The Washington Huskies earned a huge measure of redemption in defeating the Nebraska Cornhusker's 19 -7 tonight in the Holiday Bowl. Nebraska dominated the Huskies 56-21 in September in Seattle, but tonight the Huskies gave them a taste of their own medicine by dominating play on both sides of the ball.
The Husky defense limited the Nebraska's vaunted offensive attack to only seven points and 189 total yards, with a mere 91 yards of rushing offense, representing the best defensive performance of the Sark/Holt era. Husky defenders dominated the same Husker offense who racked up 56 points and 533 yards only three months ago against this same Washington team. By comparison, the Huskies ran up 340 yards of total offense, 268 on the ground.
Chris Polk had 34 carries for 177 yards to lead Washington and earn player of the game honors. Jake Locker was only 5-16 passing for 56 yards, but gained 83 yards on 13 carries and scored a 25 yard game clinching TD in the third quarter. He also caught an early 16 yard pass from Jessie Callier on Washington's first offensive play, leading to a first quarter TD.
Locker was shaken up in the second quarter when he scrambled, slid headfirst, and was hit helmet-to-helmet by Nebraska safety Austin Cassidy. He lay motionless on the ground for a few minutes until taken to the sidelines. His bell was rung a bit but he returned to the game on the next series.
Nebraska was expected to come in and dominate play on both sides of the ball, but an undermanned Husky defensive line held their own all evening against a Nebraska offensive line who outweighed them by an average of 70 pounds per player. Despite the size difference, the Huskies dominated the larger Huskers all evening.
This was a monumental victory for Washington. The Huskies were decided underdogs coming into this one. The consensus outlook focused on whether the Huskies could at least keep the second meeting respectable. They did more than that...they dominated a team who humiliated them only three months ago.
In Husky annals this is the biggest upset the program has had since the "Whammy in Miami". In retrospect, I believe this one has even more meaning because the discrepancy in talent going into this one was obvious in so many ways. Hand it to the coaches and the players for pulling this one off. What these guys did is just off the charts because Nebraska is easily a team that had enough talent this year to be in the BCS championship game.
This was a total team win. Every Husky who got on the field played his heart out tonight. Washington wanted this one a lot more than Nebraska did and it showed. All hats off to this team because they have brought this program back to national recognition.
This is the Huskies first winning season since 2002. It is there first bowl win since 2000 when they finished ranked third in the country, and they are riding a four game winning streak heading into next season. If you are a husky fan tonight feel proud....feel really proud...this program is headed in the right direction and there are a lot more big wins and bowl games coming in the future.