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Listless in Seattle
Locker plays sick with flu-like symptoms
Malamute, 9 October 2010

Controlling both sides of the line of scrimmage, the ASU Sun Devils dominated what seemed to be a defenseless, punch-less Washington Husky football team, 24-14, in a driving rainstorm at Husky Stadium.

The drenching downpour wasn't the only affliction affecting the Huskies and their fans.

According to Washington coach Steve Sarkisian, QB Jake Locker had battled flu-like symptoms all week and at times during the game -- playing ill -- had trouble catching his breath.  "We didn't get 100 percent of Jake Locker tonight, unfortunately," Sarkisian said.

Short of breath, Jake could barely run; he had but just 6-yards rushing on the game. The debilitating effects of his illness affected his throws, especially late in the game as he wore down. Besides being winded, Locker also had trouble getting to the outside because of the Sun Devils' lateral speed.

Sarkisian's game plan that had worked so well last week against USC was inhibited by Locker's inability to make plays on the run.

At one time during the game, the television broadcast showed the trainers giving Locker oxygen on the sidelines. He was still getting treatment in the locker room 40 minutes after the game, according to gohuskies.com.

Miraculously, Locker managed to complete 23 of 38 passes for 209 yards and one touchdown passing and another one running. He also threw one interception, a desperation heave on the Dawgs' last drive of the game. His pass efficiency on the game was 110.15.

"We lost the element of him running around there," Sarkisian was quoted as saying. "He'd run, and he couldn't get back his breath for the entire drive.

"I think I called three quarterback runs all night. Sure, I would have liked to get him out running more. ... (but) I needed him to play four quarters. I don't think he could have made it," Sarkisian added.

ASU's offense shredded the Husky defense in the first half, taking a 21-7 lead into the break, and when the Husky offense narrowed the lead to 21-14 in the fourth quarter, the ASU defensive front four dominated the Huskies' offensive line. The Huskies seemed defenseless in the first half and, when it counted, punch-less on offense in the fourth quarter.

Give ASU credit here.

ASU quarterback Steven Threet completed 21 of 34 passes for 288 yards and 2 touchdowns against one pick. His PE on the game was 146.45. 

For the most part, Threet had too much to throw while, on the other hand, Locker was under a severe pass rush for most of the night -- which accounts for their disparity in passing efficiency and, in part, for Washington's sluggish offense.

For example, after Cort Dennison's interception, the Huskies, down 21-14 at the 11:08 mark, went three and out starting from their own 30. In the final analysis, this was the Huskies' last hurrah as Thomas Weber connected on a 22-yard field goal on the Devils' next series to give them a 24-14 lead with 6:32 left on the clock.

For whatever it's worth:

-- Putting Jake Locker's poor showing against Nebraska in its proper perspective, note that Nebraska is leading the FBS in pass efficiency defense and pass defense. In their last game, the Cornhuskers husked and shucked previously unbeaten Kansas State, 48-13, at Manhattan, Kansas. How about Tony Martinez, who is out of Corona?

-- The Huskies need to do better on first down. Against the Devils, they either rushed or passed for three yards or less on 17 of the 26 first-down tries I counted. Twice on first down, Greg Christine was caught holding. One of them killed a drive that started at the ASU 23, and the other pushed the ball back to the ASU 45 from the 35. The Huskies managed to work the ball back to the ASU 30 -- five yards short of a first down -- from where they attempted and missed a 47-yard field goal.

-- Although it's unfair to compare Locker with an accomplished passer like Phillip Rivers, who is one of the best passers in the NFL, I've noted that when running to the left, Lockers throws much better than Rivers, who seems too wooden at times. Yes, Locker and his considerable tools have a place in the NFL. 

-- When given time to throw on rhythm, Locker can be an effective passer from the pocket. He needs a better offensive line to buy him more time, this being old hat with the Dawgs over the last six seasons. Play it again, Sam.

-- I was impressed with ASU's freshman DT Nduka Onyeali, who is out of Denver, Colorado. When the Dawgs begin to recruit defensive linemen like him from out of state, they will have turned the corner defensively. ASU coach Dennis Erickson knows how to win ball games. It starts up front.

-- The bottom line: When a team is being outplayed on both sides of the line of scrimmage, having the expectation that one player had he not been ill would have saved the day, borders on the phantasmagorical.

See Bob Condotta's article for a full report of the game.


Team 1 2 3 4 Total
ASU 14 7 0 3 24
Washington 7 0 0 7 14

Time Team How Player (s) Score
1st qtr        
6:32 ASU TD Steven Threet 4-yard pass to Gerell Robinson; Thomas Weber kick. ASU, 7-0
1:57 UW TD Jake Locker 2-yard run; Erik Folk boot. Tie, 7-7
:01 ASU TD Threet 1-yard run Weber kick. ASU, 14-7
2nd qtr
0:19 ASU TD Threet 20-yard pass to Mike Willie; Weber kick. ASU, 21-7
4th qtr
14:22 UW TD Locker 15-yard pass to D'Andre Goodwin; Folk kick. ASU, 21-14
6:32 ASU FG Weber 22-yarder. ASU, 24-14


Statistics ASU UW
Total First Downs 21 21
  Rushing 6 7
  Passing 14 12
  Penalty 1 2
Total Net Yards 387 354
Net Yards Passing 288 209
Net Yards Rushing 99 145
Completions-att-int 21-34-1 23-39-1
Punts, yards, average 3-103; 34.3 3-139; 46.3
Sacks by (number, yards) 3-10 3-16
Kickoff Returns: number, yds, tds 3-58-0 5-112-0
Punt returns: number, yds, tds 2-30-0 0-0-0
Kickoff Yards 5-303 3-179
Net Yards per kickoff 38.2 40.3
Average yards per kickoff 60.6 59.7
Touchbacks (kickoffs) 0 0
Third-down conversions 7 of 15 5 of 14
Interception returns: no., yds, tds 1-0-0 1-10-0
Penalties, no., Yards 4-31 5-55
Fumbles; number/lost 1-0 1-0
Time of Possession  28:04 31:56

Passing cmp att yds tds int
Steven Threet (146.45 21 34 288 2 1
Jake Locker (110.15) 23 38 209 1 1
Jesse Callier 0 1 0 0 0
ASU Rushing No. yds tds long  
Kyle Middlebrooks 7 58 0 22  
Cameron Marshall 12 41 0 11  
Deantre Lewis 5 16 0 8  
Steven Threet 9 0 1 7  
Team 4 -16 0 0  
Washington Rushing No. yds tds long
Jake Locker 11 6 1 14  
Chris Polk 18 110 0 37  
Jesse Callier 3 20 0 12  
Cody Bruns 1 0 0 0  
Team 1 -1 0 0  
ASU Pass Receiving No. yds tds long
Mike Willie 5 96 1 40  
Kerry Taylor 4 53 0 21  
Deantre Lewis 3 53 0 26  
A. J. Pickens 2 31 0 18  
Kyle Middlebrooks 2 14 0 9  
Gerell Robinson 2 14 1 10  
Trevor Kohl 1 15 0 15  
T. J. Simpson 1 7 0 7  
Jamal MIles 1 5 0 5  
Washington Pass Rec. No. yds tds long
Jordan Polk 3 40 0 18  
Jermaine Kearse 6 47 0 16  
Chris Polk 3 20 0 13  
D'Andre Goodwin 8 78 1 22  
Jesse Callier 3 24 0 12  
ASU No. yds avg long tb
Trevor Hankins 3 103 34.3 43 0
Kiel Rasp 3 139 46.3 51 0
Attendance: 65,685          

Richard Linde, aka Malamute can be reached at malamute@4malamute.com

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