It was left to Oregon State coach Mike Riley to finally put an end to a game that seemed ready to go all night. The Oregon State coach decided...
It was left to Oregon State coach Mike Riley to finally put an end to a game that seemed ready to go all night.
The Oregon State coach decided to go for two after the Beavers scored on the second possession of second overtime Saturday at Husky Stadium. And when tight end Joe Halahuni couldn’t control a pass in the end zone under tight coverage from Cort Dennison, the Huskies escaped with a 35-34 double overtime win.
“I thought we had the right play,” said Riley, who had initially sent the kick team out to force a third overtime. “We were on the road. They were pretty hot and I thought we were having a hard time with them and so we thought we could win the game right there. I look forward to seeing it on film. It looked like it was there.”
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But when it turned out it wasn’t, it allowed the Huskies to finally celebrate over a game they seemed to have won when they jumped ahead 21-0 after the first 20 minutes, then again when a fourth-down pass in the second OT fell incomplete. A late pass interference flag gave OSU new life, however, before the Huskies finally ended it for good.
“I guess sometimes when you get to celebrate twice, it’s even better,” said UW coach Steve Sarkisian.
Washington QB Jake Locker tied a school record with five touchdown passes and Huskies receiver Jermaine Kearse set one with four touchdown catches — two for each coming in the overtime periods
“It just shows the heart our team has to strive to finish,” said Kearse, who dropped three passes last week in a 24-14 loss to Arizona State.
That defeat damaged UW’s hopes for a bowl bid, and many viewed this game as a must-have. With the win, UW is 3-3 and enters a second half of Pac-10 play in which it will have four of six on the road.
“I wouldn’t say we were desperate, but we knew it was going to be a big game,” said Kearse.
The Huskies dominated the first 20 minutes, outgaining the Beavers 250-50 in taking their initial three-touchdown lead.
Washington had drives of 56, 69, 45 and 91 on its first four possessions, scoring TDs on the final three.
Two came on Locker-to-Kearse hookups.
But the Beavers scored three TDs in just under 10 minutes spanning the end of the second quarter and the beginning of the third to tie the score.
Each team went scoreless in the final 26:26 as the game went to overtime.
Washington won the toss and elected to take the ball last.
On a third-and-nine from the 10, OSU QB Ryan Katz hit Jacquizz Rodgers on a wheel route and Rodgers caught the ball and dragged Mason Foster into the end zone.
But UW came right back when Locker hit Kearse on a third-and-two from the 17 to tie it.
Washington then had the ball first in the second overtime, and after a holding penalty moved the Huskies back, Locker hit Kearse with a 21-yard TD when the Beavers blitzed.
But the Beavers responded with a touchdown after the controversial pass-interference penalty.
Sarkisian said he knew Riley would go for two, remembering when he had to win a Sun Bowl game against Missouri in 2006.
Dennison said he saw Halahuni break down the line and “I just tried my best and it worked.”
He said he wasn’t sure if he touched the ball but that “I really don’t care if I did. We got the win.”
It was the same score by which UW beat Oregon State in a memorable game in 1998 when Riley also eschewed a tie and decided to go for two on the last play of regulation.
Dennison said he was glad to see Riley go for two.
“That’s a challenge for the defense,” he said. “We just had to gut up and make sure they didn’t score.”
Locker had been bothered by a thigh bruise in practice all week but said he felt fine. He completed 21 of 35 passes for 286 yards.
Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or firstname.lastname@example.org