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Polk takes out frustration on Bruin

  • Washington’s Chris Polk rushed for 132 yards against UCLA on Saturday.

    Francis Specker / Associated Press

    Washington’s Chris Polk rushed for 132 yards against UCLA on Saturday.

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By Scott M. Johnson
Herald Writer
  • Washington’s Chris Polk rushed for 132 yards against UCLA on Saturday.

    Francis Specker / Associated Press

    Washington’s Chris Polk rushed for 132 yards against UCLA on Saturday.

SEATTLE — Chris Polk’s afternoon started out about as well as a running back could imagine.
Three-and-a-half hours later, he made sure it didn’t end in a national controversy.
As Polk and the University of Washington football team saw their final chance disappear in the final minute of Saturday afternoon’s 24-23 loss to UCLA, the freshman running back took aim on one of the Bruins defenders who had been needling him all day.
UCLA safety Rahim Moore had just intercepted a Jake Locker pass to secure the Bruins’ win, and Polk saw his chance to drill the defensive player who had the ball in his hands.
Polk took it, unleashing his frustration on Moore with a clean hit.
“That was my frustration, plus I didn’t like the guy,” Polk said afterward. “I didn’t want to hit him or something. I didn’t want to pull a Blount.”
That would be LaGarrette Blount, the Oregon running back who made national news by punching out an opponent after a loss to Boise State. Fortunately for everyone involved, Polk didn’t cap off his afternoon in similar fashion.
One possible source of frustration that Polk refused to vent was his number of carries in Saturday’s game. While he had 132 rushing yards, the second-highest total of his career, Polk had to do it on just 15 carries. Polk broke off runs of 26 yards or more on three of his first four attempts, yet he got just seven opportunities to carry the ball in the first half.
Asked after the game whether he was surprised that the coaches did not call more running plays, Polk said: “I was surprised, but it’s not my place to say. I just play and go out and do whatever the coaches ask me to do.”
Coach Steve Sarkisian said that part of the reason for Polk’s relatively low workload was a rib injury the running back suffered in the first quarter. After opening the game with a 34-yard run, then adding a 26-yarder on the next drive, Polk came to the sidelines to receive treatment. Not long after he got back in the game, he broke off a 30-yard run to give Polk 91 rushing yards on his first four carries.
“Chris had a great effort,” Sarkisian said after the game. “We really challenged him earlier this week to come out and establish himself. We’re fighting for that run game, and I think we found some of that (in Saturday’s game).
“I’m proud of Chris. Redshirt freshman, and he’s got a lot of football ahead of him.”
The Huskies have also been trying to ease up on Polk’s workload as of late, due in part to mounting injuries. The California native has struggled with shoulder, hand and ankle injuries this season, so Sarkisian made a point of getting backups Johri Fogerson and Demitrius Bronson some opportunities in Saturday’s game.
But the Huskies just ran the ball 25 total times in the game, despite averaging more than six yards per carry. Polk gained 8.8 yards per attempt on the way to his second consecutive 100-yard performance after gaining a total of 85 yards in the previous two games.
“It was reading my blocks,” Polk said when asked about his success against the Bruins on Saturday. “I felt like I worked my speed really well today.”
He also said that his ribs were sore but not too sore to keep him out of action.
“It’s all in a day’s work,” he said. “I’m always sore, but I just go out there and play.”
Story tags » Huskies Football

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