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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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+.