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Locker-mania spreads to D
Husky defense plays whale of a second half
Malamute, 1 September 2007

Preserving a 14-point halftime lead, Washington’s defense held Boise State scoreless in the second half to end its 14-game winning streak, the Huskies prevailing 24-10 at Husky Stadium. Freshman phenomenon Jake Locker ran for 84 yards and passed for 193 yards, completing 13 of 25 passes with 1 interception and 1 touchdown.

Although Locker’s final pass efficiency number, 122.05, was an acceptable number -- but not outstanding -- his running made all the difference in the first half. For example, UW took the opening kickoff and marched 78 yards on 12 plays, a drive capped by Locker’s 6-yard run for a touchdown. During that drive Locker had 4 rushes for 36 yards.

Speaking of pass efficiency, Louis Rankin took a pitch from Locker and completed a 16-yard touchdown pass to Quintin Daniels who was all alone in the end zone. That play, right out of the Broncos' trick-play repertoire, gave UW a 14-0 lead with 3:08 to go in the first quarter. As a matter of curiosity, Rankin’s pass efficiency was 564.40 on the game, this on 1 attempt for a 16-yard touchdown.

QB Taylor Tharp’s one-yard run narrowed Washington’s lead to 14-7 near the end of the first quarter.

But Washington extended its lead to 17-7 on Ryan Perkins’ 34-yard field goal in the second quarter.

Locker completed a 58-yard touchdown run-pass combination to Marcel Reece to give UW a 24-7 lead with 6:37 to go in the first half.

Kyle Brotzman’s 21-yard field goal made the final score of the game, 24-10.

Plain and simple, Washington did what it had to do to win. A conservative head coach (Tyrone Willingham), sitting on a 24-10 half-time lead, means conservative-second-half play calling, especially with a redshirt freshman quarterback running the offense.

Energized by Locker-mania, the Washington defense took charge in the second half, bending but not breaking, as the 22nd ranked Broncos attempted to get back into the game. Shutting down highly-acclaimed running back Ian Johnson, who was held to 81 yards rushing, stifled the offensive effort.

Washington’s speedy front seven put pressure on Broncos’ quarterback Taylor Tharp when it needed to, forcing him to hurry a few critical passes. He passed for 285 yards, on 23 of 47 passing with 3 interceptions and no touchdowns. His passing efficiency rating of 99.87 reflects the three interceptions.

And they were key to the outcome of the game.

In this effort, the Huskies much maligned secondary picked off 2 of the 3 passes. True freshman CB Vonzell McDowell intercepted Tharp at the Washington 2 with 2:40 remaining in the game. Earlier CB Roy Lewis, who played an outstanding game, intercepted Tharp at the UW 14 with 9:38 left.

In the second quarter, DE Greyson Gunheim picked Tharp on the Washington 15, ending a 9-play, 58-yard drive.

However, the Broncos blitzing defense gave Washington's offense fits in the second half, its sputtering offense dropping passes and failing to run the ball effectively. On his 8 rushes in the second half, Locker netted 58 yards, one of them going for 36 yards, a run that was stopped at the BSU 27. Three plays later, Locker was intercepted by Marty Tadman in the end zone.

Throw out the 36-yard run and Locker was held to 22 yards on 7 rushing attempts in the second half.

On another sour note, RB Louis Rankin accumulated just 45-yards rushing on the game. Locker’s effective running frees up Rankin, and that just didn’t happen in the second half. Rankin averaged just 2.6 yards per carry on 17 rushes for the game.

Rankin and Locker go together like purple and gold, an inseparable combo that depend on each other for synergism.

UW's conservative play calling didn't help matters. However, it's just as well the full play book still remains a mystery with Ohio State coming to town next week.

Like last year’s quarterback Isaiah Stanback, who led Washington to a 4-1 start last season, Locker posted most of the offensive numbers for the Huskies, 277 of the 342 total yards accumulated – that’s 81% of the offensive yards. 

This year’s team is far better than last year, however. Washington’s defense says it all. This was a game that could easily have been lost last season.

UW won time of possession 30:09 to 29:51. That’s huge, considering that the Broncos had the ball for a large part of the second half in their attempt to play catch up. 

It was an opportunistic defense that hit as viciously as the Huskies of yore, but this time in the Willingham hit mode, which means that after you knock a guy flat, you thank him for the opportunity, being the gentlemen the coach has taught you to be.

Not long ago, inspired by a Willingham pep talk to us boosters, alumni and fans, I told him later on, "Coach, you...are...a...winner," slowly emphasizing each word, being enamored with his character and his dedication to winning. In effect, he told me he had surprise up his sleeve for us alums.

He was talking about Locker-mania, with which he had already been smitten.

Now Locker-mania has spread to the defense; it's contagious. I've caught it, too.

Team 1 2 3 4 Total
BSU 7 3 0 0 10
UW 14 10 0 0 24

Time Team How Player (s) Score
1st qtr        
10:44 UW TD Jake Locker 6-yard run. Ryan Perkins kick. UW, 7-0
3:08 UW TD Louis Rankin 16-yard pass to Quintin Daniels. Perkins kick. UW, 14-0
1:24 BSU TD Tayor Tharp 1-yard run. Kyle Brotzman kick. UW, 14-7
2nd qtr
11:44 UW FG Perkins 34-yard boot. UW, 17-7
6:37 UW TD Locker 58-yard pass to Marcel Reece. Perkins kick. UW, 24-7
1:21 BSU FG Brotzman 21-yard kick. UW, 24-10

Statistic BSU UW
Total First Downs 21 16
  Rushing 6 7
  Passing 14 8
  Penalty 1 1
Total Net Yards 388 342
Net Yards Passing 285 209
Net Yards Rushing 103 133
Completions-att-int 29-47-3 14-26-1
Punts, yards, average 5-166, 33.2 6-240, 40.0
Times sacked (number, yards) 2-7 2-6
Kickoff Returns: number, yds, tds 5-108-0 3-42-0
Punt returns: number, yds, tds 2-8-0 1-5-0
Kickoff Yards 3-159 5-328
Interception returns: no., yds, tds 1-0-0 3-5-0
Penalties Yards 9-63 5-35
Fumbles: number/lost 2-1 2-1
Time of Possession  29:51 30:09

Passing cmp att yds tds int
Taylor Tharp 29 47 285 0 3
Jake Locker 13 25 193 1 1
Louis Rankin 1 1 16 1 0
BSU Rushing No. Yds tds long  
Ian Johnson 20 81 0 15  
Vinny Perretta 2 13 0 14  
Taylor Tharp 7 5 1 8  
Jeremy Avery 2 5 0 3  
Titus Young 1 -1 0 -1  
Washington Rushing No. yds tds long
Louis Rankin 17 45 0 10  
Jake Locker 16 84 1 36  
Paul Homer 3 7 0 4  
Brandon Johnson 2 3 0 3  
Team 2 -6 0 0  
BSU Pass Receiving No. yds tds long
Jeremy Childs 9 94 0 21
Vinny Perretta 4 44 0 25  
Austin Pettis 3 26 0 13  
Ian Johnson 3 14 0 7  
Julian Hawkins 2 20 0 16  
Chris O'Neill 2 17 0 14  
Richie Brockel 2 16 0 11  
Titus Young 1 43 0 43  
Toshi Franklin 1 9 0 9  
Sherm Blaser 1 5 0 5  
Jeremy Avery 1 -3 0 0  
Washington Pass Rec. No. yds tds long
Marcel Reece 4 102 1 58  
Anthony Russo 4 37 0 18  
Quintin Daniels 2 28 1 16  
Michael Gottlieb 2 19 0 12  
Corey Williams 1 19 0 9  
D. Goodwin 1 4 0 4  
Punting punts yds long Avg
Kyle Brotzman 1 32 32 32
Brad Elkin 4 134 42 33.5  
Jared Ballman 6 240 63 40  
Attendance: 70,000          

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

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