Huskies Come Alive In Second Half To Beat San Jose State
Sept. 7, 2002
SEATTLE - Trailing 10-0 at halftime Saturday, the Washington Huskies weren't sure what was going to happen to them next.
Cody Pickett ended Washington's apprehension by throwing three touchdown passes in a span of just over nine minutes as the 14th-ranked Huskies rallied to beat San Jose State 34-10.
'It looks as if we were waiting for bad things to happen to us in the beginning of the game and responding as if we were almost in a little bit of shock,' coach Rick Neuheisel said.
One week after losing at Michigan on a last-second field goal, the Huskies (1-1) were 30-point favorites in their home opener, but they needed their second-half comeback to satisfy the Husky Stadium crowd of 70,147.
Washington trailed at home for the first time since Army led them 3-0 Sept. 23, 1995. The Huskies came back to win that game too, 21-13.
'It was important that we snapped out of that at halftime,' said Neuheisel, whose Huskies had lost four of their previous five games.
San Jose State (1-1) fell to 0-8 in its series with Washington, which started in 1958.
The Huskies got their second straight 300-yard passing day from Pickett, who was 22-for-35 for 347 yards. Reggie Williams caught six passes for 160 yards and two TDs, and Rich Alexis ran for 125 yards.
After losing two crucial fumbles and being shut out in the first half, the Huskies looked like a different team in the second half.
'We basically shot ourselves in the foot the whole first half,' Pickett said. 'We have lots of things to fix like that.'
The first two times Washington had the ball in the third quarter, Pickett threw touchdown passes of 22 yards to Wilbur Hooks and 21 yards to Williams, Washington's splendid 6-foor-4, 220-pound sophomore wide receiver.
Pickett then hooked up with Williams on an 89-yard scoring play early in the fourth quarter, and Williams did most of the work. He caught a short pass on the Washington 20, broke to the outside and sprinted down the right sideline to put Washington ahead 24-10.
It was the longest TD pass play in Washington's history.
Neuheisel complained this week that Williams wasn't in his best physical shape because of a foot injury that cost him practice time in the Huskies' fall drills.
'Anybody who thinks I was tired will think differently now,' Williams said, feigning anger at his coach. 'I just hit the sidelines like it was a 100-yard sprint.'
Then he yelled out at Neuheisel, who was in the back of the interview room.
'I'm in shape, Coach, back there in the corner. I do have stamina, Coach,' he shouted.
Williams said he wasn't worried at halftime.
'We were calm,' he said. 'We were anxious to get back out there and play again. We were confident and ready to do our thing.'
The Spartans built their halftime lead on a touchdown and a field goal in the second quarter after Pickett fumbled at the San Jose State 15. The Spartans would have led by more if Nick Gilliam hadn't missed field-goal attempts from 39 and 37 yards.
A 35-yard pass from Scott Rislov to Courtney Anderson to the Washington 2 set up freshman Ezekiel Staples' 1-yard touchdown run that gave San Jose State a 7-0 lead. After Gilliam's 43-yard field goal, Pickett lost another fumble on an exchange to Alexis at the San Jose State 2 with 37 seconds left in the first half.
But it was all Washington in the second half, with the Huskies going 80 and 46 yards for touchdowns the first two times they had the ball for a 14-10 lead.
San Jose State used two quarterbacks. Starter Scott Rislov completed 16 of 23 passes for 177 yards, while Marcus Arroyo was 5-for-13 for 59 yards with two interceptions.
Defensive tackle Terry Johnson batted a pass by Arroyo into the air and then grabbed it in the San Jose end zone for a touchdown, 65 seconds after Williams' 89-yard scoring catch.
Rislov, a transfer from North Dakota, played the first five series and left the game with a 7-0 lead.
'Steve Spurrier changes every play and we may go to that,' San Jose State coach Fitz Hill said about switching to Arroyo, who started the past two seasons for the Spartans.
Washington won its 15th consecutive home game since losing to Arizona State in Seattle.
By JIM COUR
AP Sports Writer