Chasing around Washington quarterback Jake Locker was on the minds of UCLA players this week.
Locker, who is expected to start after being out two weeks with a broken rib, will play his last game in Husky Stadium on Thursday night.
“He can hurt you in many ways,” UCLA linebacker Akeem Ayers said. “He adds another dimension to their offense because of his speed.”
Locker has run for more than 100 yards once this season. He has had two solid games against UCLA in his career.
He had 92 yards rushing and 216 passing as a freshman in 2007. He missed the game as a sophomore because of an injury, but threw for 235 yards and two touchdowns last season.
Washington lost both games, though. Last season, free safety Rahim Moore intercepted a pass in the final minute to allow UCLA to hold on for a 24-23 victory.
“He’s so versatile that you have to expect all things,” Moore said. “You never know what you might see. He might line up in the wildcat and take off running. You just have to lower your shoulder into him and get him down.”
As for this being Locker’s last home game, Washington Coach Steve Sarkisian said, “Nothing means more to him than going out there, playing well, and walking off with a victory his last time at Husky Stadium. But we have to keep his emotions in check.”
UCLA Coach Rick Neuheisel returns to play against the program he guided from 1999-2002.
Parting was not such sweet sorrow. Neuheisel was fired in 2003 and later won a $4.5-million settlement in a wrongful termination lawsuit against the NCAA and the university.
Huskies fans have blamed Neuheisel for the program’s woes ever since.
Washington has not been to a bowl game since 2002, Neuheisel’s last season, but the coach is ready to retire his black hat.
“There were a lot of mistakes made and certainly I made some,” Neuheisel said. “It’s been seven years. My last year was 2002. There has been ample time to fix things. I know they are excited about the new regime and they seem to be on the right track.”
By the numbers
Neuheisel has an 11-0 record against Washington and Washington State. The Bruins have only two Pacific 10 Conference road victories since he became coach. Both have come in the state of Washington.
Washington has allowed 400 or more total yards in six games this season. In four games, the Huskies have allowed 278 or more yards rushing.