Ealy had a huge second half against Oregon State. After not seeing the field since the UCLA game, Ealy hauled in four catches for 102 yards and a score. He showed great speed and balance on his 27-yard score when he broke a tackle then out ran the Beaver defenders as he tip-toed the sideline for the score.
“It was a statement game to try to get back from where I used to be and play to that level every game,” Ealy said.
Ealy missed the entire fall camp and the first four games with a stress fracture in his foot. He was supposed to come back for the Wisconsin game but after a good initial practice he was too sore to go the rest that game.
He finally saw the field against Washington State where he had just two catches for 18 yards. He failed to catch a pass against UCLA, due in part to a bad drop on a long pass from Chris Heavner.
“It is a process of having to get back in with reps and getting back into game shape,” Ealy said of the rehab process and the slow start he had in his first games back.
Before he had a chance to get back in the flow of the offense he was suspended for violating unspecified team rules. To make matters worse he was also issued a bench warrant for his failure to appear in court. Needless to say things were rough for Ealy.
He came back with a vengeance last weekend. He got into the game and provided a spark for the scuffling Wildcat offense. With Syndric Steptoe out and the rest of the unit struggling, Richard Kovalcheck locked in on Ealy for a few big plays including the touchdown and another 39-yarder.
Ealy was thrilled to get back into the game and felt good with both his foot and his conditioning.
“I feel good,” he stated. “I am out there and at the end of the game I still had my wind. I just want to be another offensive weapon when I go out the and be a boost to the team and go out and play hard for four quarters.”
Now all eyes are on Ealy as the Cats head to Washington for a game that is very winnable. Like Arizona the Huskies are a one-win team. To make matters more interesting Washington fired head coach Keith Gilbertson. There is a good chance that the Huskies will be fired up to try and win one for their coach.
“Hopefully they come out and play a great game,” Ealy said. “My heart goes out to those guys, an hopefully they will find a good coach to build that program back up. I think they will still come out and compete for four quarters. When something like that happens you have to go to your teammates and confide in each other and don’t let anything come between you.”
Things get more and more interesting. Not only is Washington is a similar situation as the Wildcats were a year ago, but it was against Washington that the Cats got their lone Pac-10 win last season. In fact, the series has been one of close contests for the past several seasons.
Another trend for the Cats has been slow starts. The Cats have made it a habit of getting behind and then trying to battle back. This week if the Cats are to snap their losing streak they know they must be strong from the start.
“We need to play like we did in the second half, don’t turn the ball over and don’t make penalties and be well balanced,” Ealy said.