By Mason Kelley
HONOLULU – When the ball finds its way into John Ross’ hands, the receiver has a tendency to make something happen.
So, with Washington trailing by two scores early against Hawaii, the Huskies got the ball in the playmaker's hands. The sophomore scored two touchdowns, leading the Huskies to a 17-16 victory Saturday at Aloha Stadium.
“I just made the best play possible for the team,” Ross said. “I didn’t expect it to go that way, but I’m happy it did.”
Trailing 10-0 in the first quarter, the Huskies called a reverse. Quarterback Jeff Lindquist handed the ball to running back Deontae Cooper, who gave the ball to Ross. He handled the rest. He sprinted 20 yards into the end zone to give Washington some much-needed momentum.
“I just saw an opening,” Ross said. “The guys made two good blocks and all I saw was end zone.”
On Washington’s next possession, Ross heard receivers coach Brent Pease from the sideline.
“Win over the top,” Pease told the receiver. “Win over the top.”
Ross, who runs a 4.29 40-yard dash, beat the cornerback down the field, hauling in a 91-yard bomb from quarterback Jeff Lindquist.
“It’s what we practiced throughout fall camp,” Ross said. “Jeff just put the ball in a great position. It was a great ball and I ran under it.”
The touchdown pass was the second longest pass play in school history, trailing only the 98-yard strike from Jake Locker to Marcel Reece in 2007.
“He does it in practice, so we expect that,” defensive lineman Danny Shelton said. “For him to do that in a big game like this is a good thing. It’s exciting.”
For the Huskies, the win over Rainbow Warriors was far from perfect, but they did just enough to get the Chris Petersen era off to a 1-0 start.
“We need to work on timing, just get a little more practice,” Ross said. “First-game jitters, we’re getting it all out now. Next week our timing should be better.”