The Washington Huskies celebrated homecoming with a 35-34 win over 24th. ranked Oregon St. Sarurday night, as Jake Locker threw for a career high and school record five touchdowns.
Oregon St. came in unprepared defensively, while Washington had mastered everything there was to learn from the Beavers' game against TCU. It didn't help that Ryan Katz, who reminded everyone of the dangers of an inexperienced quarterback, finally had a bad outing.
While Washington was walking up and down the field at will on their first three possessions building a 21-0 lead, Katz made at least five unforced major mistakes that squandered Oregon St.'s first three possessions.
Once Oregon St. woke up defensively and brought some pressure, Washington was slowed down, and with Jacquizz Rodgers finally on the field for some extended drives, the Beavers climbed back into the contest, pulling into a 21-21 tie three and a half minutes into the second half.But that was the end of the scoring in regulation. Oregon St. had Washington on the ropes, set up for the knockout, but never could deliver the big play to take command of the game. To the Huskies' credit, they weather the Beavers' comeback, and answered their challenges once the game went into overtime.
Jacquizz Rodgers (1) ran for 140 yards on 32 carries, and added 49 yards on 4 catches
for Oregon St. 'Quizz scored four touchdowns.
Washington's Jermaine Kearse (15) was a familiar sight in the end zone.
Kearse had 9 catches for 146 yards, and 4 touchdowns, repeatedly beating
out-matched Oregon St. coverage which left him in single coverage.
Oregon St. had the first possession of overtime, and Rodgers scored on a 10 yard pass from Katz to give the Beavers their first lead of the night at 28-21.
Locker answered with his third touchdown pass of the night to Jermaine Kearse, good from 17 yards out, and forcing a second overtime. In which Locker hooked up with Kearse again, this time from 21 yards out.
Rodgers pulled Oregon St. back within one point with his third rushing touchdown, and fourth of the game, after it had appeared Washington's defense had won the game, but for a pass interference penalty on Desmond Trufant in coverage on John Reese in the end zone.
But rather than kick the extra point, and force a third overtime, which would have been played on the end of the field that the Oregon St. band and fan section was located, Oregon St. coach Mike Riley called a time out, then opted to try to win the game with an all or nothing game.
The call in the low-percentage conversion attempt was a pass to TE Joe Halahuni, who had caught
only one pass in the game. Katz missed on the throw into the end zone, however, and the Washington fans exploded to celebrate their victory, which ended a 6 game Oregon St. winning streak in the series, and a 4 game streak of the Beavers beating the Huskies in Seattle.
It was the second time Riley gambled on a two point conversion at Husky Stadium, and in addition to failing both times, the final score was the same, 35-34, in 1998 as well.
Locker finished with 21 completions in 35 attempts, for 286 yards, and the five scores, and against only one interception.
Katz connected on only 17 of 31 attempts, and threw three interceptions in the process. All three were forced balls that had no chance to be completed, products of inexperience. Katz also attempted to make a number of plays with his feet, as had been the case the week before in OSU's win at Arizona St., and scored the Beavers' first touchdown running, but eventually suffered three sacks.
Ryan Katz (12) ran 11 times, but netted only 6 yards, after 3 sacks,
in addition to his 206 passing yards on a 17 of 31 night.
Rodgers finished with 140 yards on 32 carries, and the four touchdowns, while his counterpart, Chris Polk, rushed for 105 yards on 25 carries for the Huskies.
But in the end, it was Washington (3-3, 2-1) who pulled ahead of Oregon St. (3-3, 2-1) in the Pac-10 race with the win, on the strength of being the better prepared team on this night.
(Photos by Andy Wooldridge)