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Locker has ordinary day in season opener

Published September 4, 2010 11:34 pm

Potential No. 1 pick in NFL draft can lead Huskies to only two TDs in loss.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2010, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Provo • And so began Jake Locker's final collegiate season.

Of course, folks probably said that about the Washington quarterback last year, too.

Difference is that as a senior, Locker won't have the option to forgo the NFL Draft next spring. That means he's stuck with a pedestrian performance against BYU, as well as a 23-17 loss, as the opening salvo of his swan song.

Locker ­— the gritty QB with an NFL player's frame, if not one's résumé — was far from horrible, completing 20 of his 37 passes for 266 yards with a touchdown. When a win is lumped in with those stats, that's a good day.

"I think there's some plays and some throws that he'd love to have back," Washington coach Steve Sarkisian said. "I think we make a couple of tough catches here and there and it's a lot better day for everybody."

Especially Locker.

Repeatedly faced with a situation where a touchdown and point after would put his Huskies ahead, Washington's receivers either couldn't reel in Locker's passes or would have needed dip nets to reach them.

Locker engineered three Husky drives in the fourth quarter. Each of the three ended in BYU territory, yet none yielded points.

With 12:24 remaining in the fourth, the offense found itself with fourth down and 2 yards to go on the BYU 23. Locker's pass to Jermaine Kearse in the end zone squirted out of the receiver's hands as he was tackled.

Turnover on downs.

Next up, on third-and-9 from the BYU 46, Locker sailed a pass high above his streaking receiver's head.


Finally, after going 48 yards in four minutes, Locker faced fourth and 6 from the 26 yard line.

His pass was tipped and landed harmlessly on the 18 yard line with 1:51 left in the game.

Turnover on downs.

"I felt good with where I went with the ball pretty much all day," Locker said, "but I missed a couple."

When all was said and done, 20 for 37 will be regarded as a fine performance. But 0-3 on the plays people will remember?

"When we had some big third downs, some big opportunities down the field, we didn't connect," he said.

However, Locker was not without his highlight-reel plays. Twice he found Kearse for long plays in the fourth quarter. One went for 43 yards, the other for 34.

"I was seeing the ball really well, I felt really good in the pocket," Locker said.

Still, he is now 0-1 as a senior college quarterback.

After the loss was final — and all the passes that would go uncaught had fluttered to the turf — Sarkisian stressed that not too much should be read into what it means for Washington's 11 remaining games.

"This one game won't define our season," he said once, and then later in his post-game press conference.

The same could also be said for Locker's performance.

His final collegiate season will not be defined by his performance against BYU.

boram@sltrib.com On Twitter: @oramb —

Locked out

Jake Locker decided to forgo last year's NFL draft to play his senior season at Washington.

Against BYU, Locker completed 20 of 37 passes for 266 yards and a touchdown.

Known for his running, too, Locker was held to just 29 yards on 11 carries.






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