No. 15 Washington Stuns No. 11 Michigan, 23-18
Sept 8, 2001
By JANIE McCAULEY
AP Sports Writer
SEATTLE - Omare Lowe almost single-handedly gave No. 15 Washingtonanother fourth-quarter comeback.
Lowe changed the game in less than a minute for the Huskies, blocking afield goal that was returned for a touchdown, then running back an interceptionfor another score in a 23-18 win over No. 11 Michigan on Saturday.
Lowe called the blocked kick that turned Washington's season-opener aroundin a similar fashion to the way the Huskies won last year. Five of Washington's11 wins last season came after they trailed in the fourth quarter.
'Lo and behold, our formula worked again,' Washington coach Rick Neuheiselsaid.
Lowe got a hand on an earlier field goal and told coaches and teammates hecould get to the next one.
'I dove, and I've got a bruise on my arm to show for it,' he said.
Lowe blocked Hayden Epstein's field-goal try with 9:11 left in the fourthquarter, and Roc Alexander scooped up the ball and sprinted 77 yards for theHuskies' first touchdown of the game that put them ahead 13-12.
Then, with 8:20 remaining, Lowe picked off a pass that deflected off ChrisPerry's hands and ran 21 yards into the end zone.
'I was exhausted, but I was trying to make a play,' Lowe said.
It was quite a stretch for the senior cornerback, who was beaten by MarquiseWalker on Michigan's initial touchdown just before halftime.
Walker got by him again for a touchdown in the game's final minute, but itwas too late for Michigan. Lowe then batted away a two-point conversion pass toWalker before Washington recovered the onside kick and ran out the clock.
Lowe's late-game heroics overshadowed a brilliant day by Walker. He had ahand in all of Michigan's first-half points and most of its third-downconversions in the second half.
Walker caught a school-record 15 passes for 159 yards and two touchdowns. Healso blocked a punt by Derek McLaughlin for a safety to give the Wolverines a2-0 lead in the first quarter.
'The difference between six points and two points probably made thedifference at the end,' Walker said, comparing the game's two blocked kicks.
With a victory, Michigan (1-1) would have passed Yale to become collegefootball's winningest team. Both teams have 806 wins, and Yale did not playSaturday.
'We beat ourselves today,' Michigan coach Lloyd Carr said. 'We hadcontrol of the game and I thought we were the better team.
In his first college start, Washington quarterback Cody Pickett was13-for-22 for 199 yards. He didn't lead the Huskies to an offensive touchdown,but he also didn't throw an interception in his first start in place of MarquesTuiasosopo, now with the Oakland Raiders.
'Cody's first start was outstanding,' Washington coach Rick Neuheiselsaid. 'I was really impressed with him. I think we have a really good playerthere that is going to get better and better.'
Michigan quarterback John Navarre, meanwhile, threw two interceptions andwent 26-for-44 for 248 yards and two touchdowns. He's in a similar position toPickett, replacing Drew Henson, who opted to forgo his senior season asquarterback to play baseball in the New York Yankees organization.
The Huskies had several missed chances. They had good field position fortheir opening drive of the second quarter thanks in part to a holding penaltycalled on Michigan, but settled for a 43-yard field goal by John Anderson.
Anderson connected again midway through the second quarter, this time from26 yards, after Washington got down to the 2-yard line but couldn't get intothe end zone.
Anderson added a 30-yard field goal late in the fourth quarter to make it23-12.
Freshman Washington receiver Reggie Williams showed why he was one of themost highly recruited prep receivers in the country. The 6-foot-4, 215-poundWilliams caught four passes for 134 yards, including a 74-yard reception in thethird quarter.
Neuheisel has emphasized that the Huskies must find a way to win, just likelast year's 11-1 team that beat Purdue in the Rose Bowl and finished third inthe nation.
It will be even more difficult next week when Washington travels to No. 1Miami.