SEATTLE — Home is where the heart is. Or, it’s supposed to be.
Washington fans showed little love for prodigal son sophomore linebacker Myles Jack – a Bellevue, Wash. native – in his first game back in his home state since high school.
Jack was heavily booed when he entered the game at running back early in the second quarter of UCLA’s 44-30 win over Washington, in what was a decidedly much colder welcome than the chilly Seattle weather indicated.
“I heard it, I was like ‘Ah that’s not a good feeling,” Jack said. “I guess that’s kinda payback for my actions in previous years, but it’s part of the game.”
Those actions would be last year’s four-touchdown and one finger-licking performance in UCLA’s 41-31 victory over Washington at the Rose Bowl.
Jack, however, soon turned those boos into “ahs” with a sensational 28-yard touchdown run in the second quarter to put UCLA ahead 28-10.
On third-and-3, Jack raced upfield, stiff-armed fellow Bellevue High School graduate freshman defensive back Budda Baker, spun off another defender and somehow tight-roped his way down the sideline in a run that left even the referees speechless.
“I had the ball and I was kinda looking at them like ‘Are you guys going to say touchdown or should I get ready for the next play?’” said Jack, who finished with 38 yards rushing on four carries. “They were just kinda looking at each other and I was standing there for like ten seconds awkwardly waiting for a signal.”
Jack wasn’t the only linebacker/running back making plays Saturday, however.
Washington’s Shaq Thompson likewise proved to be as good as advertised, playing all three phases of the game. The junior linebacker started the game at running back for the Huskies, finishing with 100 yards on 16 carries.
Thompson added four tackles on defense, rarely hitting the sideline.
Despite Thompson’s efforts, Washington’s defense offered little resistance to a UCLA offense that carved it up to the tune of 44 points and 476 total yards. Huskies’ coach Chris Petersen admitted that his team is still trying to figure the best role for its hybrid player.
“We are going to go back and look at that. I think he does a heck of a job,” Petersen said. “We’re trying to count his reps and talk to him and see where we go from there.”
One person not interested in looking back was coach Jim Mora. The former Washington player and Seattle Seahawks head coach felt little nostalgia on his return visit to the Evergreen State.
“It was a game. I’m happy my family was here, but other than that I couldn’t care less,” Mora said. “I’m happy we’re 8-2 and I’m excited for our players, but other than that it doesn’t matter to me.”
While Jack and the Bruins received less than a warm welcome on the linebacker’s trip home, it was Washington and its fans that were left out in the cold, save at least one.
“It was just fun playing in front of my mom,” Jack said. “Finally coming here and playing in front of her and everything and just having people that watched me go through high school … Now they get to see me play at the next level, that was an awesome feeling.”