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Future Is Rosy for Washington

Pac-10: Huskies wrap up trip to Pasadena with 51-3 rout of Washington State, still have outside shot at Orange Bowl.

November 19, 2000|From Associated Press

PULLMAN, Wash. — After Washington reached the Rose Bowl for the first time in eight years, Coach Rick Neuheisel thought about what it took to get there.

"It's a dream come true and it just makes me think about all the work that went into it," the second-year Husky coach said, alluding to the players, coaching staff and administration. "Those are all things you have to have to give yourself a chance to be in this situation."

Washington did not squander its opportunity, as Marques Tuiasosopo passed for three touchdowns Saturday in a 51-3 victory over Washington State.

The sixth-ranked Huskies, 10-1 overall and 7-1 in the Pacific 10 Conference, tied with Oregon State and Oregon for the conference championship but held the tiebreaker for the trip to Pasadena.

Washington, a 33-30 winner over Oregon State on Oct. 7, clinched the berth by winning the Apple Cup game after Oregon State defeated Oregon earlier in the day.

Even though the Huskies lost to Oregon, they won the tiebreaker based on nonconference records. While Oregon was 2-1 in nonconference games, its loss coming against Wisconsin, Washington and Oregon State were 3-0.

Washington had the edge, however, because Oregon State's victory over Eastern Washington, a Division I-AA team, was not counted.

Washington, though, still might not play in the Rose Bowl. The Huskies have an outside chance of playing for the national championship in the Orange Bowl.

"We were on all cylinders, unfortunately for them, they were not," Neuheisel said of the Huskies' rout of the Cougars. "They had a good season, but it was a season of 'what could have been' because of their overtime disappointments."

The Cougars lost three overtime games.

Tuiasosopo completed 11 of 20 passes for 190 yards. He became the first Washington quarterback with consecutive 2,000-yard seasons since Sonny Sixkiller in 1971-72.

"We're definitely excited," Tuiasosopo said of the probable Rose Bowl trip. "Our goal was to keep winning games and to get Washington back in that game."

Tuiasosopo hit Justin Robbins on scoring passes of six and 34 yards. Wilbur Hooks Jr. scored on a 19-yard pass from the senior quarterback.

Washington racked up 526 yards of offense to the Cougars' 210 in cold Martin Stadium, with temperatures in the 20s.

Tailbacks Rich Alexis and Braxton Cleman contributed to a strong rushing effort that netted 336 yards. Alexis carried 11 times for 122 yards and a one-yard touchdown. Cleman rushed for 105 yards in 15 carries and also scored on a three-yard run.

Pat Conniff and Sean Sweat also had touchdown runs, and John Anderson added a 41-yard field goal for the Huskies.

"We threw the ball well. We ran the ball well and we were able to take advantage of some things they did with pressure," Neuheisel said. "The running backs did a great job of hitting their holes and the defense was very opportunistic, holding a very talented offensive team to three points."

Washington State (4-7, 2-6) frequently started drives deep in its territory and was hurt by penalties. The Cougars were flagged 15 times for 108 yards, often after long plays.

"I said going into the game the team that made the least mistakes would win the game, and we made a whole bunch of them," Cougar Coach Mike Price said. "They were going to come out and run the ball against us and they ran it and got after it and knocked us off the ball and did a nice job."

Washington State's Matt Kegel, making only his second start, was battered by the Huskies. He completed 12 of 28 passes for 122 yards, with one interception.

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