Wildcats Drop Close One To No. 22 Huskies

Oct. 12, 2002

AP Sports Writer

SEATTLE (AP) - Reggie Williams thought it was just an ordinary day. His performance, though, was extraordinary.

Williams caught three touchdown passes, including the game-winner on an 80-yard play from Cody Pickett with 2:03 remaining, as No. 22 Washington beat Arizona 32-28 on Saturday.

'Nothing spectacular,' Williams insisted.

Sorry, but Williams had a great day.

Williams caught eight passes for 184 yards and the Huskies (4-2, 1-1 Pac-10) rallied for the third straight year to beat Arizona and came back from a loss last week to California that ended their 17-game home winning streak.

'Just about anytime, magic can happen with this offense,' Washington linebacker Ben Mahdavi said. 'They've got so many weapons. It's always fun to watch Reggie. It's fun to watch all of our guys.'

The Huskies, trailing 28-26, forced a punt and took over at their own 20 with 2:20 remaining. On the second play, Williams slipped under the Arizona defense, caught an 8-yard pass from Pickett and outran Clay Hardt and Sean Keel down the left sideline.

'Just before that, I told everybody things were going to be all right,' Williams said. 'It was an audible, and I just caught a little slant. Then I got past two guys and it was only me and No. 33. And there was no way he was going to catch me.'

Pickett completed 25 of 35 passes for 345 yards without an interception, leading Washington in a shootout against Arizona's Jason Johnson, who was 29-of-41 for 443 yards and three TDs.

It was a highlight-reel display by standout receivers for both teams.

The Wildcats (3-3, 0-2) got 10 catches for 155 yards from Bobby Wade and nine catches for 142 yards by Andrae Thurman. But they couldn't prevent Arizona from losing to Washington for the seventh time in eight games.

'It's my third time, them coming in and beating me like that,' Wade said. 'It's tough.'

The Wildcats didn't have leading rusher Clarence Farmer, out with torn knee ligaments. Safety Jarvie Worcester broke his right arm in the third and center Keoki Fraser went out in the fourth with an undisclosed injury.

'I don't think anybody outside the team knows what we're going through, injury-wise,' Arizona coach John Mackovic said. 'But that's not an excuse.'

Wade gave the Wildcats a 28-21 lead early in the fourth quarter when he caught a pass from Johnson at Washington's 22, then dodged tackles by Marquis Cooper and Chris Massey and sprinted into the end zone for a 28-yard TD play.

'This one is tough to swallow because we feel we're so close to winning the close games,' Johnson said.

That drive, the first of the fourth quarter, was set up by Washington's only punt.

Earlier in the game, an interception bounced off Massey's fingers and into Thurman's arms. The 20-yard TD pass from Johnson pulled the Wildcats to 26-21 with 58 seconds remaining in the third quarter.

After Williams scored his third TD, neither team could finish off the other. The Wildcats lined up in a five-wideout set on their final series, and Washington sent five linemen rushing on every snap.

Under pressure, Johnson threw two incompletions. Then on fourth-and-6 from Arizona's 39-yard line, his pass to Lance Relford down the right sideline was broken up by Jimmy Newell.

'They made some good plays,' Johnson said. 'I give them credit for making the big plays at the end.'

The Wildcats got their own big play earlier in the fourth, temporarily protecting the 28-26 lead. Washington's John Anderson set up for a 28-yard field goal attempt, but the Wildcats got a good surge and Mike Schwertley blocked the kick.

Pickett and Williams also combined for a 26-yard scoring play and a 23-14 lead almost four minutes into the second half. Williams made the catch at the 15, then bounced free and went untouched the rest of the way.

They also had a 10-yard scoring play in the second quarter for a 16-7 lead.

Anderson hit a 52-yard field goal, the third-longest in Washington history, to put the Huskies ahead 26-14 with 2:50 remaining in the third.

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