Sept. 10, 2000
By JIM COUR
AP Sports Writer
SEATTLE - The pollsters are beginning to take greater notice of the Washington Huskies.
The Huskies jumped into the Top 10 in the the AP Top 25 on Sunday, No. 9 to be exact, following their impressive home victory over Miami.
"We were in a position last year to get some things done," quarterback Marques Tuiasosopo said, referring to Washington's late-season overtime loss to UCLA that cost them a trip to the Rose Bowl. "Hopefully, we learned some lessons."
"A lot of people hyped up Miami, but we're good, too," said defensive tackle Larry Triplett.
Saturday's 34-29 victory moved up the Huskies six positions in the poll, while Miami dropped from No. 4 to 12th.
Washington is at Colorado (0-2) next Saturday. Huskies coach Rick Neuheisel, who left Colorado for Washington, knows he's going to be booed loudly in Boulder.
"The focus will be too much on the coaches when what matters is what happens between the white lines," he said.
In Colorado, Neuheisel's critics said he couldn't coach and he couldn't recruit, either. But that was after he accepted Washington's $1 million-a-season contract.
Huskies fans and boosters would dispute those critics. After the win over Miami, Washington's bandwagon is becoming crowded.
Since Washington opened Neuheisel's first season with losses against BYU and Air Force, the Huskies are 9-3. The program has come a long way since coach Jim Lambright's 1998 team was embarrassed 45-25 by Air Force in the Oahu Bowl.
Washington was the preseason pick to win the Pac-10 and represent the conference in the Rose Bowl this season. In their first two games, the Huskies haven't done anything to suggest that was a bad call.
In this week's poll, USC and UCLA, both 2-0, are ranked 10th and 14th. Washington doesn't play USC and will be at home against the Bruins on Nov. 11.
"This is helping our recruiting right now," inside linebacker Jafar Williams said. "Everybody knows about the national championship and the success of the late '80s and early '90s. We want to get back there."
"This was a great opportunity for us," said Rich Alexis, a freshman running back from Florida who had a 50-yard touchdown run in the second half against Miami. "We're going to have a lot of energy carrying on to next week."
Tuiasosopo ran 12 yards for a touchdown and passed 23 yards to tight end Jerramy Stevens for a TD in the second quarter to give Washington a 21-3 halftime lead.
Tuiasosopo lost a fumble in the third quarter and threw two interceptions in the fourth, but the Huskies held on to ruin Miami's first visit to Husky Stadium.
In 1994, Washington won in the Orange Bowl to break Miami's NCAA record 58-game home winning streak.