Dec. 5, 2009
SEATTLE -- Jake Locker made what could be his Washington farewell a memorable one, throwing for three touchdowns and running for two more, and the Huskies closed out their redemptive first season under Steve Sarkisian with a 42-10 win over No. 19 California.
He started with a 40-yard TD pass to Jermaine Kearse on Washington's first drive, then added touchdown runs of 19 and 2 yards in the second quarter as the Huskies jumped to a 21-3 lead and were never challenged.
Locker added TD throws in the third quarter of 21 yards and 13 yards to Devin Aguilar and the Huskies (5-7, 4-5) made an impressive final statement against a bowl-bound Cal (8-4, 5-4).
Washington could have found itself playing for bowl eligibility if not for a series of late-game struggles and close losses on the road at Notre Dame, Arizona State and UCLA. Still, the five victories a year after going winless made Washington just the 11th Football Bowl Subdivision team since 1946 to accomplish that feat.
Locker was the catalyst, completing 19 of 23 passes for 248 yards and exposing Cal's secondary. He also ran 14 times for 77 yards. Chris Polk added 94 yards rushing and a touchdown for Washington. Kearse had seven catches for 147 yards and a TD -- all in the first half -- while Aguilar grabbed five passes for 72 yards and two scores.
But Washington's defense was equal of its star QB, knocking Cal quarterback Kevin Riley on his backside all night and keeping running back Shane Vereen from matching the big numbers he posted in his first two starts.
Riley was sacked five times, including three times by Washington senior Daniel Te'o-Neshehim, who became the Huskies' all-time leader in career sacks in his final game with 30. Vereen carried 42 times for 193 yards and three touchdowns against Stanford in the Big Game, yet was held to 92 yards by Washington, most of it coming on a 50-yard dash in the first quarter.
Riley was 14 of 32 for 215 yards with a 22-yard TD pass to Nyan Boateng, but fumbled twice.
There was nothing for California to play for with a bowl berth already wrapped up and its postseason future determined by how the pecking order of the Pac-10's mid-tier bowl agreements play out.
After California took the opening kickoff and went 53 yards, Vince D'Amato missed a 42-yard field goal wide left. From there, it was all Washington.
The Huskies broke out a wide receiver reverse pass on their second offensive play, a 38-yard throw from Cody Bruns to Kearse. Locker capped the drive on the next play when Washington used an extra lineman to show run, then let its quarterback find Kearse for a 40-yard score.
That was the start of a huge first half for Kearse, who had five catches in the first quarter. The first Washington receiver other than Kearse with a reception was Aguilar -- at the 12 minute mark of the second quarter.