needs to improve. For example, Hall's PE was 161.69.

The rest of the team ran for 65 yards on 17 attempts, averaging 3.8 yards per carry. David Freeman ran 6 times for 30 yards and looked good doing so, demonstrating excellent vision and an ability to change direction.

Give the offensive line a C+ and the defensive line an F+.

Team 1 2 3 4 Total
BYU (2-0) 7 7 7 7 28
UW (0-2) 7 7 7 6 27

Time Team How Player (s) Score
1st qtr        
09:38 BYU TD Max Hall 38-yard pass to Austin Collie; Mitch Payne kick. BYU, 7-0
03:24 UW TD Jake Locker 14-yard run: Ryan Perkins kick. Tie, 7-7
2nd qtr
10:38 UW TD Jake Locker 48-yard pass to Jermaine Kearse; Perkins kick. UW, 14-7
04:18 BYU TD Hall one-yard pass to Andrew George; Payne kick. Tie, 14-14
3rd qtr
07:38 UW TD Luke Kravitz one-yard run; Perkins kick. UW, 21-14
04:17 BYU TD Fui Vakapuna 11-yard run; Payne kick. Tie, 21-21
4th qtr
03:31 BYU TD Max Hall 15-yard pass to Dennis Pitta; Payne kick. BYU, 28-21
0:02 UW TD Jake Locker 3-yard run; PAT blocked BYU, 28-27

Statistic BYU UW
Total First Downs 25 22
  Rushing 6 11
  Passing 19 10
  Penalty 0 1
Total Net Yards 475 337
Net Yards Passing 338 204
Net Yards Rushing 137 133
Completions-att-int 30-41-1 17-32-0
Punts, yards, average 2-55; 27.5 5-239; 47.8
Sacks by (number, yards) 4-33 0-0
Kickoff Returns: number, yds, tds 4-94-0 5-96-0
Punt returns: number, yds, tds 2 0
Kickoff Yards 5-310 5-319
Touchbacks 0 1
Interception returns: no., yds, tds 0-0-0 1-0-0
Penalties Yards 7-60 4-25
Fumbles: number/lost 2-1 1-0
Time of Possession  31:04 28:56

Passing cmp att yds tds int
Max Hall 30 41 338 3 1
Jake Locker 17 32 204 1 0
BYU Rushing No. Yds tds long  
Harvey Unga 23 136 0 15  
Fui Vakapuna 2 15 1 11  
Team 3 -14 0 0  
Washington Rushing No. yds tds long
Jake Locker 18 62 2 17  
Chris Polk 6 15 0 4  
Willie Griffin 2 14 0 11  
Paul Homer 1 6 0 6  
Jordan Polk 1 6 0 6  
Luke Gravitz 1 1 1 1  
David Freeman 6 30 0 9  
BYU Pass Receiving No. yds tds long
Dennis Pita 10 148 1 29
Michael Reed 7 55 0 10  
Austin Collie 5 74 1 38  
Harvey Unga 5 39 0 15  
Luke Ashworth 1 14 0 14  
Reed White 1 7 0 7  
Andrew George 1 1 1 1  
Washington Pass Rec. No. yds tds long
D'Andre Goodwin 5 83 0 25  
Kevario Middleton 4 30 0 9  
Jermaine Kearse 2 54 1 48  
Jordan Polk 2 20 0 12  
David Freeman 2 11 0 8  
Paul Homer 1 6 0 6  
Chris Polk 1 0 0 0  
Punting punts yds long Avg
CJ Santiago 2 55 31 27.5
Jared Ballman 5 239 64 47.8  
Attendance: 64,611          

Richard Linde (a.k.a., Malamute) can be reached at malamute@4malamute.com

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