While there may have been some sloppiness to the game in some areas, there is little question it was one of the hardest hitting games we've seen in a long time in Stanford Stadium. It reminded of a Depression Era gangster film, with retaliatory strikes coming play after play. As Sean Connery said in his Oscar-winning role as Irish beat cop Jimmy Malone in The Untouchables: "He sends one of yours to the hospital; you send one of his to the morgue." Washington came into this game smarting from a few key players lost last week in South Bend, and that body count may have been doubled today as Stanford knocked a handful of Huskies out of the game. The worst loss was probably senior cornerback Derrick Johnson, who recorded an interception for the second straight year against Stanford. After the game, Keith Gilbertson said he did not expect to see Johnson back on the field for a while.
But of immediate important to Cardinalmaniacs™ is the status of the three Stanford players who were knocked out of the game:
Jon Alston - The weakside "rush" outside linebacker was the first to go, as he had his bell rung pretty well in the second quarter and suffered a concussion. Timi Wusu played the majority of the remainder of the game, with Udeme Udofia seeing some action as well. Alston never returned to the game, though fans' concerns about his health were erased with the jumping and acrobatics he displayed at midfield after the final gun sounded. The redshirt junior was able to record a 22-yard sack on the third play of the second quarter as he chased Carl Bonnell deep behind the line of scrimmage and received an intentional grounding call when the QB tossed the ball right as a diving Alston was about to crunch his midsection. That was the first sack made by any defender against Washington since the first game of the season, when Fresno State recorded two sacks. Neither UCLA nor the vaunted Notre Dame defense were ever able to get to the Husky quarterbacks. Alston was having a fantastic game before he left, leading the team with six tackles. A smiling Alston told The Bootleg after the game that he felt fine throughout the second half and begged the coaches and trainers to put him back in the game, but he was not cleared for play. The pass rusher confirmed with a chuckle that as he spoke with me, he only saw one Bootleg reporter in front of him... Wusu was not a shabby replacement, recording a team-leading and career high nine tackles in his replacement game action. Wusu also led the team in sacks (one and a half) and solo tackles (six), and he added a pass breakup for good measure.
T.J. Rushing - One of the media and fan darlings of this young season with his aggressive and sure tackling on defense, plus his prolific numbers as a kickoff return man, the junior cornerback had two tackles on the day, but the second one would hurt. He made a fantastic solo wrap-up of Washington fullback James Sims in the middle of the third quarter, but Rushing was sandwiched by a second Husky player as he made contact with Sims. The diminutive Cardinal cornerback was unsteady wobbling off the field and had to be replaced by Nick Sanchez. Rushing did substitute back onto the field a play later, which led observers to dismiss the possibility of injury, but the cornerback quickly exited to the sideline after the play and never returned. The injury appeared to be a concussion but could not be immediately confirmed after the game. Rushing looked lucid and in fine physical condition as he walked with teammates to the locker room at the game's conclusion. Sanchez played extensively the last quarter and a half in the secondary, in both the base and nickel defenses. The redshirt freshman had an eventful time, recording a nice pass breakup but also mauling a Husky receiver for an obvious pass interference call.
Brandon Harrison - The last man to fall by the wayside for Stanford in this game, the sophomore starting strong safety went down in the fourth quarter and had to be helped off the field. While the above two defenders were woozy as they left the game, Harrison was in noticeable pain and gingerly moved to the sideline. He was smiling in the locker room afterward, though, and reported that he would be OK for the next week of Stanford Football. "I had two stingers in my left shoulder last week [vs. USC], and this was another stinger in the same shoulder," Harrison declares. "I'll be fine." The sophomore safety recorded four tackles in the game, all solo take-downs, but his biggest highlight was a blocked punt at the end of the third quarter that was scooped up by Sanchez for an easy score.
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