Huskies Suffer Holiday Bowl Heartbreaker

Dec. 28, 2001

AP Sports Writer

SAN DIEGO (AP) - Major Applewhite hooked a big one in his final game withthe Texas Longhorns.

Already the Longhorns' all-time leading passer, Applewhite added to HolidayBowl lore when he rallied No. 9 Texas from a 19-point deficit to a 47-43victory over No. 21 Washington on Friday night.

'I don't think I'd want to win any other way,' Applewhite said. 'We allrefused to quit. The defense started off rough, I started off rough, but in thesecond half it was another great Holiday Bowl.'

Starting his final college game after riding the bench for almost his entiresenior season, Applewhite threw three interceptions in the second quarter tohelp give Washington a 13-0 lead.

Applewhite finished the night completing 37 of 55 passes for 473 yards, allbreaking his own school records. His four touchdown passes tied his careerhigh.

'In the second half, he was just his amazing self,' Texas receiver RoyWilliams said. 'He was cool, calm and collected.'

Said Washington coach Rick Neuheisel: 'What a fitting end to hisunbelievable career. He was outstanding.'

The Longhorns were down 36-20 entering the fourth quarter, but Applewhitewas already in the process of leading Texas to scores on six of its last sevenpossessions.

After Willie Hurst gave Washington a 43-40 lead on a 34-yard touchdown runwith 1:49 left, Applewhite moved the Longhorns 80 yards in seven plays, withrunning back Ivan Williams scoring on a 3-yard run with 38 seconds left.

'Anybody who went to sleep in the third quarter, I hope they taped it,because it was a great game,' Texas coach Mack Brown said. 'And may I say,No. 11 played great.'

No. 11, of course, is Applewhite, who gave Texas (11-2) its biggest comebackever, a rally from a 36-17 third-quarter deficit.

The Longhorns' previous best rally was from 17 points, last accomplished in1999 when they beat Oklahoma 38-28 after trailing 17-0.

The Longhorns, 12{-point favorites against Washington, finished with 11victories for the fifth time in school history.

Texas' celebration was so wild that running backs coach Bruce Chambers blewan Achilles' tendon jumping up and down.

The wildest Holiday Bowl finish came in 1980 when Jim McMahon's 41-yard passto Clay Brown with 3 seconds left rallied Brigham Young from a 20-point deficitto a 46-45 win over SMU.

Applewhite, who holds 44 school records, got the start after replacing ChrisSimms in the second quarter of the Big 12 championship game on Dec. 1. In thatgame, Applewhite led a desperate rally that fell just short as Texas lost toColorado 39-37, blowing a shot at the national championship game.

Washington (8-4) fell to 0-3 in the Holiday Bowl.

Applewhite's 4-yard touchdown pass to Bo Scaife with six minutes left gaveTexas a 40-36 lead, three plays after linebacker Derrick Johnson interceptedCody Pickett and returned it 16 yards to Washington's 9.

Applewhite was hit just as he released the TD pass, and he knew it was good.Laying on his back, he pointed both index fingers toward the sky as the Texasplayers on the field and the sideline went wild.

Still, it wasn't enough for Texas. Washington, which won five games withfourth-quarter rallies this season, appeared to have comeback win No. 6 afterHurst's run.

Texas started its winning drive with 1:49 to go, and Applewhite was 4-of-5for 75 yards before Williams got the last 5 yards on two carries. Applewhitehit Scaife for 12 yards before Brett Robin dropped a pass. Applewhite then hitthree straight - 25 yards to B.J. Johnson, 6 to Scaife, and 32 to Johnson.

In last year's 35-30 Holiday Bowl loss to Oregon, Johnson dropped a passfrom Simms in the end zone in the final minutes.

Pickett, who played most of the season with a separated throwing shoulder,was 27-of-54 for 293 yards and two touchdowns, with two interceptions.

After a scoreless first quarter, the teams played the highest-scoringquarter in Holiday Bowl history, with Washington leading 23-14 at halftime.

Washington defensive tackle Terry Johnson returned one of Applewhite'sinterceptions 38 yards for a touchdown and a 13-0 lead in the second quarter.

'You don't want to go out a loser,' said Applewhite, who threw two TDpasses in the second quarter. 'I basically stunk it up in the first half.'

Washington pushed it to 30-14 after tight end Jerramy Stevens caught a17-yard touchdown pass midway through the third quarter.

Applewhite then led Texas on five straight scoring drives. Dusty Mangum hadfield goals of 26 and 24 yards sandwiched around Hurst's 4-yard scoring run.Applewhite threw a 2-yard TD pass to Matt Trisell early in the fourth quarterand Williams' 1-yard run pulled the Longhorns to 36-33 with 8:01 to go.

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