Dec 31, 2002
By CHRIS ROBERTS
Associated Press Writer
EL PASO, Texas - Purdue didn't have much success in its bowl games the last few years.
Quarterback Kyle Orton wanted to change that. Orton passed for 283 yards and two touchdowns as Purdue overcame a 17-point deficit to beat Washington 34-24 in the Sun Bowl on Tuesday.
Although Purdue (7-6) has gone to six straight bowl games under coach Joe Tiller, it had lost its last three before beating Washington.
In last year's Sun Bowl, Orton broke three game records with 74 passing attempts, 38 completions and 419 yards. But Purdue lost 33-27 to Washington State.
"We haven't proved how good we are in our last four bowl appearances, so today we redeemed ourselves," Orton said.
Tiller has never had a losing season at Purdue since taking over for the start of the 1997 season.
"It was a disappointing year, we have to get back to work. To get back to the upper echelon. Not only in our conference but in the national picture. This is not what I envisioned for the Washington Huskies."
"We played well here last year, but came up a little bit short," Tiller said. "But we were not to be denied this year."
John Standeford caught 10 passes for 105 yards and a touchdown, and Taylor Stubblefield caught seven passes for 92 yards for Purdue, which had 400 yards of offense to the Huskies' 316.
It wasn't easy for the Boilermakers, who overcame an early 17-point deficit.
"We got behind, but we never rolled over," Tiller said. "In an era where many teams do, we did not."
Cody Pickett was 25-of-54 with one interception and a touchdown for Washington (7-6). The Huskies took a 17-0 lead after the first quarter but did not score again until the fourth quarter.
"I can't explain why we played so poorly," Huskies coach Rick Neuheisel said. "We weren't clicking, but it was OK because Purdue hadn't caught their stride. But once they caught their stride, the game got away from us."
Purdue started its rally with 5:09 left in the second quarter when Orton threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to Standeford.
The Boilermakers scored again with 35 seconds before halftime on a bit of luck. Brandon Jones fumbled on the 1-yard line, but Ray Williams recovered the ball in the end zone to cap a 66-yard drive and make it 17-14 at the break.
After a 22-yard field goal by Berin Lacevic tied the game, Purdue took its first lead with 3:33 left in the third quarter on a 10-yard touchdown run by Joey Harris to make it 24-17. Harris led the Boilermakers with 93 yards on 23 carries.
"We know how to come from behind," Harris said. "We've beaten adversity all year."
Washington had a total of 44 yards rushing on 24 carries.
The Huskies finally scored again when Pickett threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to Patrick Reddick to make it 34-24 with 3:31 remaining.
Washington's last scoring attempt failed when John Anderson missed a 24-yard field goal with 15 seconds remaining.
"It was a disappointing year, we have to get back to work," Neuheisel said. "To get back to the upper echelon. Not only in our conference but in the national picture. This is not what I envisioned for the Washington Huskies."
In the first quarter, the Huskies needed less than three minutes to rack up 14 points.
Purdue kicker Brent Slaton fumbled a snap, and Washington recovered at the 7-yard line. On the next play, Pickett threw a touchdown pass to Reddick to give Washington a 7-0 lead.
Reddick was Washington's leading receiver with 63 yards on six catches for two touchdowns.
On Purdue's next series, Orton fumbled the snap, and Marquis Cooper recovered for the Huskies and ran the ball 31 yards for a touchdown to push Washington's lead to 14-0 with 8:40 left in the quarter.
"We were up 17-0 early, but it could have been 24 or 28 to nothing," Neuheisel said. "We squandered too many opportunities."
Wells Fargo sponsors the Sun Bowl.