Nov 16, 2002
By ANNE M. PETERSON
AP Sports Writer
EUGENE, Ore. (AP) - Cody Pickett's record breaking day assured the Washington Huskies of at least a break-even season - and some bragging rights.
Cody Pickett threw for 316 yards and four touchdowns and set the Pac-10 record for single-season passing yardage in Washington's 42-14 victory over No. 23 Oregon on Saturday.
Pickett increased his total to 3,818 yards to surpass Ryan Leaf, who threw for 3,637 yards for Washington State in 1997.
Pickett also has 305 completions this season to break Steve Stenstrom's Pac-10 record of 300 for Stanford in 1993.
"I'm proud of him," Washington coach Rick Neuheisel said. "But I think he'd trade it all in for an unblemished record."
With one game left, Saturday's win helped the Huskies (6-5, 3-4) avoid their first losing season since 1976. The Huskies play conference leader Washington State next week in the Apple Cup.
The Ducks (7-4, 3-4) were ranked sixth after a 6-0 start, but they've lost four of their last five. Oregon hadn't lost its home finale in its previous nine seasons.
"That was humbling," center Dan Weaver said.
The Ducks were further hurt when it was revealed after the game that star tailback Onterrio Smith would have surgery on his left knee on Monday.
Smith unexpectedly did not dress for Saturday's game, but most assumed it was because he strained his right big toe last week against Washington State.
Smith, who injured the knee against Southern California on Oct. 26, will miss Oregon's season finale against Oregon State next Saturday but should be back in time for a bowl game.
Although Washington has also had a disappointing season, at least the Huskies could retain some dignity with a victory over the Ducks, their Northwest rival for a century.
The series between the teams, which took a hiatus last season, has been contentious at times. Two seasons ago the Ducks handed the Rose Bowl-bound Huskies their only loss of the season.
This year, the team celebrated with their fans in Autzen Stadium long after the game.
"We earned this win and we had fun doing it," defensive tackle Terry Johnson said.
Oregon jumped out to a first-quarter lead on Jason Fife's 8-yard touchdown pass to Samie Parker, followed by a 37-yard pass to Jason Willis, who foiled two converging defenders with a running catch.
Washington came back with a 5-yard scoring run by Alexis, who flipped into the end zone to make it 14-7. The Huskies tied it on Pickett's 23-yard TD pass to Williams midway through the second quarter.
Oregon tried backup quarterback Kellen Clemens to start the second half, but the experiment failed. Clemens' first pass attempt was picked off by Washington cornerback Derrick Johnson.
On the next play, Alexis ran 13 yards for a touchdown to put the Huskies ahead 21-14. It got worse for the Ducks when normally accurate kicker Jared Siegel missed a 39-yard field goal attempt.
Late in the third quarter, Keenan Howry fumbled a punt return, and the turnover resulted in Pickett's 6-yard TD pass to Patrick Reddick to make it 28-14.
"We wanted to change the tempo and get a little excitement," Oregon coach Mike Bellotti said about the quarterback switch. "We felt we needed a spark."
But Pickett found Williams twice in the fourth quarter with scoring passes of 47 and 41 yards to put the game out of reach.
Pickett also set a school record with 467 career completions, surpassing Damon Huard's mark of 458, set from 1992-95.
Pickett's 25 touchdowns this season pass Huard's school record of 23 in 1997.
"We came in here, played in a hostile environment and got a win," Pickett said. "It's a great feeling."
Fife, who returned for the Ducks late in the third quarter, completed 10 of 29 passes for 170 yards and two touchdowns.
It might have been the last home game at Oregon for Smith, who could declare himself eligible for the NFL draft. The Ducks go on the road for next week's Civil War against Oregon State.
Smith has 1,101 yards rushing this season with 12 touchdowns. He entered Saturday's game ranked second in the Pac-10 with an average of 119.9 yards a game.