Monthly Archives: December 2010

Washington Shocks ‘Huskers, 19-7, Captures Holiday Bowl Crown

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The Huskies were happy to be in the Holiday Bowl, and they showed it.

Behind a powerful ground attack led by Jake & Chris Polk–along with a history-making performance by the defense–the Huskies manhandled the Nebraska Cornhuskers 19-7 en route to their first bowl victory since the 2001 Rose Bowl.

Polk ran for 177 yards on 34 carries and Jake added 83 yards rushing to cap a 268 yard team rushing performance against a shell-shocked Husker team. The Husky defense held a strong Nebraska rushing offense to a pedestrian 91 yards rushing on 41 carries, effectively shutting down a rushing attack that had gained 383 yards vs. the Huskies just 3 months prior.

Washington started off fast as the Huskies capitalized on a Alameda Ta’amu fumble recovery on the Huskers’ first possession of the game, leading to a short Chris Polk touchdown run and an early 7-0 lead. The short drive featured a 16 yard reception by Jake on the first play from scrimmage, a play that got the Huskies to inside the 5 yard line.

Leading 10-7 at the half, the Husky offense started the second half much like the first and marched 53 yards in just 4 plays, keyed by a 26 yard Jake to D’Andre Goodwin pass followed by a 25 yard touchdown burst by Jake to take a 17-7 lead. From there, the Husky defense took the reigns and rendered the Huskers ineffective the rest of the game, racking up sacks, tackles for loss, an interception and even the team’s first safety in 7 years, a 2-point score after holding was called in the endzone.

The redemptive win caps a fantastic finish by a 7-6 Washington team that reeled off 4 straight wins, a record that will have the Huskies finish 3rd place in the Pac-10. And, while there have been countless variations of the same question to Jake–’do you regret the decision to come back for your Senior year?’–the victory will help solidify the answer that hasn’t wavered from the start.

“There were some frustrating moments, but this is the best way I could go out. I couldn’t ask for anything better,” Jake said after the game. “And to see the program off this way…I’m going to be their biggest fan from here on out.”

The story-book ending to the season and Jake’s collegiate career was a fitting end for a player and a team that has symbolized perseverance over the last 2+ years. And, it appears Jake finished the main goal he made when he started with the program 5 years ago: to get the Huskies back to their winning ways and relevance in the Pac-10.

Jake finishes his Husky tenure second only to Cody Pickett in total passing yards, attempts, completions and touchdowns. He is first in total rushing yards by a quarterback in Washington’s long history.

A complete statistical recap of the Holiday Bowl can be found here.

Bowl Week: Jake, Huskies Prepare for Holiday Bowl vs. ‘Huskers

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With only 2 days remaining until kick off between the Washington Huskies and the #18 Nebraska Cornhuskers, the Huskies had their final practice as a team in San Diego, the location for the 2011 Bridgepoint Holiday Bowl. Wednesday’s team walk through is the only preparation left for Thursday night’s game.

Husky Coach Steve Sarkisian knows the task is tall and that Nebraska is more than a formidable opponent, but he is confident his team will play better this time around.

“Well, I think the biggest thing we’d like to do is at least put our best foot forward. The press conference after that game (56-21 loss), my major disappointment was the fact we just didn’t play very well.” Sarkisian said. “I can live with the fact they played a very good football game against us, but I’d just like to think we can play better than we did. To have that opportunity again is one that I think we’re embracing.”

For the team, getting to the Holiday bowl in Jake’s final season and winning the last 3 games are signs that the Washington Football program is making strides in getting back to competing at the top of the conference. But, more importantly, the reward of a bowl game for the seniors is fitting for a group who has worked through 4-5 years of challenging times.

“I’m thankful for our senior class, and I’ve said this numerous times that for everything they’ve been through – the adversity on the field, off the field, the ups, the downs, the coaching change and four and five years of it, and to what we went through this year – I’m appreciative of the fact they came to work every day with a great mindset and set a real tone for this football program as we move forward. This is a great reward for them to be able to play in a bowl game before their career was over, and they’ll always be part of this family.”

The Huskies, 6-6, were 3rd place in the competitive Pac 10 this year with a 5-4 league record, and Nebraska was runner up in their conference. Because both Oregon and Stanford made BCS bowls, Arizona and Washington were selected for the Alamo and Holiday Bowls and rounded out the conference bowl appearances for the season. Nebraska, on the other hand, lost to Oklahoma in the Big 12 championship game for the right to represent the conference in a BCS game, so at 10-3 they find themselves at the Holiday Bowl for a second consecutive year.

For a full preview of the game, you can visit the breakdowns from ESPN.com  or CBSSports.com. For more of a Hukser fan take, you can visit here.

The game will be televised live on ESPN and ESPN3.com at 7:00 p.m., Thursday Night from San Diego.

Jake Wins Guy Flaherty Award

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For the second year in a row Jake won the Washington Football Team “Guy Flaherty Award”, given to the most inpirational player on the team. The award, handed out every year at the team’s postseason banquet, is the program’s oldest and most prestigious award. Jake is only the 4th player in Husky history to receive the award twice, with the most recent being Jordan Reffett.

All of the awards and photos of the festivities can be viewed here.

Huskies Heading South for the Holiday

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In what was a highly anticipated announcement for the University of Washington and their fans, the Huskies were selected to play in the  Holiday Bowl vs. the Nebraska Cornhuskers, a December 30th contest that will act as a rematch of the two teams.

The Huskers (10-3) traveled to Seattle in September and beat the Huskies soundly, 56-21, so it will be another great opportunity to play what many consider a top-10 caliber team. Nebraska is currently ranked 18th in the country, and although the task is tall, Jake and the team are looking forward to proving they are better than their performance earlier in the year.

 ”I just think from anybody who plays sports and is competitive, anytime you have the opportunity to go out and improve on a performance or a game that you didn’t do your best in individually and as a group it’s always a good opportunity and it’s something that all competitors hope for, I think,” Jake said.

This is the second Holiday Bowl in a row for the Huskers, as they played the Arizona Wildcats last year. They won that game emphatically, 33-0. Conversely, the bowl game is the first for the Huskies since 2002, a loss suffered vs. Purdue in the Sun Bowl.

Nebraska is coming off a tough loss to Oklahoma, 23-20, in the Big 12 Championship game, while Washington won the Apple Cup against their rival WSU, 35-28, on Saturday.

Jake, Huskies Take Apple Cup; Bowl Game Awaits

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One of the main reasons Jake came back to play at UW for his senior year was to be able to enjoy a postseason bowl game with his teammates. After a 35-28 win in Pullman over the Washington State Cougars, that mission has been accomplished.

Jake hit Jermaine Kearse for a 27  yard touchdown pass on a picture perfect fade route with 44 seconds left to break a 28-28 tie, lifting the Huskies to their third consecutive victory and third place in the uber competitive Pac-10 conference. With the win Washington ends the regular season with a 6-6 record, qualifying them for their first bowl game in 8 years.

 ”It’s something I had always hoped I would enjoy before I left here and it’s awesome to be a part of,” Jake said of getting to a bowl game. “It could be in Seattle I don’t care. It’s something that will be cool to be a part of. And to be honest I don’t know what comes along with it or what it is all about but I’m looking forward to it.”

The Huskies were led by a history making performance from Chris Polk, a 29 carry, 284 yard outing that included a 57 yard touchdown jaunt and numerous lengthy runs that helped keep Washington ahead of a surging Washington State team. Polk’s biggest run may have come on 4th and 1 of the game-winning drive, a 15 yard burst that led the Huskies to the final touchdown.

Jake  finished the game with 14 of 22 passing for 226 yards and 2 touchdowns, and had 9 carries for 29 yards and a touchdown on the ground. He also had a highlight worthy, 77 yard touchdown dash called back on a holding penalty in the first half.

For the complete box score, click here.

The Huskies now await word on which bowl game they will be heading to and who they will be playing. The most likely scenarios have Washington being selected by either the Alamo Bowl or Holiday Bowl, games that will bring a top tier, Big 12 opponent.