Huskies Break Out On Offense, Down Idaho 41-27
Sept. 28, 2002
SEATTLE (AP) - Cody Pickett is talented enough to put up some of the biggest passing days in Washington history. And he's smart enough to realize he's not doing it by himself.
Pickett threw for 438 yards - the second-most in school history - and three touchdowns as the 13th-ranked Huskies defeated Idaho 41-27 Saturday.
Pickett was 32-of-44 without an interception, one week after throwing for 404 yards in a 38-7 victory over Wyoming. That performance ranks third and Pickett also holds the school record of 455 yards, set in last year's win over Arizona.
'It's cool to have those records, but I'm not really worried about it right now,' Pickett said. 'We're trying to get wins. When I'm done with my career, I can look back and be proud of those things.'
Coach Rick Neuheisel spoke all week about improving Washington's option attack, but there was no need because of Pickett's arm. By halftime, he was 22-of-31 for 293 yards, and the Huskies led 28-3.
'We take what they give us,' Neuheisel said. 'Cody was good. He's a good player, and he had it going today.'
Pickett threaded arrow-straight passes into places only his receivers could reach. By day's end, he spread his passes to nine teammates.
'He's dropping diamonds to everyone right now,' said tailback Rich Alexis, who caught six passes for 87 yards.
Washington (3-1) sustained a setback when standout receiver Reggie Williams didn't return after spraining his left knee early in the second quarter. He's expected to play in next week's Pac-10 opener against California.
'I got tackled funny,' Williams said. 'I got bent out of shape. It scared me a little bit at the first impact, but I would have definitely played in the second half if it was a Pac-10 game. I'll definitely play next Saturday.'
Idaho quarterback Brian Lindgren was 22-of-38 for 309 yards and two TDs, but the Vandals (1-4) still haven't beaten Washington since 1905. At least they kept it closer than last year's 53-3 loss.
'We came out and were in awe,' Idaho coach Tom Cable said. 'We were soft defensively, really out of sync.'
Even without Williams, Pickett dissected the Idaho defense. In the second quarter, he threw to tight end Kevin Ware for touchdowns of 9 and 2 yards, and found Charles Frederick for a highlight-reel 74-yard TD play.
Frederick took a 10-yard hitch from Pickett, dodged a defender and weaved his way downfield. He broke four tackles, including one at the goal line.
'What flashed in my mind was just beating the first guy,' Frederick said. 'When I saw the field open up, I just kept on going and going.'
Frederick also returned a kickoff 43 yards midway through the third quarter, setting up a 20-yard field goal by John Anderson for a 31-10 lead. Anderson also kicked a 36-yard field goal in the fourth to make it 41-20.
The Washington defense contributed, too. Safety Greg Carothers helped the Huskies to a 7-0 lead when he scooped a one-bounce fumble by Idaho's Blair Lewis and ran 25 yards to the end zone five minutes after the opening kickoff.
'We had some miscommunication with the defensive line,' Carothers said. 'I ran over to get the ball, but I ran from a place where I wasn't supposed to be.'
The Vandals finally got organized late in the second quarter, moving 48 yards in 30 seconds to score on a 49-yard field goal by Keith Stamps on the final play of the half. That cut the lead to 28-3.
After Idaho forced Washington's first punt in two games during the third quarter, Lindgren needed only three plays to get the Vandals to 28-10 on a 16-yard TD pass to Christopher Belser.
Pickett was too much, though. The only time he was denied was when the sideline official ruled his dive toward the end zone midway through the third period wasn't good enough for a TD.
Unable to find an open receiver, Pickett faked out linebacker Chad Kodama and leaped for the pylon. The ball, though, was placed at the 1 for fourth down, and Anderson kicked his first field goal.
'I saw the highlight, and I thought I was in,' Pickett said.
By TIM KORTE
AP Sports Writer