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Originally published November 10, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified November 10, 2007 at 11:16 PM

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Locker returns to stadium after neck injury

Washington Husky quarterback Jake Locker was hit hard on a scramble with 6:18 to go in the second quarter of UW's game with Oregon State in Corvallis tonight.

Seattle Times staff reporter

CORVALLIS, Ore. – The Washington Huskies lost a lot here tonight — most likely a fourth consecutive game to Oregon State and any last chance at a winning season and a bowl game, their stated goals.

All of that, though, didn’t seem to mean much after quarterback Jake Locker was taken off the field on a stretcher and placed in an ambulance after being injured.

Locker returned to the stadium in the fourth quarter wearing a neck brace.

Locker was hit in a helmet-to-helmet collision with Oregon State safety Al Afalava after a 5-yard scramble and landed on the turf face down. He stayed on the ground motionless as it became immediately apparent he was hurt.

Locker was attended to by UW trainers for about 15 minutes before being taken to Good Samaritan Hospital in Corvallis.

UW coach Tyrone Willingham said in his halftime radio comments that he could not confirm anything but noted that the team’s trainers “did the right thing’’ in taking “precautionary procedures.’’

Backup Carl Bonnell played the rest of the way in Locker’s absence and helped lead a third-quarter comeback that got the Huskies briefly back in the game aided by some sloppy play by the Beavers.

UW, which trailed 16-0 at halftime, cut the lead to 16-10 midway through the third quarter.

But OSU took advantage of a fumble by Louis Rankin that gave the Beavers the ball at the Husky 5-yard-line to blow the game open in the fourth quarter.

It was the fourth straight loss for the Huskies against the Beavers, the longest losing streak for UW in the 92-game history of the series.

The loss dropped UW to 3-7 overall. UW trailed 13-0 when Locker was injured.

He was attempting to pick up a third-and-six at midfield when he scrambled for five yards, being stopped at the 45-yard-line right in front of the UW bench.

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He was turned over on his stomach and his facemask was cut off and he was put on a stretcher and lifted into an ambulance after about 15 minutes.

UW teammates circled around Locker as doctors worked, many looking in shock at the sight of the team’s leader appearing to be seriously hurt.

Locker’s parents Scott and Anita moved down to the field, with Anita Locker hugging UW coach Tyrone Willingham as doctors worked on her son. Anita Locker rode in the ambulance with her son.

It was the second straight year a UW quarterback was injured against Oregon State. Last season, Isaiah Stanback suffered a foot injury that ended his UW career.

Locker had rushed for 17 yards on six carries at the time of his injury giving him 810 for the season, five yards shy of the Pac-10 modern-day record for most rushing yards in a season for a quarterback.

After a scoreless first quarter, the Beavers got on the board with the first of Alexis Serna’s four field goals. The senior entered the game 13-13 all-time against the Huskies and he hit three more in the second quarter.

His first came from 51 yards with 13:27 to go in the second quarter, and he hit another from 34 yards with 8:32 left to put OSU ahead 6-0.

Locker then threw three incomplete passes on deep routes forcing a punt. Oregon State’s Gerard Lawson blocked it and Dennis Christopher caught it on a bounce at the 7-yard-line and took a few steps and dove into the end zone for a touchdown to put the Beavers ahead 13-0.

Serna added another field goal for a 16-0 OSU halftime lead.

Serna added a 43-yard-field goal with 1:18 remaining to put the Beavers ahead 16-0.

The Husky offense, so explosive the previous week in racking up 539 yards at Stanford, struggled against an OSU defense that is statistically one of the best in the country.

UW was held to 78 yards on 35 plays in the first half in being held scoreless at halftime for the first time this season. UW showed life without their leader in the third quarter, however.

Bonnell scored on a 1-yard run with 8:29 to go in the third quarter following the fumble to cut the lead to 16-10.

The score came two plays after three players were ejected in an incident that typified the hard feelings that permeated the rest of the game following the injury to Locker.

Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or bcondotta@seattletimes.com.

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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