Huskies live to face another day
By hanging on against Oregon State, Washington can still think about bowl games
Seattle Times staff reporter
Washington @ Arizona,
7:15 p.m., ESPN
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The Washington Huskies went deep into the night to live another day.
But finally, at 10:59 p.m. — after three hours and 32 minutes of football and enough intrigue to fill a James Bond movie — the Huskies got one of their most memorable victories in years, outlasting Oregon State 35-34 in double overtime.
It could be one of UW's most meaningful triumphs in years. A critical victory to keep bowl hopes alive with UW playing four of its last six on the road.
"Times get hard in seasons and the teams that are good are the ones that respond," UW linebacker Cort Dennison said. "They aren't the ones that hold their heads down and let things happen to them, they are the ones that throw punches back, and that's what we did."
Dennison said it was that same throw-a-punch mentality UW used in facing the game's final play when OSU decided to go for two in the second overtime. The play meant an end, one way or another, to a game in which UW took a 21-0 lead in the first 20 minutes, then saw OSU tie it at 21 early in the third quarter.
"I wanted them to go for two," said Dennison, who was the defender when the Beavers failed on that two-point conversion. "That's a challenge for the defense."
UW opened the second overtime by scoring on a 21-yard pass from Jake Locker to Jermaine Kearse. For Locker, it was his fifth touchdown pass, tying a school record set by Chris Rowland in 1973. For Kearse, it was his fourth TD reception, setting a UW record.
OSU responded with a 2-yard run by Jacquizz Rodgers following a controversial pass interference penalty on UW's Desmond Trufant on a fourth down incomplete pass that initially sent Husky players rushing onto the field in celebration.
After Rodgers' fourth touchdown of the game, OSU coach Mike Riley initially sent his PAT team on the field to force a third overtime. Then he called time out and changed his mind.
"I just thought we had the right play, we're on the road, and I thought that they were pretty hot (offensively)," Riley said. "I thought we were having a hard time with them and so we thought we could win the game right there."
It was reminiscent of a call Riley made in a 1998 game at Husky Stadium when OSU scored on the last play of regulation. At that time, Riley decided to go for two rather than force overtime and UW's Nigel Burton knocked the ball away to preserve a 35-34 UW victory.
Saturday, it was Dennison's turn to play hero.
The UW middle linebacker watched as OSU came out with an empty set, with only OSU quarterback Ryan Katz in the backfield.
"They spread everyone out wide so my first instinct, they are on the 2-yard line, is they might run a draw," Dennison said. "Katz had been scrambling the whole game. (But) I kind of got up there and realized he wasn't going to take off and then I saw No. 87 (OSU H-back Joe Halahuni) run a little go route and I just did anything I could to make him not catch it. "
Dennison acknowledged he might not have touched the ball. But he got his hands involved enough to make it a tough catch, and Halahuni let the ball slip out of his hands as he fell to the turf.
It was fitting that a defensive play ultimately won the game for UW as the Husky defense had its best performance of the season. UW held OSU to just 299 yards in regulation — the lowest total of the season.
And despite the fits and starts of the first half of the season, the result proved to Washington coach Steve Sarkisian that the Huskies remain on the right track.
"One thing we talked about as a (coaching staff) when (we) came together after a loss last Sunday was believing what you are doing," Sarkisian said. "We run schemes on both sides of the ball that have withstood the test of time and let's not panic. Let's just continue to get better and what should happen is you get better from week to week to week."
• UW will play at Arizona on Saturday night at 7:15. The Wildcats likely will be without starting quarterback Nick Foles, who is reported to be out two to three weeks after suffering a dislocated kneecap in a 24-7 victory Saturday at Washington State.
Sam and Sara Lucchese create handmade pasta out of their kitchen-garage adjacent to their Ballard home. Here, they illustrate the final steps in making pappardelle pasta.