Sunday's weather conditions made it tough for players to get their footing in the snow. In the first half, the Eagles running backs tried to run east-west to find the hole before attacking, but the ability to plant and explode wasn't there. The Eagles were shut out in the first half and gained 55 yards on the ground.
Well, things changed in the second half. The Eagles adjusted to a more north-sound running style which perfectly suited second-year running back Chris Polk. The 5-foot-11, 222-pound bowling ball whom running backs coach Duce Staley calls "a warrior" had 50 yards on just four carries including a 38-yard touchdown run. The Eagles finished with 299 rushing yards, the most by the team in a single game in over 13 years.
"It's definitely a testament to patience, but good things come to those who wait," Polk said. "We definitely have a lot of good guys, so I'm not made about that or anything. The only thing that you can control is your effort, so I'm going to do everything that I need to do to get on the field, and when I do, I have to make things happen."
Polk earned the extra workload in large part due to his effort in practice.
"One thing I know about Chris is in the last couple of weeks specifically, he has really, really practiced very well, and I think, like we said at every position, it's an open competition, and you keep showing us that you deserve time on the field, then that's what it's all about," said head coach Chip Kelly.
The second-leading rushing in the University of Washington's history, Polk admitted that it's been hard adjusting to a much lighter workload. He has nine career carries, all of them this year. That's why he looks at practice as his opportunity to shine.
"With practices, I just treat them like the game, whether I'm giving scout teams a look - I'm trying to score on every play when I'm on the scout team," Polk said. "In practice, I'm trying to run everything full speed to the best of my abilities, because when it comes to the game, you fall back on your training, so I take that to heart. If I train hard, I play hard."