STANFORD, Calif. - In this segment of Dawgman Radio, Kim Grinolds and Chris Fetters talk about…
The Fifth Quarter - Stanford
Offensive Player of the Game - Louis Rankin. One of the knocks against the fifth-year senior from Stockton, Calif. was that he never had the opportunity to be that every-down back due to durability concerns. Well, he blew that theory out of the water with emphasis, running for a career-high 255 yards on 36 carries. Rankin ran hard, he ran smart, and he ran consistently strong all night long. Runner-up: Jake Locker.
Defensive Player of the Game - Jordan Reffett. It was a collective effort for the Huskies' defense, but it all started up front. Reffett, the senior from Moses Lake, wreaked havoc on the Cardinal backfield all night, racking up 1.5 sacks and 2.5 tackles for loss. Greyson Gunheim, Caesar Rayford, Wilson Afoa, and Daniel Te'o-Nesheim were right there with Reffett, but big Number 95 led the charge. Runner-up: E.J. Savannah.
Turning point - Forrester's recovery at the Washington goal line. It came in the second quarter, right after Rankin's one mistake of the day; a fumble that was recovered at the Huskies' one-yard line. During Stanford's second play of the series it appeared that running back Corey Gatewood was going to cross the goal line and get the Cardinal within an extra point of tying the game. But Trenton Tuiasosopo and Byron Davenport had other ideas. Tuiasosopo stood Gatewood straight up at the goal line, and Davenport stripped Gatewood of the ball as the play turned into a big scrum at the line of scrimmage. UW safety Mesphin Forrester recovered the ball, denying the Cardinal a golden opportunity. Even though Washington was not able to capitalize on the ensuing series, they did melt enough time off the clock to give the Huskies' a halftime advantage. From that point on, Stanford never seriously threatened UW.
Play of the Game - Locker as escort. I had seen the play in practice - the running back would deliberately cut back and follow the lead of the quarterback - but wasn't sure how effective it might be in a game situation. It turned out to be the play of the game on a few different levels. Louis Rankin's 42-yard run came at the end of the first quarter and highlighted a 98-yard drive (which was eventually sealed with a Jake Locker 17-yard scamper). What was so remarkable about the play was just how well Locker played escort. We all know about his ability to run, but what he did in leading Rankin down the field basically untouched for 40 yards was one of the more remarkable things I'll see this year. It showed early that the Huskies were ready to get after Stanford and take the game to them. It also gave an early glimpse into the night Rankin would eventually have.
Unit of the game - Offensive Line. Granted, Stanford's defense just isn't very good. But good teams find ways to dismantle poor teams, and Washington's OL catalyzed their 538-yard offensive output. They blew open holes for the running game, and did such a good job at neutralizing a defense that basically blitzes three out of every five plays that they hardly pressured at all in the second half. Or if they did, the OL made their efforts inconsequential. Juan Garcia wasn't trying to create an 'all for one' mentality by getting a mohawk - it simply started out as a haircut gone wrong. But somewhere in the mix - when Matt Sedillo, Jordan White-Frisbee and others started taking Garcia's lead - it may have sparked something. I might be reaching, but I appreciated it, and think helped solidify that 'road warrior' mentality that Tyrone Willingham is always searching for.
Assistant of the game - Mike Denbrock. For all the reasons above.
Stat of the game - Rankin's 255 rushing yards, killing his former career-high of 147, set in the Huskies' first game of the year against Syracuse. With both Rankin and Locker getting close to 800 yards each rushing, could Washington be getting their first 1000-yard rushers since Rashaan Shehee? Could be a two-fer.
Note of the game - Stanford's 137 yards passing was its lowest total all season. Their previous low was 149 yards against USC. The Huskies gave up 510 yards passing to Arizona the week before, making it a 373-yard improvement
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