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A legacy Apple Cup for Locker and the Prez, 'IE' Polk
Reverberations heard from Ferndale to the Inland Empire
Malamute, 4 December 2010

Jake Locker, who passed for 226 yards and 2 touchdowns, while running for another, combined with Chris Polk, who ran for 284 yards and 2 touchdowns, to lead the Washington Huskies to a 35-28 victory over the Washington State Cougars in the Apple Cup, overcoming sub-freezing temperatures and a number of Washington mistakes in the Palouse.

With the score knotted at 28 with 4:20 to go, Locker, fashioning one of his famous last-gasp drives -- this one going 88 yards on 9 plays -- completed a 27 yard touchdown pass to Jermaine Kearse to take a 35-28 lead. With 44 seconds left and the ball on its own 10, WSU managed 6 plays for 20 yards, with Nate Fellner intercepting a Jeff Tuel desperation heave to end the game.

On the legacy drive, Chris Polk posted 61 yards rushing on 6 carries.

Along with confounding the Cougars' rushing defense, Polk also flummoxed another national TV audience, with no explanation by the announcers, by flexing the muscles of his right arm and proudly displaying the letters IE tattooed on the inside of his right biceps. He's the best running back to come out of the Inland Empire (IE) since Norco's Toby Gerhart. Next year, Polk will be joined in the backfield by Deontae Cooper who is out of Perris and the IE.

With its 6-6 record on the season (5-4 Pac-10), Washington is bowl eligible and will likely play in the Holiday Bowl, its first bowl game since 2002.

The most athletic quarterback ever to play for the Huskies, Locker spurned the NFL at the end of last season to play another year at Washington, with the express goal of leading the Huskies from the gates of hell -- a 0-12 season in 2008 -- to a bowl game in 2010. Mission accomplished. Add this one to his legacy, among a myriad of his other achievements.

Playing with a broken rib, the gutsy UW quarterback completed 14 of 22 passes for 226 yards, 2 touchdowns and 1 interception. His impressive passing efficiency on the game, 170.84, raises his career PE to 119.78 (see Figure 1 below).

On Washington's first drive, Locker bolted 77 yards down the right sidelines, only to have his apparent touchdown run nullified by a holding penalty. Just the same, the Huskies marched 98 yards in 16 plays to take a 7-0 lead.

In the second quarter, Jake raced 7 yards for a touchdown to give UW a 14-0 lead, which was set up by a fake punt by Kiel Rasp, who completed a 30-yard pass to Kearse on a fourth and seven at the Cougar 37.

UW had so many chances to put the game on ice, pun intended. (For example, angry Wazzu fans, threw water bottles and snowballs from the stands, and one small skirmish broke out, but no players were involved.)

With the Dawgs up 14-0, an errant Locker pass in the end zone was intercepted by Deone Bucannon near the end of the first half. The Cougars then marched 80 yards to close the gap to 14-7 at halftime, nullifying what could have been a 21-point lead for the Huskies.

The last drive was one for the books, Jake overcoming a second and 21, after a dead ball foul moved the ball back from the Cougars' 12 to their 27, with his TD pass to Kearse.

For the nuts and bolts of the win, see Bob Condotta's story in the Seattle Times.

For Cougar fans only. The meaning of our headline, "A legacy Apple Cup for Locker and the Prez, 'IE' Polk."

-- Prez: Chris Polk shares the same surname as James Polk, the eleventh president of the United States.

-- IE: pun on "i. e.," which means "that is," as well as "Inland Empire," which consists of Riverside and San Bernardino counties. Polk matriculated from East Valley Redlands, which is located in Riverside County.

Figure 1. Locker's improvement in career passing efficiency over his last 24 games. (104.68 - 119.78). Call it the Sarkisian/Nussmeier effect. Note the two dips in stats after the game against Nebraska (ranks number 2 in FBS football in pass efficiency defense) and after the OSU game (injury to ribs).

 

Team 1 2 3 4 Total
Washington 7 7 7 14 35
WSU 0 7 7 14 28


Time Team How Player (s) Score
1st qtr        
2:06 UW TD Chris Polk 2-yard run; Erik Folk kick. UW, 7-0
2nd qtr        
6:42 UW TD Jake Locker 7-yard run; Folk kick. UW, 14-0
0:28 WSU TD Jeff Tuel 5-yard pass to Jared Karstetter; Andrew Furney boot. UW, 14-7
3rd qtr
13:32 UW TD Locker 66-yard pass to Jermaine Kearse; Folk kick. UW 21-7
5:53 WSU TD Tuel 14-yard pass to Dan Blackledge. Furney kick. UW 21-14
4th qtr
13:18 UW TD Polk 57-yard run; Folk kick. UW, 28-14
8:46 WSU TD Tuel 1-yard run; Furney kick. UW, 28-21
4:26 WSU TD Tuel 16-yard pass to Marquess Wilson; Furney boot. T, 28-28
0:44 UW TD Locker 27-yard pass to Jermaine Kearse; Folk kick. UW, 35-28

 

Statistics UW WSU
Total First Downs 19 22
  Rushing 13 10
  Passing 6 11
  Penalty 0 1
Total Net Yards 571 408
Net Yards Passing 256 298
Net Yards Rushing 315 110
Completions-att-int 15-23-1 25-36-1
Punts, yards, average 5-227; 45.4 7-330; 47.1
Sacks by (number, yards) 5-19 0-0
Kickoff Returns: number, yds, tds 4-72-0 5-101-0
Punt returns: number, yds, tds 4-21-0 3--2-0
Kickoff Yards 4-407 5-315
Net Yards per kickoff 47.7 44.6
Average yards per kickoff 67.8 63.0
Touchbacks (kickoffs) 1 1
Third-down conversions 4 of 13 4 of 13
Interception returns: no., yds, tds 1-0-0 1-0-0
Penalties, no., Yards 12-100 7-55
Fumbles; number/lost 4-1 2-0
Time of Possession  30:44 29:16

Passing cmp att yds tds int
Jeff Tuel (162.66) 25 35 298 3 1
           
Washington          
Jake Locker (170.84) 14 22 226 2 1
Kiel Rasp 1 1 30 0 0
           
Cougars Rushing No. yds tds long  
James Montgomery 12 78 0 19  
Jeff Tuel 16 25 1 16  
Logwone Mitz 4 11 0 6  
Chantz Staden 1 -1 0 0  
Dan Blackledge 1 -3 0 0  
           
Washington Rushing No. yds tds long
Jake Locker 9 29 1 10  
Chris Polk 29 284 2 72  
Jesse Callier 2 7 0 4  
Kevin Smith 1 -3 0 0  
Team 1 -2 0 0  
           
WSU Pass Receiving No. yds tds long
Jared Karstetter 8 71 1 19  
Dan Blackledge 7 132 1 32  
Marquess Wilson 4 38 1 16  
Isiah Barton 4 32 0 15  
James Montgomery 2 25 0 19  
           
Washington Pass Rec. No. yds tds long
Devin Aguilar 1 14 0 14  
Jermaine Kearse 6 178 2 66  
D'Andre Goodwin 3 29 0 12  
Chris Polk 2 18 0 9  
D'Andre Goodwin 3 29 0 2  
           
Punting        
WSU No. yds avg long IN20
Reid Forrest 7 330 47.1 57 2
           
Washington          
   
Kiel Rasp 5 227 45.4 63 2
           
Attendance: 30,157          

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

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