Two stellar spring scrimmages were a start for quarterback Jake Locker, but Saturday was the real test.
Could the junior from Ferndale – the man virtually every Husky fan is banking on to lead this team out of its sustained rut – repeat what he’d been doing in a real-game situation, in front of thousands of clamoring fans?
Locker did that, and plenty more.
He completed 16-of-18 passes for 200 yards and two touchdowns, ran for another score, and his Purple team made up mostly of first-string players throttled the White squad, 33-0, in front of an estimated 10,000 spectators at Husky Stadium.
Aside from an early incompletion on a Jermaine Kearse drop, and another offering that was slightly too high for running back Chris Polk to haul in, Locker was about as perfect as could be.
Would his teammates have questioned his progress if he was, say, 6-of-19 with two interceptions on the most important day of spring camp?
“It would have been different,” receiver Devin Aguilar said.
The running game set everything up early. Willie Griffin had runs of 12 and 15 yards, and Chris Polk had an 11-yarder on Locker’s first drive – which ended on his 10-yard quarterback scramble for a score.
And it gave Locker time to go through his progressions on play action, and much-needed room to breathe.
At one point, Locker completed 10 passes in a row.
“I thought Jake was really sharp. He’s playing much more relaxed than he was earlier in spring,” UW coach Steve Sarkisian said. “(Play action) allows him to use his mobility, get on the edge and gives him a nice little run-pass option. Obviously he didn’t have to use his legs much today, but I think in the future, when we get going, you’ll see him pull that ball down and run.”
The play of the day came to end the half. Locker found Griffin in the right flat. As the running back came down the sideline, he got a super block from Aguilar, who took out two defenders, including linebacker Bradly Roussel.
Griffin trotted in with a 29-yard scoring pass to push the lead to 26-0.
“I didn’t know I was going to hit two guys to spring loose Wilie Griffin,” Aguilar said. “It was pretty nice. I was pretty happy about that.”
The Purple defense was equal to the task, limiting the White offense to 63 total yards.
The White offense did surge in the fourth quarter, driving to the Purple 17-yard line. But on a pass attempt, quarterback Ronnie Fouch had the ball knocked out of his hand by running back David Freeman’s helmet. The fumble was recovered by safety Nate Williams.
“It’s obviously really important to never let the offense get points on us,” Williams said.
Running back Demetrius Bronson tallied his fourth touchdown run in three scrimmage games with his 12-yard scamper in the second quarter. … Sarkisian singled out running back Chris Polk (12 carries, 95 yards, TD), linebacker Donald Butler (two tackles for loss), safety Johri Fogerson and tight end Kavario Middleton as having standout games, along with Locker. … The team did not suffer any injuries in the game, the coach said. … Sarkisian said his family did not attend the game because it was at a sister-in-law’s wedding, and would not return to Seattle until Sunday.