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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Not long ago, inspired by a
Willingham pep talk to us boosters, alumni and fans, I told him later
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.