Rose Bowl Champions!
Jan. 1, 2001
PASADENA, Calif. - Because Marques Tuiasosopo came back, Washingtondidn't need a comeback in the Rose Bowl.
When the quarterback left the field with an injured throwing shoulder latein the third quarter Monday, it appeared Washington's hopes went with him eventhough the Huskies led Purdue by three points.
'I was mad,' Tuiasosopo said. 'I was like, 'Can you believe this, theRose Bowl game?''
He missed three plays, returned before the start of the fourth quarter andthen guided No. 4 Washington to two touchdowns and a 34-24 victory over the14th-ranked Boilermakers.
Voted the player of the game, Tuiasosopo ran for one touchdown, passed foranother and accounted for 213 yards.
'He is the absolute epitome of what a quarterback should be,' Washingtoncoach Rick Neuheisel said. 'He hurt his shoulder, he came back in there andsaid he could play. The rest, as they say, is history.'
Washington (11-1) finished the season with an eight-game winning streak. TheHuskies rallied for eight victories this season, outscoring the opposition144-68 in the fourth quarter during the regular season. Once again, they weredominant in the final 15 minutes.
The Huskies gave the Pac-10 its first Rose Bowl victory in five years andjust its second in the last nine games. Washington was playing in its firstRose Bowl in eight years.
The Huskies started the fourth quarter with a 3-yard run by Rich Alexis onfourth-and-1 from the Purdue 35. Six plays later, Tuiasosopo threw an 8-yardtouchdown pass to Todd Elstrom, extending the lead to 10 points.
A little over a minute later, Greg Carothers forced and recovered a fumbleby Montrell Lowe - the game's first turnover - at the Washington 34. Lowe, whogained 79 yards on 20 carries, was injured on the play and didn't return.
The Huskies then moved 66 yards on seven plays, scoring on an 8-yard run byWillie Hurst to make it 34-17 with 7:25 left.
The Boilermakers drew within 10 points on a 42-yard run by Sedrick Brown ona fourth-and-1 with 6:37 left, and got the ball back a little over a minutelater when Tuiasosopo threw a lateral Elstrom couldn't handle at the end of a26-yard run and Ashante Woodyard recovered at the Purdue 49.
However, Travis Dorsch was wide left on a 42-yard field goal with 4:54 toplay, and the Huskies then ran out the clock. Tuiasosopo gained five yards on afourth-and-1 play from the Washington 45 with a little less than three minutesleft.
The Boilermakers (8-4), playing in their first Rose Bowl in 34 years andsecond ever, got off to a disastrous start, falling behind 14-0 before the gamewas 10 1/2 minutes old. They contributed to their problems by committing sixfirst-quarter penalties.
But they would tie the game 17-all in the third quarter.
'I think their physical offensive line had a big hand in the game, andcertainly, their quarterback is an exceptional player, without a doubt,'Purdue coach Joe Tiller said. 'They did what they had to do to win the game.
'I thought our team had its moments. I liked the way we came back in thefirst half after digging ourselves a hole. Our offense underperformed. We didnot put ourselves in position to win the game.'
Tuiasosopo was 16-of-22 for 138 yards, and rushed for 75 yards on 15carries. Purdue's Drew Brees, like Tuiasosopo playing in his final collegegame, was 23-of-39 for 275 yards and two touchdowns - both to Vinny Sutherland.
'It was a great road getting here,' Brees said. 'It was a dream season.Of course, I'm upset that we lost this game, but I thought that we played hardand we never gave up.'
Paralyzed Washington safety Curtis Williams was transported to the Rose Bowlfrom his rehabilitation center in San Jose, and watched the game from a suitein the press box.
Williams, wearing his game jersey while sitting in a wheelchair, spent about10 minutes with his teammates in an emotional locker room before the game. TheHuskies wore his initials on their jerseys.
A fifth-year senior from Fresno, Williams was paralyzed from the neck downduring Washington's 31-28 victory at Stanford on Oct. 28. Carothers, a redshirtfreshman, replaced him as a starter.
Brees slipped on the game's first play for an 8-yard loss, and was sackedtwo plays later - just the ninth sack allowed by Purdue all season. TheBoilermakers punted, and Washington drove 64 yards to take a 7-0 lead, scoringon a 1-yard run by Braxton Cleman.
Purdue then moved into Washington territory before having to punt, but TimStratton's snap sailed over Scott Kurz's head for a 30-yard loss, and theHuskies needed only three plays to move 25 yards, scoring on a 5-yard run byTuiasosopo.
'I thought my snap changed the momentum of the game,' Stratton said.
The Boilermakers responded with a 90-yard, 16-play drive, scoring on a5-yard pass from Brees to Sutherland early in the second quarter.
Dorsch kicked a 26-yard field goal with 26 seconds left before halftime tocut Washington's lead to 14-10. The Boilermakers had to settle for three pointsbecause John Standeford dropped a potential 27-yard touchdown pass from Brees27 seconds earlier.
Alexis, who gained 78 yards on 10 carries, ran 50 yards on the first play ofthe second half to set up a 47-yard field goal by John Anderson, but theBoilermakers tied the game 17-all a little over a minute later on a 24-yardpass from Brees to Sutherland five plays after Sutherland's 51-yard kickoffreturn.
Anderson's 42-yard field goal with 6:55 left in the third quarter putWashington on top to stay.
By JOHN NADEL
AP Sports Writer