Deontae Cooper has scored four touchdowns in his injury-plagued, six-year Washington Huskies career.
Three of them have come at Reser Stadium against the Oregon State Beavers, including his latest, a 10-yard run Saturday that gave the Huskies a 52-0 lead early in the third quarter.
Two years ago, in a 69-27 win at Reser, Cooper had the best game of his career with 166 yards and two touchdowns on just 11 carries.
“Corvallis has been good to me,” Cooper said after UW’s 52-7 victory.
It’s been a trying season for Cooper, who missed the 2010-12 seasons because of three different tears of his anterior-cruciate ligaments, was granted eligibility by the NCAA through the 2016 season — for which he says he plans to return — but has seen scarce playing time behind Myles Gaskin and Dwayne Washington, and also battled an ankle injury sustained in September.
On Saturday, though, he carried the ball a season-high six times, totaling 48 yards and finding his way into the end zone on the last possession the Huskies’ starters played.
“We got up early, and I still had the same mindset as at the beginning of the game,” Cooper said. “I was in the gameplan a little bit. … My mindset didn’t change. I knew when I got in I was going to be ready to go and competing real hard, and try to make a play.”
He carried four consecutive times on that scoring drive, including runs of 11 and 10 yards before his 10-yard touchdown.
“It feels good, man,” Cooper said. “Whenever you can get consecutive carries you get a real good feel for the game. We started to get confident as the game goes along, and I just started getting confident in my runs and started to really feel where the line is blocking, and I was having fun doing it..”
This season, he said, “has been a grind for me each and every day, trying to come to work and trying to find my way. One thing about it is, I’ve had great practice with adversity and with the injuries and just battling and battling and being consistent and grinding and grinding. There’s going to be a breakthrough, I’ve just got to keep working.”
The Huskies rushed for 271 yards on 59 carries as a team.