In the final game of his college career, Jake Locker got himself a bowl victory. Aided heavily by the running game, and Chris Polk’s huge game on the ground, the senior signal-caller went out on a high note, bringing the Holiday Bowl trophy home to Montlake. After a dismal passing effort in the first half, in which Locker didn’t complete a pass, Locker used his legs to establish some kind of threat in the second, scampering for a 25-yard touchdown run that ended up being the dagger in the third quarter.
For all the praise Locker will get, it was the Washington defense that won this game. The Huskies, after watching Nebraska gain 533 yards of total offense in September, were flat dominant in the Holiday Bowl, holding Nebraska to just 185 total yards. Washington won the battle on both lines, but was especially dominant on the defensive end. It was that relentless pressure, aided by a hefty dose of blitz packages, that never allowed Nebraska to get into gear.
Locker finished the game 5-16 for 56 yards, adding 83 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Polk had another huge day, rushing for 177 yards and a touchdown. That 1-2 punch in the running game put the vaunted Nerbaska defense into a meat-grinder, spitting it out at the end of the game with skid marks all over it.
For Nebraska, it was tough sledding all the way around. Before leaving the game with an ankle injury, freshman quarterback Taylor Martinez wasn’t as sharp as the last time these two teams faced each other, rushing for 21 yards and throwing for 53 yards, one touchdown and an interception. Roy Helu Jr. added a team-high 58 yards on the ground.
The Huskies will now say goodbye to Locker, five years after he arrived. Polk, on the back of another impressive decision must also decide whether to leave early or stay around for another year. Just two years into the rebuilding process, however, Sarkisian has himself a signature season and a bowl win to boot.