Update: Follow the Apple Cup 2011.
With the game tied and the season on the line, the Washington Huskies turned to the three players they have all year to finish the game. In 2010, the Huskies have had a knack for coming up big in close games, winning four of their six games by a combined 12 points. And again, in the Apple Cup, they did just that, on the backs of Jake Locker, Chris Polk and Jermaine Kearse.
Locker, playing in his final regular season game, and final Apple Cup, threw for 226 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. On the ground, he added 29 yards and a touchdown, though the senior quarterback had a 77-yard touchdown run called back in the first quarter. Time and time again, Locker came up big in crucial situations. On fourth and one, Locker avoided the rush, making Washington State defensive end Travis Long miss, to pick up the first down. And, finally, with the game tied, Locker found Kearse for 27 yards and the game-winning score.
Chris Polk has been a punishing back all season, picking up crucial yards after contact while making defenders miss. Following the game, Washington State safety Deone Bucannon praised Polk while mentioning just how tough he was to bring down. For his efforts, Polk was rewarded with 284 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. Like Locker, Polk was there in crucial situations, breaking-off runs of 57 and 72 yards with the Cougars knocking at the door.
Jermaine Kearse may have been the hero of the game. On fourth down, with the punt team on, UW punter Kiel Rasp found Kearse on a fake, as Kearse went up high to pull-in the pass over Nolan Washington. On the third play of the second half, Locker found Polk for 66 yards and a touchdown to kill any momentum the Cougars had. With time running out and the Huskies needing the score to seal the game, Locker again found Kearse on a fade, sealing the victory for Washington and sending the Huskies to a bowl.
Three players, three big games. The efforts of Kearse, Locker and Polk prolonged the Huskies season, putting them into a bowl game with a crucial Apple Cup win.