Maybe I had a better feeling about this night, all the way back in the preseason, than most of my colleagues. But nobody – NOBODY – could have seen this coming Saturday at Husky Stadium.
A. Blow. Out. Of. 19th-ranked California.
It was a 42-10 dismantling of the Golden Bears in front of 62,334 who braved the unseasonably bitter cold at Husky Stadium.
Easily, it was the UW's most complete effort of the season. Don't believe me, just ask the elated coach.
"It really felt like it," coach Steve Sarkisian said. "Defensively, we were dominant. Special teams … we were sound. And offensively, we had really nice balance, we were throwing the ball well, intermediate and down the field. It felt like a complete game in all three phases."
A gadget play – receiver Cody Bruns' 32-yard completion to Jermaine Kearse on the UW's second play from scrimmage – a quick touchdown strike by Jake Locker (also to Kearse) and the way seniors Donald Butler and Daniel Te'o-Nesheim carried their weight on the defensive side really made Saturday an extraordinary way to send the season.
Te'o-Nesheim had three sacks, which gives him 30 for his career. It's also a new UW record.
Butler had three tackles for losses, giving him 141/2 for the season, which is No. 2 in the Pacific-10 Conference.
"They're going to be playing on Sundays," UW defensive coordinator Nick Holt said. "Hope they come back and see us."
If the dots are connected on this defense, than Alameda Ta'amu took a cue Saturday night, especially with fellow defensive tackle Cameron Elisara (neck stinger) sidelined. He was a force, breaking up constant double-teams inside to give his teammates crease to pressure Cal's Kevin Riley.
"As a big guy, when you play with energy like he did tonight, you can be extremely disruptive," Sarkisian said. "He's shown flashes of that throughout the year, but tonight, that passion and that energy was there."
Holding Washington State to zero points, and now Cal to 10 – what a great sign heading into the offseason, one I'm sure will be met with rekindled optimism about where this program is headed.
He was noticeably irritated by the line of inquiries, and repeated himself over and over that his future was still unsettled.
"I've always said at the end of the season, I'll come up with a plan, sit down with my family and coaches," Locker said. "I'll definitely take a few days to enjoy this (win over Cal)."
I asked him when, during the season, he thought this season was on track to be successful.
"I thought after the first game (against Louisiana State), we had turned the corner," Woodward said.
"My expectations are just like coach's expectations – they are to win, continue to win and continue to win the right way."
It's Kearse, the Lakes High product.
"I think I have taken the next step," Kearse said. "I worked hard in the offseason."