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October 30, 2011
Polk's historic night powers Huskies
Chris Polk didn't get the message.Husky Stadium was blacked out on Saturday night to host Arizona, but tailback
Polk lit up the city of Seattle with a performance that inked his name all over the University of Washington record book. He finished the day with an astounding five touchdowns and 245 yards of total offense in the Huskies' 42-31 victory over the Wildcats.
He had 144 yards on the ground and 100 yards receiving as Washington (6-2 overall, 4-1 Pac-12) became bowl eligible for the second season in a row.
This was Polk's 18th consecutive game with 100 yards of offense. His 100 yards rushing broke a tie with Napolean Kaufman for the most 100-yard rushing performances in a career as a Husky.
Polk also became the first Washington player to ever rush for and receive over 100 yards in a single game.
"It doesn't mean nothing if it doesn't come with a win," Polk said. "The win is what means most to me."
It wasn't easy for Polk on a cold night in Seattle. The Huskies went three and out on their first two possessions and only had 52 yards of offense after the first quarter, finding themselves trailing 10-0.
"We just weren't very good on offense early," UW coach Steve Sarkisian said. "We were out of sorts offensively."
While Washington's offense struggled, Arizona quarterback Nick Foles picked apart the Washington secondary for over 102 yards and a score in the first quarter.
The Huskies turned things around on both sides of the ball in the second quarter scoring on a 6-yard Jermaine Kearse touchdown run just 2 minutes into the second quarter.
Arizona added a field goal before Polk scored his first touchdown of the day, giving the Huskies a 14-13 advantage that they took into halftime.
Washington appeared on its way to a runaway victory in the second half following a 17-yard touchdown reception by Polk on the opening drive that was followed by an interception by Nate Fellner in Arizona territory.
But the game took a bizarre turn.
Keith Price led the Huskies on a drive that looked like it would end in a Washington touchdown, but receiver James Johnson dropped an easy catch right into the hands of Robert Golden. He returned the interception 91 yards for an Arizona touchdown. The Wildcats then converted the two-point conversion to toie the game at 21.
When it looked like Arizona was primed to make a move and take the lead from the Huskies, Polk again answered the call running for his third touchdown of the game putting the Huskies back on top, 28-21.
"I don't know if any other player in our program now has had more of an impact," Sarkisian said of Polk.
Arizona wasn't finished. The Wildcats responded with their own scoring machine, receiver Juron Criner, who caught 11 passes for 118 yards. His second score of the game tied the game at 28 with 3:41 left in the third quarter.
After Arizona's defense forced a three and out, the Wildcats had the ball with the opportunity to take the lead.
Foles led the Wildcats inside the Washington 10, but the Huskies' defense held, forcing a 24-yard field goal that put Arizona ahead 21-28 lead with 14:10 remaining.
The Huskies took over, trying to take back the lead, but Price was intercepted when James Johnson slipped as the pass was on its way, giving Trevin Wade an easy catch.
Rather than put the game away, Arizona went three and out, giving the Huskies some breathing room and another chance to take the lead.
"I thought when we were up 31-28 and got the pick and got the ball back at the 30-yard line, that would have been a critical time for us to get a first down and take some time of the clock," Arizona coach Tim Kish said.
The Huskies offense took advantage of their second chance, moving the ball down the field thanks in large part to a 48-yard catch by freshman Kasen Williams.
Polk capped the drive with his fourth touchdown of the day that put the Huskies on top, 35-31.
Arizona continued to implode as Criner fumbled on the next possession, giving the Huskies another chance to score and put the game away.
Not surprisingly, Polk got the call near the goal line for his fifth score of the day, giving the Huskies the 42-31 lead, which would end up being the final.
The Huskies relied heavily on big plays late to pull out the victory. They forced three turnovers in the final eight minutes of the game.
"Everyone out there was battling and we knew we had to make plays, and that's what we did late in the game," said Nate Fellner, who had one interception, joining [/db]Sean Parker[/db] and Cort Dennison.
Price struggled at times for the second game in a row as he threw three interceptions. He completed 16 of 30 passes for 277 yards and threw one touchdown pass but his statistics were adversely affected by dropped passes.