How Good Was He?

From an entertainment standpoint, the Alamo Bowl had to be the best bowl game of the year on television. It was rated as the fifth most-watched non-BCS game of all-time. The game had eighteen scores and 113 points on a night featuring Washington's Keith Price, who was simply spectacular in out-playing the Heisman Trophy winner, RGIII. Talk about making a statement on national television!

Keith Price stole the show.

Unfortunately the Huskies lost. Otherwise, his performance might have made him the MVP of all the bowls. He established himself as a Heisman candidate for the future and the best part of this whole game for Husky fans is that Price is only a sophomore.

He still hasn't had that one signature win against a big time opponent, but that will come. He proved this year that he was pretty darned good with the ball in his hands and broke the school record for passing percentage and touchdowns thrown.

All of us Husky fans finally got a chance to see what Price could do with two good legs in that last game against Baylor. His final stats were unbelievable; four touchdowns on 438 yards passing and another three rushing touchdowns for 39 more yards. That's a grand total of 477 total yards and seven touchdowns. He also played the game with no turnovers and didn't get sacked, something RGIII can't say. The game showed how well Price played within himself. Wow! What a wonderful performance, and it shouldn't be lost in the defensive post-Alamo purge.

How good was it when stacked up against the other top UW performances? Well, next to Tui's infamous 200/300 game against Stanford and Jake Locker's 493 yards versus Arizona, it was the third-best individual performance in the history of Husky football for total yards. The 438 passing total was the second only to Cody Pickett's 455 yards versus Arizona, and the seven touchdowns was the best ever.

He completed five of his 23 completed passes to senior Jermaine Kearse for 198 yards. Excuse me, but that's just a shade under 40 yards per catch! It moved Kearse past Jerome Pathon for the best ever yards per catch for a game. It was a wonderful finish for Kearse and somewhat of a redemption game for him, because he did struggle at times through this past season. Kearse certainly finished his career with the game of his life.

What about that Husky running back Chris Polk? All he did was his typical workman-like performance that we've all come to appreciate so much over the past few years. Polk had thirty carries for 147 yards and a touchdown, all the time with his shoulders down and driving hard. His fumble was simply the saddest part of the whole game. For a man who has carried his team with the rock, it was a humble ending to a great Husky career. Polk was a War Daddy and he brought back toughness to Husky football and displayed his style in the bowl game for all the scouts to see. He will now take his game to the next level. He played out his heart out, but still it was Price who put on the greatest show of all.

Price shattered the single-season record of Mark Brunell for points responsible for, and moved up numerous career lists for records he already had set, including most touchdowns in a single season. He will miss Polk, Kearse, Aguilar and the senior offensive linemen, but really has everyone else back offensively. Price now needs to put on 10-15 pounds of strength and get ready to take his team to a 9 or 10-win plateau.

With everything that has happened since the bowl game, Price represents the glowing star for the future of this program. The Huskies have a really good quarterback returning and he showed he can play on the big stage. Now all he has to do is show he can win there and lead his team to a conference championship. If he plays like he did against Baylor they just might pull it off this time next year.

I realize the game had major consequences for the defensive coaches, but I didn't want to take anything away from Keith Price. He deserved the spotlight and played a great game. Like many of you I felt the team with the ball last was going to win. That's the way the game was going the whole night. When Baylor scored to take a 60-56 lead with 8:15 to play, I said this might be it; one last UW drive that will eat up the clock would end with the Huskies winning 63-60. I was worried about leaving too much time on the clock, and sure enough Washington moved the ball from their own 22 to the Baylor 41 and used four minutes to do so. The drive ended with three straight incompletions, the third on a must complete 4th-and-8 that Price sailed over Kasen Williams. When he did, it was game over.

It's sad that Washington let the game slip away following two costly fumbles - the first by Polk and the second by Danny Shelton - and in both cases all they were doing is trying their hardest to make a play. Because of the collapse of the defense in the third and fourth quarters, the efforts of Keith Price will largely be forgotten - but it shouldn't be that way. He played a fantastic game and should have been the player of the game except for one thing.

His team lost.


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