For all the bad things that might be said about the Huskies this season, they really have given good effort ... including today in their first game played knowing they can't get to a bowl.
The way the game played out, Louis Rankin and the running game topped even the quarterback issue as the prime topic of discussion.
Rankin carried 21 times for 224 yards. Along the way, he became the ninth Husky to reach 1,000 rushing yards in a season and the first since 1997, when Rashaan Shehee ran for 1,087. Rankin's current 1,077 yards ranks ninth on the UW single-season list.
Center Juan Garcia seemed just as proud as Rankin, and certainly was more eager to discuss the achievement.
Speaking of the QB situation, Willingham said that Locker was cleared to play, and might have been available in an emergency. Interestingly, UW offensive coordinator Tim Lappano said if anything had happened to starter Carl Bonnell, the Huskies also might have used walk-on quarterback Taylor Bean to handoff rather than burn freshman Ronnie Fouch's redshirt this late in the season. By all accounts, Locker is expected to return as the starter next week in the Apple Cup.
Defensive player of the game
Cal free safety Thomas DeCoud had a game- and career-high 16 tackles, including 13 solo.
Washington opened the game with a five-play 71-yard touchdown drive and followed it with a 13-play, 87-yard drive that put them ahead, 14-0. The Huskies never trailed.
Defensive end Daniel Te'o-Nesheim made what may have been the highlight-reel tackle of the UW season in the third quarter, when he darted through the line untouched and upended Cal tailback Justin Forsett for a 2-yard loss on a second-and-goal from the one. Cal settled for a field goal. "I don't remember it," Te'o-Nesheim said. "I just remember getting off the guy and having everybody happy with me and the crowd was so loud. I can't wait to see it."
Washington won the toss and elected to defer. However, Cal captain Thomas DeCoud mistakenly elected to kick off. The error allowed the Huskies to receive the opening kickoff of both halves. "I decided to kick and kind of messed us up," DeCoud said. His coach didn't disagree. "Our captain was confused and made a mistake at the beginning of the game," Jeff Tedford said. "He misunderstood the deferral."
Matt Mosley was a surprise starter at cornerback due to a shoulder bruise suffered by usual No. 1 Byron Davenport. … Cal receiver/return DeSean Jackson sat out the second half with a thigh bruise, which isn't expected to be serious. Before going out, he had four catches for 31 yards and returned one punt for 23 yards.
"We couldn't stop the run, obviously. … Anytime someone runs the ball like that against you, it's going to be a long day." – Cal coach Jeff Tedford.
UW linebacker E.J. Savannah recorded his first career interception in the second quarter. Washington now has 11 interceptions this season, two by Mesphin Forrester and one by nine other players. … UW senior Anthony Russo extended his pass-catching streak to 35 straight games, while Cal's Robert Jordan extended his to 40. … UW freshman Ryan Perkins' 45-yard field goal in the third quarter was the longest of his career. … Cal tailback Justin Forsett recorded a career-long 58-yard run in the second quarter. … Washington's captains were Bonnell, Anthony Russo, Greyson Gunheim and Jordan Reffett.
Washington vs. Washington State in the 100th Apple Cup, 4 p.m. Saturday, Husky Stadium, FSN.