It's gotta be the gloves?

Several hours before one of the biggest games of his career, the season opener against the Michigan Wolverines, senior cornerback Omare Lowe was going through his pre-game ritual while still on the team bus headed from the team hotel in Bellevue for Husky Stadium.

Lowe normally listens to music before each game to get himself psyched to play and to hopefully lay out a receiver or two along the way. Whatever song he was listening to on his headphones that morning, Lowe was not satisfied.

"Man, this ain't getting me ready!" he said. So he asked a good friend for a little help.

"Wondame (who was sitting across from Lowe on the bus), let me get that 2Pac from you!" So 2Pac it was and, in Omare's words, "that got me ready a little bit."

Husky fans should be thankful that Lowe found his motivation somewhere between "California Love" and "All About U."

Later that afternoon, with both the clock and fans' hopes winding down in the fourth quarter, and with the Huskies about to go down by two scores, Lowe blocked a Michigan field goal attempt that allowed Roc Alexander to scoop the ball and return it 77 yards for the touchdown that ignited the Washington sideline and crowd.

The Huskies moved out to a 13-12 lead and, finally, resurrection at Husky Stadium. Lowe recalls, "It was loud when I blocked that field goal and we got a touchdown. The crowd was back into it and we were on defense, and that's how we like it here in the stadium, loud for the opposing team. And it WAS loud."

Just 51 seconds after Lowe's blocked field goal, he found himself in the right place at the right time. He intercepted an errant John Navarre pass and returned it 21 yards for a touchdown that fed the bedlam.

Lowe lights up when he recounts that surreal moment. "I got that pick and it just blew up. I don't think it can get any louder than that." But even with over 74,000 electrified fans rocking the stadium, for a split-second Lowe was in a quiet zone. "When I was out here and I caught it and ran it back, I couldn't hear anything, it was weird."

With such a career performance, it would be understandable for an athlete to become just a little superstitious, wanting to carefully remember and retrace every minute detail of his preparation. But Lowe doesn't necessarily see it that way.

"I wouldn't say I'm superstitious, I have certain rituals I like to go through before the game. I just did the normal things, just went out there and played hard like I think I do every game. I'm just happy I was able to make a couple of plays."

Those ‘couple of plays' restored the joy in Husky fans' hearts that were agonizing just 51 seconds earlier.

Was it 2Pac or was it something else that helped create the magic of that sunny afternoon on Montlake? While still visibly glowing over the remarkable turn of events in that game, Omare did admit that he had done one small thing differently.

"The only thing I really did different was I haven't been wearing gloves this year. I don't know if that was the difference or not. Yeah, that was probably the only difference."

Oh, so it had to be the gloves!

When asked if he would stick with the bare-hands approach, there was a hint of superstition in Omare's answer. "Not wearing gloves has definitely worked out for the better so I will continue not to wear them."

Cornerbacks Coach Chuck Heater isn't exactly buying the no-glove theory. "I can't even remember if Omare wore gloves last year or not. I'm all for him not wearing gloves, but the true test will be when it gets below 30 degrees."

Lowe has definitely decided to leave the gloves on the sidelines for now considering his good fortune so far this season. But what about when the mercury starts dropping? "I don't know when it gets cold though, I might have to go ahead and put them back on," said Lowe.

Coach Heater said he wouldn't interfere with Omare's decision to don the gloves. "Wearing the gloves is a personal choice, I don't even know if they are on or off."

I bet we will all take notice if Lowe has a season full of Michigan-type performances.

Since Lowe is already finished with school, he has a little more free time on his hands. Now he is able to relax and watch a little more film and be more of a student of the game. But he has to find some time for a little fun. Does the excitement of his day job lead to an exciting nightlife?

"To be honest with you, I am lazy. I like to just sit on the couch and play video games," shares Lowe. Omare has a Playstation 2 and his favorite game to play is NCAA Football 2002. He usually waits for his roommate to take a study break, and they "get on the sticks for a couple minutes." Undoubtedly, he gets plenty of practice breaking up pass plays on the TV screen.

Whether it was 2Pac, the gloves, or Playstation 2, we will never know. Coach Heater summarized it the best: "Whatever helps a player, helps a player."

Omare, please don't change a thing. Top Stories