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Ducks bruise Locker’s ego

Washington’s quarterback throws two interceptions in red zone and is sacked four times

  • Washington quarterback Jake Locker (10) has no where to run as he is surrounded by Oregon defensive players.

    Jennifer Buchanan / The Herald

    Washington quarterback Jake Locker (10) has no where to run as he is surrounded by Oregon defensive players.

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By Scott M. Johnson
Herald Writer
  • Washington quarterback Jake Locker (10) has no where to run as he is surrounded by Oregon defensive players.

    Jennifer Buchanan / The Herald

    Washington quarterback Jake Locker (10) has no where to run as he is surrounded by Oregon defensive players.

SEATTLE — After a game that saw him take several big hits, get his helmet ripped off and eventually succumb to leg cramps, Jake Locker stood in front of reporters with only one noteworthy injury Saturday afternoon.
A bruised ego.
The University of Washington’s star quarterback played one of his worst games of the season Saturday night, completing 23-of-44 passes while throwing two interceptions and getting sacked four times in the Huskies’ 43-19 loss to Oregon.
Locker fought an uphill battle for most of the afternoon while trying to rally the Huskies from a big deficit. A pair of interceptions — one in the end zone, and another at the Oregon 4-yard line — didn’t help the cause.
“It was a tough day for him, mentally and physically,” head coach Steve Sarkisian said afterward, “but he battled.”
Sarkisian admitted that his junior quarterback may have “tried to do too much” at times in Saturday’s game, and Locker did not disagree.
“Obviously, you want to make plays and win a football game,” he said. “You do everything you can to try and do that. Sometimes you get outside yourself and outside the game plan.”
Locker had some early success in Saturday’s game, completing his first pass for nine yards and leading the Huskies to a field goal on UW’s second possession of the game.
But after UW fell behind 8-3 early in the second quarter, things began to unravel. He completed four of his final 15 passes of the half, and one of those throws resulted in an end-zone interception on fourth down.
Locker admitted that he forced that throw, saying he probably would not have made it had the Huskies not been in a fourth-down situation. But when he rolled to his right after taking a snap at the Oregon 2-yard line, Locker saw no one open and threw toward a receiver in double coverage. Ducks safety Javes Lewis intercepted the pass to end that drive.
“I saw him,” Locker said of Lewis, “but I was just giving a guy a chance. I went for it.”
The second half didn’t get much better for Locker. After receiver Jermaine Kearse dropped Locker’s first pass, he was sacked on third down to force a punt. UW’s second possession of the second half resulted in another interception (by cornerback Cliff Harris) when Locker heaved a deep ball toward receiver James Johnson in double coverage.
The Ducks took over at their own 4-yard line and promptly marched 96 yards for another touchdown and a 36-6 lead.
Locker, who suffered a bruised back in the loss to Arizona State seven days earlier, started to experience leg cramps sometime in the second half. Sarkisian left him in the game for the first full drive of the fourth quarter before replacing Locker with Ronnie Fouch.
“I wanted to get Jake some confidence on that last drive,” Sarkisian said after Locker completed 4-of-6 passes for 44 yards, including a touchdown to Johnson, on the fourth-quarter drive. “I thought it was pretty critical.”
Locker proclaimed himself healthy after the game, but it was apparent that he was not happy with his performance.
Sarkisian said that Locker is experiencing natural growing pains as the coaching staff tries to convert him from a run-first quarterback into a pocket passer.
“This is a very fine line that we’re operating on with him,” Sarkisian said. “We’re trying to change a guy’s game, the complexion of his game, and I knew it wasn’t going to happen overnight. Obviously, he had some really early success, as we did (as a team).
“And we’re going to have our growing pains — not just Jake, but as a football program. We’re going to have our growing pains, and obviously this is one of them. The challenge from this, and for Jake and his game, is to learn from this.”
Story tags » Huskies Football

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