I’m eager to hear how it looked on ESPN?
It struck me as pretty impressive. I thought Jake Locker was even better than his numbers indicated (those numbers are below). He was dominating enough that Syracuse had to account for him on every play, and I think that helped every other phase of the game, especially Louis Rankin, who also was dazzling.
Syracuse may be one of the very worst teams in Division IA, and we’ll get a much better read on these guys next week. But that was a very impressive start in a lot of ways.
Player of the game
In his college debut, Washington quarterback Jake Locker completed 14 of 19 passes for 142 yards and ran for 83 yards and two touchdowns. He forced Syracuse to account for him on every play, which likely helped tailback Louis Rankin to a pretty nice night of his own: a career-high 147 yards and three touchdowns.
Washington rushed for 302 yards, while Syracuse managed only 8 yards on the ground. The Huskies defense also notched seven sacks, while Syracuse got none.
After Syracuse took a 3-0 lead, a field-reversing 15-yard burst by Rankin seemed to get the Huskies going, and they outscored the Orange 35-3 in the second and third quarters.
After all the uncertainty about the Huskies’ kicking game, everything turned out fine in the opener. Ryan Perkins hit all six extra points, Jared Ballman averaged 46.2 yards on four punts, and Ballman and Perkins regularly sent kickoffs inside the 5.
Approximately 30 Huskies, including 11 true freshmen, made their first trip as college players and 19 saw their first game action. One of those with the highest profile was true freshman Vonzell McDowell Jr., who started at cornerback and performed well.
"I had a couple of butterflies," he said. "When I first got on the field, this is what I love to do, so it just felt natural to me. … After I had broken on a ball a couple of times and covered my position right a couple of times and came up for a couple of hits, I realized that I could really do this."
Other Huskies making their debuts included true freshman Nate Williams as the nickel back, and tailbacks Brandon Johnson and Curtis Shaw.
"It’s a hard loss, and our expectations were higher than that. We can play better than that. It’s really a matter of how do we respond from this point." – Syracuse coach Greg Robinson
Fullback Luke Kravitz was the only significant injury mentioned. Coach Tyrone Willingham gave no other details. … Fullback Paul Homer carried the ball for the first time, ending up with 9 yards on three carries. … Receiver D’Andre Goodwin also got his first carry, gaining 31 yards on a reverse. … UW captains were Dan Howell, Louis Rankin, Juan Garcia and Jordan Reffett. … Basketball coach Lorenzo Romar and some of the UW delegation traveling in Greece watched the game over the Internet. … Syracuse surprised their fans by taking the field in orange helmets, jerseys and pants. It was their first time in all orange since Nov. 6, 2004, when they defeated Pittsburgh in double-overtime. … A statue honoring Syracuse’s lone Heisman Trophy winner, tailback Ernie Davis, was unveiled at halftime.
Boise State, 12:30 p.m., Sept. 8, FSN.