Rose Bowl Preview

Dec. 28, 2000

PASADENA, Calif. (AP) - Though it appears to be too late, Washington makes its case for the nationalchampionship when it takes on Purdue in the Rose Bowl on New Year's Day.

The fourth-ranked Huskies (10-1) handed second-ranked Miami its only loss, a34-29 setback in Seattle on Sept. 9. Washington lost its only game three weekslater, 23-16 at No. 8 Oregon, which has won 20 straight home games.

The Huskies may have as good an argument as anyone for playing in the OrangeBowl, considering they beat second-ranked Miami, which defeated then-No. 1Florida State. Instead, it's Florida State that is facing top-ranked Oklahomain the national championship game.

Despite missing out on the Orange Bowl, Washington coach Rick Neuheisel doesnot feel the need to gripe about the BCS.

'I'm happy to be going to the Rose Bowl, absolutely,' he said. 'When youcome to a Pac-10 school, going to the Rose Bowl is the dream game.

'I think there's a time and place to do your lobbying. I just didn't thinkthere was a time or place to do it. We got a chance to play Miami, I was happywith the outcome. I just play who's next on the schedule. It's Purdue, andwe're happy to be playing them.'

In his second year as coach, Neuheisel led Washington to its first 10-winseason since 1991.

The Huskies, who have lost five of their last six bowl games, are led onoffense by quarterback Marques Tuiasosopo.

Tuiasosopo was named the Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year with 2,146passing yards and 14 TDs. He has frustrated defenses all year with his abilityto keep drives alive with both his arms and his legs.

Like counterpart Drew Brees, Tuiasosopo also has great scrambling ability,having finished the regular season with 406 yards rushing and six scores.

Brees is hoping to outplay Tuiasosopo while ending his spectacular collegecareer on a high note.

A Heisman Trophy finalist, Brees is the Big Ten's career passing leader with11,517 yards. The Boilermakers senior threw for 3,393 yards this season with 24touchdowns and 12 interceptions, and also ran for 516 yards and five more TDs.Brees pilled up the passing yardage behind a line that allowed just seven sacksin his 473 attempts.

Purdue (8-3) is playing in the Rose Bowl for the second time and the firsttime since 1966, when quarterback Bob Griese led the Boilermakers to a 14-13win over Southern California in Pasadena on Jan. 2, 1967.

Despite Brees' prolific passing, Purdue coach Joe Tiller realizes his teamwill be the underdog on Monday.

'I understand it, based on what Washington's accomplished,' he said. 'Iexpect us to play well, I'll be very disappointed if we don't.'

This game likely will end the Rose Bowl's 54-year streak of pitting thePac-10 against the Big Ten. Next year's edition will be host to the nationalchampionship game, meaning the conferences will not square off in the Rose Bowlfor the first time since 1946 unless the Pac-10 and Big Ten champions finishthe regular season 1-2 in the BCS.

After next season's game, the Rose Bowl returns to its usual format until ithosts the national championship again in 2006.

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