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Top 5 moments: Parker plants Wheaton

12/12/2012

Editor's note: Throughout the week, HuskyNation will look back at the top 5 moments of the 2012 season. Here is No. 2:

SEATTLE -- There are plays that determine the direction of a game. And then there are those that pave a path for a season.

Against Oregon State in late October, Sean Parker delivered a hit that set the tone for a four-game winning streak that got Washington’s season back on track, pointing the program toward its third consecutive bowl appearance.

Heading into the game against the Beavers at CenturyLink Field, the Huskies were reeling after a three-game losing streak. They were fresh off a 52-17 loss at Arizona. Oregon State was ranked in the top 10 nationally.

But Washington struck first. The Huskies led by a field goal in the second quarter. With about 11 minutes left in the half, the Beavers had the ball on Washington's 43-yard line.

Sean Mannion dropped back to pass and floated a deep ball toward the sideline. Receiver Markus Wheaton was open, but Parker closed quickly. The junior safety delivered a hit that knocked Wheaton out of the game.

"That just set the tone for the whole game," Parker said after a 20-17 win. "Offense, defense fed off that energy."

After the hit, the ball hung in the air just long enough for Justin Glenn to pick off the pass.

While his teammates celebrated, Parker nonchalantly picked himself off the turf and headed toward the sideline.

He went on to pick off a pass, finished with three tackles and broke up three passes. But it was his hit on Wheaton that made its mark on the rest of that game, and the season, as the Huskies’ defense continued to develop under defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox.