April 30, 2010
By TIM BOOTH
AP Sports Writer
SEATTLE -- There's already a little Montana magic on Montlake.
Washington freshman Nick Montana led a long scoring drive in the closing seconds, capped by his 2-yard touchdown pass to Luther Leonard on the final play, and the Purple team beat the White 14-13 in the Huskies spring game on Friday night.
The son of Hall of Fame QB Joe Montana graduated high school early and enrolled at Washington in time to participate in spring practices. While the Huskies hope star QB Jake Locker stays healthy and that Montana doesn't need to be used during the 2010 season, Montana may have taken a step ahead of redshirt freshman Keith Price.
Montana finished 21 of 34 for 156 yards and two touchdown passes, including a 31-yard strike to Marek Domanski in the third quarter. His only mistake was an interception that backup linebacker Anthony Boyles took back 26 yards for a touchdowns. Boyles also had a fumble recovery in the first half to set up another score.
"I thought it was great. I thought he did some things in the second half," Washington coach Steve Sarkisian said of Montana. "It was good for him, the whole experience, the crowd, the weather. He's got to get use to playing in Husky Stadium, it's going to be a little windy, a little wet and a little loud."
Approximately 15,000 showed up for the first Friday night spring game in Washington history. Most came to see Locker, who spurned the potential big money of the NFL to stay at Washington for his senior season.
But Locker was mostly a spectator. He played a handful of series' in the first half, finishing just 3 of 7 for 15 yards, part of a sloppy effort while Locker was in with the Huskies No. 1 offense.
Sarkisian didn't seem to mind Locker's lackluster numbers.
"He's healthy and we're healthy as a team," Sarkisian said. "I'll take it."
The Huskies were missing a number of expected starters for the Sept. 4 game at Brigham Young. Running back Chris Polk, right tackle Cody Habben, wide receiver Jermaine Kearse, and cornerback Desmond Trufant all watched the 2-hour game from the sideline. Many other starters saw limited time like Locker.
That gave Montana a chance to shine. Down 13-7 with 4:05 left, Montana led his team _ made up of the No. 2 offense and No. 1 defense _ 80 yards in 12 plays. He had a chance with 10 seconds left but missed Jordan Polk wide open at the goal line. On the next play, Montana threw for Wilson Chandler, who was interfered with by Adam Long in the end zone.
With first-and-goal at the 2, Montana overthrew Polk and 1 second remained. Montana rolled left and scored himself, but Sarkisian called for another play since quarterbacks were off limits from being hit.
Montana again rolled left and found Leonard. Eric Guttorp made the extra point for the victory.
"Oh yeah, he played a good game," Price said of Montana. "Under these conditions, it was raining, the wind was blowing, (and) he was accurate. He played well."
"It's pretty cool when you can have a spring game have that much excitement and enthusiasm at the end like that," Locker said.