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.