Oct. 28, 2006
By Jesse Hulsing
GoHuskies.com contributing writer
SEATTLE -- Last week, when the Huskies needed it most, senior Marlon Wood caught a pass that was tipped by a California defender. A moment later he was diving into the end zone to force overtime. Unfortunately, the Huskies came up short in overtime, turning what would have been a historical play into nothing more than a highlight.
This week, against the Arizona State Sun Devils, it was another senior receiver who made the play when the Huskies most needed it. Down 20-6, Carl Bonnell zipped a screen pass to Sonny Shackelford who turned and threw a 41-yard bomb to a wide open Anthony Russo. Shackelford, who was a quarterback until his junior year at Beverly Hills High School, had finally completed the double-pass gadget play that he had failed to convert each of the last two seasons.
"I ran a little belly bubble route and Bonnell threw me the ball," said Shackelford after the game. "I saw Anthony wide open and I had decided to make the play and throw the ball. We worked on it this week and we have been working on it the whole year. The reason why we have never run it before was because we never had the opportunity. We never thought that it was good enough in the game plan. We never thought that the defense would react to it the way Arizona State did."
Down only 20-13, the seemingly flat Huskies (4-5, 2-4) had awaken. After forcing an Arizona State three and out, the Huskies forced the first-ever Husky Stadium overtime when backup quarterback Johnny Durocher found Shackelford in the end zone on a third-and-four for a four-yard touchdown pass.
"I will always have to step it up regardless of who is in or who is out," said Shackelford. "Being the person I am and being in a leadership role, I always have to step up my game."
Like last week against Cal, the big play just wasn't enough. In overtime, after kicking a 47-yard field goal to go up 23-20, the Huskies gave up a 25-yard touchdown pass, allowing Arizona State (5-3, 2-3) to escape with a 26-20 victory.
With only three games remaining and the Dawgs needing two wins to become bowl eligible, look for Coach Tyrone Willingham to focus on finishing and turning highlights into history.
"Basically, we feel like we are never going to quit," said Shackelford. "We are going to do that throughout the season, no matter what happens. We are never going to quit and we are always going to play until the last second."