Huskies keep bowl hopes alive
Locker plays final home game
SEATTLE — Jake Locker scored on a 3-yard run in the first half, and Quinton Richardson returned an interception 28 yards for a touchdown with 6:22 left to help Washington keep its fledgling bowl hopes alive with an ugly 24-7 win over UCLA on Thursday night.
With Locker trying to protect a cracked rib, the Huskies (4-6, 3-4 Pac-10) turned to the combo of running back Chris Polk and freshman Jesse Callier. Polk carried 25 times for a career-high 138 yards and capped the second-best night of his career with a 2-yard TD plunge with 4:24 left.
Callier added 110 yards as the Huskies ran for a season-high 253 yards against the Bruins (4-6, 2-5).
Erik Folk kicked a 27-yard field goal on the first possession of the second half to give Washington a 10-7 lead. That remained in jeopardy until Richardson stepped in front of Darius Bell’s pass.
Playing a prime-time Thursday game, the Huskies broke out all-black uniforms for the first time in school history, even going as far as painting the end zones of Husky Stadium black.
They might want to consider doing it again.
In the final home game of his career, Locker was just 10 of 21 passing for 68 yards and an interception. He carried just four times for 9 yards as Washington coach Steve Sarkisian tried to protect the quarterback’s tender ribs that kept him on the sideline Nov. 6 against Oregon.
Locker left to a huge ovation with 2 minutes remaining, replaced by freshman Keith Price.
But Washington’s run game did more than enough to the Huskies’ bowl hopes alive. Washington need to win at California on Nov. 27 and in the Apple Cup at Washington State on Dec. 4 to get the six wins needed to become bowl eligible.
Meanwhile, UCLA’s hopes of going to a bowl game for the second straight season took a major hit. The Bruins close at Arizona State and at home against USC, needing to win both to get six victories.
For the moment, UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel would simply like a quarterback that can run a functional offense. Starter Richard Brehaut went to the bench midway through the third quarter after an awful incompletion that ended a Bruins drive at midfield.
It was unclear if Brehaut was benched or if he had been injured.
He was replaced by Bell, who had no previous playing experience. More of a running threat, Bell threw only three passes, the last one intercepted by Richardson. It was Washington’s first interception return for a touchdown since Mason Foster’s game-winning return against Arizona last season.
In his final home game, Foster continued his tremendous senior season with 14 tackles.
After throwing his interception, Bell was then replaced by Clayton Tunney as Neuheisel continued his revolving door of QBs. Tunney nearly threw an interception on his first pass and two throws later was picked off by safety Nate Fellner.
The trio of Bruins quarterbacks combined to go 6 of 25 with three interceptions. UCLA’s offense, which rumbled for 97 yards in the first quarter behind the running of Johnathan Franklin, finished with just 163 total yards.