SEATTLE BYU's defense knew it had a tough challenge going up against Washington's Jake Locker.
Coach Bronco Mendenhall said the Cougars devised three different plans, including applying pressure and dropping eight players, to slow down the sophomore quarterback.
"None of which were dominant," he said. "I'm not sure there is an effective plan when you don't match up athletically. We used every weapon we thought we had."
After the Cougars' 28-27 win over the Huskies, they had even more respect for Locker, who had 18 carries for 62 yards and two touchdowns. He also completed 17 of 32 passes for 204 yards, including a 48-yard TD pass in the second quarter. BYU also sacked Locker four times.
"I can't say enough about that kid," said Cougar defensive lineman Jan Jorgensen. "We'd take him on our team any day. Not over (quarterback) Max (Hall). (Locker) could play any other position, I'm sure."
Jorgensen added it was frustrating trying to contain Locker. "He is amazing. You think you have a sack on that guy and he's able to squeeze around and go. It's hard to play like someone like him."
Locker kept Washington's final drive alive when he converted on a fourth-and-10 play by scrambling for a 13-yard gain. He later led the Huskies to the three-yard line, where he skirted outside and burst into the end zone for a touchdown.
That made the score 28-27 with two seconds remaining in the game. But after scoring, Locker tossed the ball heavenward in celebration and the official's yellow flag was thrown to the turf. That 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty moved Washington's extra point attempt to potentially tie the game back to the 35-yard line. Jorgensen blocked the PAT attempt to lift BYU to victory.
Following the game, referee Larry Farina explained the penalty.
"After scoring the touchdown, the player threw the ball into the air and we are required, by rule, to assess a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. It is a celebration rule that we are required to call. It was not a judgment call."
The rule book states that throwing the ball in the air in celebration is a penalty.
Said Mendenhall of the call: "I didn't see it. But I do know this throughout the entire game, there were all kinds of plays on both sides. That was the most visible play. Celebration is a penalty. Whether it was or not, I didn't see it. But if it was, it should have been called. Even if it was our team, it should have been called."
Penalty aside, the Cougars were impressed with Locker.
"I credit (Locker) for the courage, effort, playmaking ability and for leading his team," Mendenhall said. "They have a bright future with him in that position."
"We knew he had speed. He's a shifty guy," said linebacker David Nixon. "Anytime you have a quarterback who can run like that, it throws in a whole new dimension."
Even Hall could appreciate Locker's abilities.
"As a quarterback, it's awesome to see a guy lead his team down the field and put his team in a position to win. I was a nervous wreck (on the last drive), hoping for the defense to do good. But, man, Jake Locker is a great football player."
INJURY UPDATE: BYU linebacker Vic So'oto broke his foot and will be sidelined for three weeks.
Washington free safety Darin Harris was injured in the second half near the BYU sideline and was loaded onto a stretcher and into an ambulance. Harris was conscious and moving before he was transported to the hospital. While he was lying motionless on the turf, his mother, Valarie, ran out on to the field to see her son.
Mendenhall opened his postgame comments by wishing Harris the best. "Our support and thoughts and prayers go out to he and his mom," he said. "Our hope is that he's OK."EXTRA POINTS: BYU's win was its first ever in Seattle. The Cougars are now 1-4 all-time at Washington ... Prior to the game, Washington's marching band played BYU's fight song, "Rise and Shout" ... Senior offensive lineman Dallas Reynolds was elected to carry the team flag on the field before kickoff ... Senior Fui Vakapuna, who was held out of last week's season-opener, scored his first touchdown of the season on an 11-yard run in the third quarter to tie the game at 21-21.
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