Washington 42 Arizona 31: Wrung in Wash.

Huskies' Polk scores five TDs as Wildcats stall in the 4th quarter
2011-10-30T00:02:00Z 2011-10-30T07:09:52Z Washington 42 Arizona 31: Wrung in Wash.Ryan Finley Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
October 30, 2011 12:02 am  • 

SEATTLE - Bulldozers will pull into Husky Stadium on Nov. 6, rev their engines and strike, turning the lower bowl of one of the Pac-12's football cathedrals into a heaping mound of concrete, steel and dirt.

Maybe the demolition will serve as an exorcism, cleansing Husky Stadium of the seemingly malevolent force that has haunted the Arizona Wildcats with wild finishes, horrendous calls and flukey plays seemingly every time they've dared to visit the Pacific Northwest.

Washington running back Chris Polk put up 244 total yards and scored five touchdowns, including two decisive scores in the fourth quarter, and the Huskies prevailed Saturday with a 42-31 win before 59,825. The game was marred by enough video reviews, questionable calls and improbable plays to earn the game a spot on the Syfy Channel. Arizona gained 424 yards against a porous UW defense but was done in by turnovers; quarterback Nick Foles was intercepted three times, and Juron Criner coughed up a key fumble in the fourth quarter.

UA interim head coach Tim Kish thought the game was a weird one.

"But that's football," Kish said. "The ball bounces different, funny ways sometimes."

Maybe the ending wasn't surprising. After all, Saturday's game played out like your typical horror flick.

Arizona scored 10 points in the first 8 minutes 31 seconds, getting on the board when John Bonano hit a 36-yard field goal and Criner caught a 24-yard touchdown pass. Bonano added a 47-yard field goal in the second quarter.

Just when Arizona felt safe, things got strange - and a bit spooky.

Trailing in the second quarter, the Huskies executed a double pass - Keith Price to Devin Aguilar to Chris Polk - for 31 yards even though the UA's Tra'Mayne Bondurant appeared to the wrestle the ball away at the last minute. Video review upheld the play.

Polk had a 4-yard touchdown run overturned by video review, and Arizona's defense held - until Robert Golden was flagged for interference as he deflected a pass on third-and-goal. The Huskies' offense stalled inside the 5 before Polk gave them a lead with a 1-yard run on fourth-and-goal.

Washington's lead ballooned to 8 points in the third quarter, when - moments after a Golden interception was overturned because of pass interference - Price found Polk for a 17-yard touchdown.

Then Golden pulled off the biggest play of his career.

The Huskies were driving to put the game away midway through the third quarter when Price found James Johnson open at Arizona's 9-yard line. Washington's receiver caught it, took a step, juggled it - and Golden pounced. He intercepted the pass, juked six UW chasers, found blockers and ran - well, half-walked, gassed from the effort - 91 yards the end zone. Foles' two-point conversion pass to David Douglas was good, and the game was tied at 21.

The teams traded scores in the quarter, with Polk adding a 1-yard touchdown run and Criner catching a 9-yard pass. Bonano made it 31-28 with a chip-shot field goal with 14:10 remaining in the game and Trevin Wade intercepted Price, and the Wildcats appeared headed for a victory.

But then, again, trouble. The UA went three-and-out, punted, and watched as Price and the Huskies drove deep into their territory. Price found Kasen Williams for a 47-yard pass to move to the Wildcats' 20. Price then found Kevin Smith, and the Huskies moved to Arizona's 5.

Polk then gave them the lead with a 5-yard score. He finished with 144 rushing yards, his school-record 18th game with 100 yards or more, and caught four passes for 100 yards.

Kish called Polk "a dynamic back."

"He's strong, he's physical and he runs downhill pretty well, but we knew that coming in," Kish said.

Along the way, Polk added another chapter to a series that's been marked by the ridiculous, UA quarterback Ortege Jenkins' "Leap at the Lake" in 1998, to the wacky, Mason Foster's interception of a Foles pass that bounced off a receiver's foot (or was it the turf?) that gave the Huskies a win in 2009.

Saturday's game ended not with an "immaculate deflection," but with a simple fumble. Arizona was crossing midfield with 7:14 remaining when Foles found Criner for a 6-yard pass. Huskies safety Will Shamburger forced the ball loose, and linebacker Princeton Fuimaono recovered. The Huskies then drove and scored with - who else? - Polk putting the game away.

Foles said Saturday's loss was one of the worst performances of his career.

"I'm better than that," he said. "This was an emotionally draining game. … This one hurt."

Arizona (2-6, 1-5) will return home Saturday to face Utah, then finish its season with games against Colorado, Arizona State and Louisiana-Lafayette. The Wildcats must win out to have any hope of making the postseason. Washington (6-2, 2-3) clinched another bowl game with Saturday's win.

On StarNet: Read Ryan Finley's blog this week for a report card on the Arizona-Washington game at azstarnet.com/finley

See more photos from the game at azstarnet.com/gallery

Up next

• What: Utah at Arizona

• When: 4 p.m., Saturday

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