Locker excels as Huskies rout Syracuse in season opener, 42-12
Incredibly, the expectations for Jake Locker, and the immediate impact he could have on the Washington Huskies, might have been too low.
Seattle Times staff reporter
SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Incredibly, the expectations for Jake Locker, and the immediate impact he could have on the Washington Huskies, might have been too low.In what has to rank as one of the most impressive first games for a UW quarterback, if not recent college football, Locker led the Huskies to a 42-12 win Friday night over the host Orange in front of 40,329 at the Carrier Dome. Once Locker overcame some early jitters, he showed just why there had been so much excitement over a debut some were calling the most-anticipated in school history. The redshirt freshman from Ferndale rushed for 83 yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries, and completed 14 of 19 passes for 142 yards after misfiring on his first three attempts in expertly conducting an offense redesigned to take advantage of his talents. And while it was a debut for Locker, it might have been a rebirth for the Huskies, who finally seem to have legitimate reason for long-term hope after three straight losing seasons. The one caveat is that Syracuse might simply be bad -- the Orange is picked to finish last in the Big East and looked the part with a sloppy performance. Still, the Huskies dominated in a fashion that few could have foreseen, with Locker hardly alone in doing the damage. Senior running back Louis Rankin had one of his best games as a Husky, rushing for 147 yards on 17 carries and three touchdowns (13, 47 and 20 yards). The defensive line dominated, recording five sacks through the first three quarters. The young secondary didn't allow a gain of more than 16 yards in the first half. And punter Jared Ballman and kicker Ryan Perkins were flawless in their debuts. It gave the Huskies just their second win in an opening game since 2001, and their first on the road since 1998. It started somewhat inauspiciously, however, as the Huskies went three-and-out the first two times they had the ball. Locker, appearing a bit anxious in his first game since leading Ferndale to the 2005 Class AAA title at the Tacoma Dome, missed on his first three passes, one underthrown and two overthrown. Syracuse, meanwhile, scored on its first drive, getting a 42-yard field goal from Patrick Shadle.
Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company
UPDATE - 10:18 PM
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