Notebook: Early fumble set tough tone
Washington receiver Craig Chambers felt too sick to look at the replay of his fumble at the 1-yard line in the first quarter that proved...
Seattle Times staff reporters
Washington receiver Craig Chambers felt too sick to look at the replay of his fumble at the 1-yard line in the first quarter that proved crucial in the Huskies' 36-17 loss to Notre Dame.
Tyrone Willingham had a different reaction after watching it.
"I laughed," the Washington coach said of the decision made by the officials to uphold the original call of a fumble after a review. "I saw it different. I thought he was down. But I'm biased."
The play was the most obvious example of a day when the Huskies didn't seem to get many breaks.
"No, we didn't," Willingham said.
Chambers caught an 11-yard pass from Isaiah Stanback and was struggling to get into the end zone when the ball was stripped by Notre Dame's Chinedum Ndukwe, who recovered the ball.
"I thought my knee was down and I guess it wasn't," Chambers said. "The next thing I know, it popped out."
Chambers said he couldn't bear to watch several replays shown on the big screen.
"I felt sick," he said. "I was trying to get my stomach back. I felt queasy. You can't fumble on the goal line like that."
Chambers recovered well enough to post one of his best statistical games. He caught five passes for 127 yards and one touchdown, a 41-yarder from back quarterback Johnny DuRocher with 2:26 left.
Marlon Wood and Mark Palaita each recorded milestones yesterday. The former made his first catch, the latter his first touchdown, but both wished the plays had come in a win so they could feel good about them.
Wood, a junior-college transfer receiver, made a 69-yard grab from Stanback in the second quarter on a play in which he lined up as a fullback, then went in motion to the outside and sprinted down the sideline. He stumbled a bit as he caught the pass, slowing enough to be tackled at the 8-yard line. Stanback threw an interception one play later on a pass in the end zone intended for Louis Rankin.
"I had to stretch out for it just a little bit," Wood said. "But it was a good ball. They called my number, and I wasn't going to mess it up."
Palaita is a senior walk-on fullback from Kennedy High School of Burien who has seen increasing playing time as the Huskies look for answers to their short-yardage running troubles. He scored on a 1-yard run in the fourth quarter.
"It was a great feeling for me," he said. "I just wish we would have gotten the W."
DuRocher settles in
DuRocher's touchdown to Chambers capped his first drive as a Husky quarterback. He had been ineligible the first three games of the season due to NCAA-transfer rules. DuRocher was shaky early, throwing one pass into the ground, but came back to throw the TD to Chambers on fourth down.
"It was good to get out there and play," said DuRocher, a graduate of Bethel High School of Spanaway who transferred from Oregon. "I don't know if I was rusty so much as I wanted to throw a touchdown on every throw and I got kind of jumpy. ... I'm really glad I got out there. Now if something happens and I have to step in, I'll be ready."
The Huskies appeared to suffer only one potentially serious injury, but it could be a big one. Cornerback Matt Fountaine left in the second half after apparently injuring his collarbone.
If it sidelines Fountaine, it would hit the Huskies hard at a thin position. Two cornerbacks were ruled ineligible, and UW's third cornerback was Durrell Moss, who only recently shifted to the position.
Defensive coordinator Kent Baer said the injury to Fountaine meant the Huskies couldn't use their pass defenses that feature an extra cornerback.
"We don't have enough guys," Baer said. "We're just trying to do what we can with our base group in the game."
Newport grad plays
Michael O'Hara, a senior walk-on wide receiver for the Irish who's from Newport High School in Bellevue, got in the game in the fourth quarter.
"It was a dream come true to play before family and friends," he said.
O'Hara had considered walking on at the UW, where three siblings and his mother attended, but said "being an O'Hara and being born on St. Patrick's Day, the Irish were calling as well."
O'Hara played quarterback as a junior at Newport and running back as a senior.
• Notre Dame's Darius Walker became the first Irish back to rush for more than 100 yards in the season's first four games.
• After going 0 for 9 on third-down conversions last week against Idaho, the Huskies converted their first two third downs yesterday, but went 0 for 8 the rest of the way.
• Notre Dame punted only once yesterday — on the final play of the game.
• Washington's 408 yards passing was the No. 7 passing game in school history. It was the most since the Huskies passed for 429 against UCLA on Nov. 2, 2002.
• With 560 yards of total offense yesterday, Notre Dame has gone over 500 yards in three of its four games this season. The Irish had 502 yards at Pittsburgh and 594 against Michigan State. From 1997 to 2004, Notre Dame went over 500 yards only five times.
• Chase Anastasio blocked a UW punt in the first quarter. He said coach Charlie Weis approached him during warmups and said the Huskies were ripe to have a punt blocked.
• With yesterday's 327 passing yards, Irish QB Brady Quinn moved into a three-way tie for second place on the school's list for most games passing for more than 250 yards. He is tied with Steve Beuerlein (1983-86) and Ron Powlus (1994-97) with eight. Jarious Jackson (1996-99) has nine.
Seattle Times staff reporter Craig Smith contributed to this report.
|Walker on the run|
|Darius Walker becomes the only Notre Dame player to rush for 100 or more yards in the first four games of a season:|
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