Wasington vs. Arizona Postgame Notes and Quotes
Nov. 5, 2000
With the victory, the Huskies moved to 12-4-1 all-time against Arizona ... this was the Huskies' fifth straight win in which the game has been in doubt until late in the fourth quarter ... of Washington's eight wins this season, six have been by a touchdown or less ... the last time Washington won five straight was back in 1997 when the Huskies won five consecutive games under coach Jim Lambright from October 4-November 1.
So far this season, the Huskies are a perfect 5-0 at home ... overall they have won 55 of their last 67 games at Husky Stadium with one tie.
Time of possession didn't matter in this win as the Huskies had the ball for just 24:43 compared to the Wildcats' 35:17 time of possession ... this was the second straight game in which Washington had not won the time of possession battle as Stanford held a 31:13 to 28:47 advantage last week.
With the victory, Washington has come from behind to win in seven games this season (Idaho, Colorado, Oregon State, Arizona State, California, Stanford, Arizona). Washington has come from behind in 12 of its 15 victories under Coach Rick Neuheisel. Of those 12 come-from-behind wins, Washington has trailed in the fourth quarter and won eight times, including five this season (Colorado, Oregon State, California, Stanford and Arizona).
Washington scored 22 fourth-quarter points, which was the most since the California victory two weeks ago when the Huskies rallied with 23 points in the fourth quarter ... the 23 points had been the most by the Huskies since 1977 when they had 28 points against Stanford ... the Huskies have outscored their opponent in seven of nine games this year in the fourth quarter (130-61), but have been outgained (in terms of total offense) in seven of eight wins.
Washington's 211 net yards rushing was the most allowed by Arizona this year with the previous high being 137 yards by Oregon ... since 1947, Washington is 148-34-3 when a Husky player (in this case Willie Hurst who had a season-high 116 yards) rushes for 100 yards in a game ... this is only the third game this year in which the Huskies have had a 100-yard rusher.
UW's 35 points today equaled the total points allowed by the Arizona defense in four previous road games this season ... the Wildcats had surrendered just 35 points in their four previous road games in 2000 (3 points at both Utah and Stanford, 15 points at USC and 14 points at Oregon).
Despite having four turnovers on the day (3 fumbles, 1 interception), the Huskies allowed Arizona only three points following turnovers (a 38-yard field goal by Sean Keel in the 3rd quarter) ... for the season, Washington opponents have scored just five touchdowns and four field goals (47 points) following 24 Husky turnovers.
Arizona's field goal on its opening drive marked just the second time that the Wildcats have scored on its first offensive possession this season ... the other score was a 75-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Ortege Jenkins to Bobby Wade on October 7, at USC.
Arizona's first quarter touchdown drive of 13 plays for 84 yards in 6:03 was the team's longest scoring drive of the year in number of plays, yards and duration.
Husky Larry Tripplett's block of Arizona kicker Sean Keel's PAT attempt in the first quarter was the first one missed by the Wildcats this season... Arizona had been 21-for-21 on PAT attempts entering today's game, with the last miss being November 27, 1999, against Arizona State.
Husky quarterback Marques Tuiasosopo's 46-yard scamper, setting up UW's first quarter touchdown, tied a career long. Tuiasosopo also had a 46-yard run in a 20-10 win versus BYU in 1998.
Tuiasosopo's one-yard rushing touchdown in the first quarter was just the fifth rushing touchdown allowed by Arizona this season (the Huskies' Willie Hurst would later score two more rushing touchdowns in the fourth quarter, while Tuiasosopo would add the game-winner with a two-yard run also in the fourth) ... with his two rushing touchdowns, Tuiasosopo moved into a tie for fourth in single-season rushing touchdowns with six in 2000 ... he also had six rushing touchdowns last season and former standout Dennis Fitzpatrick had six in 1974.
With Washington's touchdown in the first quarter, it marked the 225th consecutive time the Huskies have not been shutout.
Arizona junior fullback Mike Detweiler's second quarter touchdown run was his first career rushing attempt ... he has two touches this season - both for touchdowns ... he also had a touchdown catch on Oct. 14 versus Washington State.
Arizona came into the game averaging 298.9 yards of total offense a game (last in the Pac-10), but put up 301 yards of total offense on 51 plays after just two quarters ... the Wildcats also had the ball for 22:49 during the first half, close to their average time of possession per game of 30:00 ... Arizona was 6-of-9 on third downs in the first half, despite ranking last in the Pac-10 with a 24.1 percent per game conversion rate (28-for-116).
Wildcat Bobby Wade's 60-yard punt return for a touchdown in the third quarter was the first punt returned for a touchdown against the Huskies since UCLA's Ryan Roques recorded a 81-yard return for a score in 1998.
Washington junior tailback Willie Hurst's 65-yard run for a touchdown in the fourth quarter was the longest run of his career and the longest given up by Arizona this season with the previous long being Husky quarterback Marques Tuiasosopo's 46-yard run in the first quarter.
With his career-high eight receptions for 93 yards against the Wildcats, UW sophomore tight end Jerramy Stevens moved into the fifth spot in career receptions by a tight end with 59.
Arizona running back Leo Mills' 29 carries for 185 yards was a career high for both number of carries and total yards ... Mills' previous career highs came against Washington State earlier this season when he posted 129 yards on 19 carries .. it was also Mills' second career game with 100+ rushing yards ... his 51-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter also was a career long with his previous being a 35-yard run versus UCLA in 1999.
Other Notes: Washington senior outside linebacker Odell George made his first career start for the Huskies against Arizona ... Arizona senior center Bruce Wiggins made his first start since Sept. 16, versus SDSU. Prior to missing the last five games due to an ankle injury, Wiggins had made 28 consecutive starts.
Washington Head Coach Rick Neuheisel
GENERAL COMMENTS: "Another day at Husky Stadium. The emotion of the week was unusual. Any time one of your own is put into a situation like Curtis Williams finds himself in, it's difficult to predict what exactly is going to be the response of your team. As the head coach this week, I just kept telling myself to do what I thought was the right thing to do. I had a conversation with Sue Paterno earlier in the week to see what Joe had done in Adam's situation and got some good ideas. We all lined up on the field in the shape of the number 25 and with a little "c" on the top for Curtis. It lit the kid up like a Christmas tree. We flew out there courtesy of some real friends of the program. We were able to spend a half-hour with him. We feel really good with his improvement this week. His eyes are telling us he's going to fight. The emotion was really high in today's game. I think we played a little drained in the first half. But somehow we were able to fight. We've done it all year. It all comes down to the fourth quarter and for some reason we've been great in the fourth quarter this season. Really pleased with the victory and pleased that Curtis was able to watch the game."
ON SUE PATERNO: "Never give up. Try not to discourage hope, but not to encourage hope. I was a mouth piece for our team."
ON CURTIS WILLIAMS: "We know he's going to make it back. We know what he's capable of it. Where there's a will there's a way."
ON THE MOOD AT HALF TIME: "I told everybody to take a deep breath, it's been an emotional week. I don't care what the score is right now, just go out there and play. Let's fill our tanks."
ON THE FIRST HALF: "We weren't flying around like we were at the end of the ballgame and I don't know if that had to do with all the events of the last week or fatigue. But we were able to pick it up in the second half."
ON GREG CAROTHERS: "When recruiting Greg Carothers we knew he was a physical player. We're really please with him as well as our other freshmen. He comes to play, he doesn't think the game is too difficult for him. He just always finds a way. He's got a great future and a lot of talent."
ON WILLIE HURST: "Willie Hurst kind of symbolizes what this team is made of. He's a young man that has all the competitiveness you could find in a person. He's a guy who believes he's the best in the world. He continues to keep his head up and he is always ready to play. I'm not sure how he stayed on his feet on that first touchdown. But I'm sure that I'm going to have to rewind that play a couple of times to see how he did that."
ON THE TEAM AND CROWD: "It's amazing that after a 50-yard touch down run, that the team comes to life. And about 70,000 other people came to life at that point too. That was a huge play in the game."
ON THE FOURTH QUARTER: "It's becoming known that we like the fourth quarter. Our kids are great in the fourth quarter. I don't think that they hold back anything for the fourth quarter, they just seem to come alive in the fourth.
ON RICH ALEXIS: "He's a great kid. I think he's a bonafide player and he is going to have a great career here. The other tailbacks have helped to teach him, I like to see that."
ON RESILENCY: "We have taken so many shots on the chin this year we're starting to look like Jerry Quarry. Some how, some way we keep standing and I believe it's attributed to the kids. They find ways."
QUARTERBACK MARQUES TUIASOSOPO
On the option: "It was a combination of a little of everything. We blocked a little different that we had in the past. Ken Walker had a really great block on Willie's first run on a cornerback that was crashing. As a quarterback you see that and hope he can get a body on him and he did and Willie did the rest. Coach Gilbertson made some great calls and we were able to execute."
On keeping composure: "We weren't nervous and we weren't too fired up. We were focused. We knew we could do it. Arizona had a tough defense, especially against the run because they fly around a lot. It was nice to see that we could come together and get it done like we did last week."
On playing for Curtis: "We didn't talk about it too much today. We did a lot of talking about it this week, and not to say we weren't thinking about him today but I think we had a game to concentrate on and it was all about playing hard. We talked about it before the game and decided and that the best way to help out our friend is to play hard and get a victory for him. I hope he Curtis saw this game."
TAILBACK WILLIE HURST
On the success of the option: "Arizona has a very difficult scheme to run against. It took us a while to feel them out and get a body on a body but once we did we were blasting off them on all cylinders"
On dealing with adversity this season: "I feel satisfaction for playing well of course but I am not here to tell anyone 'I told you so'. I just want to help the team win and play as best as I can."
On his two touchdown runs: "The holes looked huge. The linemen blocked well and the receivers had some great downfield blocks. They all had the hard part. I had the easy part which was to just run."
On thinking about Curtis during the game: "We definitely thought about it. The number 25 is on our jerseys and our helmets and all over the place. There was a big ceremony before the game. We wanted to win the game for him. We came out a little slow but we talked about it at half time, picked it up and said this game is for Curtis. We can't lose because he's watching it. Thankfully we pulled it out for him."
WIDE RECEIVER WILBUR HOOKS
On fourth quarter comebacks: "It's unbelievable how this team has been able to do this week after week. It doesn't matter what the situation is, we are going to find a way to pull through. As long as there is time on the clock we feel anything is possible. Today we felt like if we could come back at the Cal game and if we could come back in the Stanford game then we can do this."
LINEBACKER BEN MAHDAVI
On second half adjustments: "In the first half we were getting back because we were not filling the gaps. Coach told us to maintain our gaps and play run defense and we were successful."
LINEBACKER DERRELL DANIELS
On emotion: "The beginning of the game was hard with the tribute to Curtis. I think a lot of people's minds were on that in the first quarter and part of the second quarter. After that we were able to get into the routine of the game and we were able to regain our focus and play a lot better."
On the fourth quarter: "The fourth quarter was great and I'll take the win but that means we didn't play well the first three quarter sand we need to work on that."
SAFETY GREG CAROTHERS
On stepping in for Curtis: "I didn't let it effect my performance. I know C-Dub very well and I know he would want me to come out and play the way I did. [My big hit] felt good. That's what I'm here for . That's what C-Dub did and I was just trying to fill his shoes."
Arizona Head Coach Dick Tomey
GENERAL COMMENTS: "It was a heartbreaking loss. We had a really emotional team meeting last night. They just poured their hearts out to each other. The same love and respect they have for each other was out there today. We just all feel terrible we weren't rewarded with a win. I just told them I believe in them and I wouldn't trade them for any team in this conference. I think before this thing is over, we are going to have a chance to celebrate again. We are going to have to keep doing what it takes to get the job done. This is not an easy game, nobody said this would be easy. I just believe very much in these guys, I love them and I can't say enough about them. We'll have our day. I think they have given everything they've got and they're doing everything they can do and we're just not quite getting it done. I hate it, but we'll have our day. I'm not going to apologize for this football team. I'm proud of them. They are battling out there. I hurt for them and wish they could be rewarded."
ON THE ARIZONA RUNNING GAME: "(center) Bruce Wiggins is a big help and moving Marques (McFadden) to left tackle is a big help as well. Leo (Mills) did a terrific job taking kickoffs back and in general."
ON THE WASHINGTON OPTION: "It hurt us. We had a lot of trouble with it. We busted assignments. Option football is the most difficult thing to defend in college football if it is run correctly by the right kind of guy and they have the right kind of guy."
ON WASHINGTON'S FOURTH QUARTER COMEBACK: "There was no letdown on our team, guys were playing as hard as they can. They just made some plays in the fourth quarter. They are a good football team. You've got to give them some credit, but I think we just didn't get the job done. They've had a habit of being a great fourth quarter football team and they did it again. They've done it all year, except in the Oregon game. If you are going to pick a spot to be great, that is certainly it. We talked about them being a great fourth quarter team all week."
ON ARIZONA'S FOURTH QUARTER OFFENSE: "I thought we did some things that were good and some things that weren't so good. We just didn't do enough on offense."
ON THE POOCH KICK ON KICKOFFS: "We were trying to kick it to those big tackles and see if they could fumble it, they didn't."
ON ARIZONA'S PLAY AFTER THE HALF: "I think Washington just played better. We still hurt them some with the run, but I think they played better. We had trouble getting the ball away from them in the second half. They had the ball much more in the second half than they did in the first half."
QUARTERBACK ORTEGE JENKINS
On the success in the first half: "I think in the first half we just executed the plays that they asked us to do. They had a good game plan in place. We expected to be able to run the ball. Maybe not that well, but once we were able to move the ball on the ground, we were able to counter with the pass. Our goal was to establish the running the ball. Leo (Mills), (Larry) Croom, did a great job. We wanted to be a little more balanced in our attack. The offensive line came up huge."
On second half letdown: "We needed to stay aggressive, and we didn't do that. We need to move the ball down the field and attack. I think our attitude was different, and we didn't execute."
On three straight close losses: "It not once, twice, but three losses in a row. It hurts bad. I never lose my confidence, but its difficult to play such a good game, and not come away with a win. We have to just win these next two games. Playing ASU is like a second season. It's going to be a battle and we have to try to pull one out."
On Marques Tuiasosopo: "He's a great quarterback. I have a lot of respect for him, and he has a lot of respect for me. We have similar style games. I told him good luck, and he wished me the same."
RUNNING BACK LEO MILLS
On success running the ball: "The offensive line was opening up holes and I was hitting them. In the second half we did not come out and win the game. We came out with a good attitude, but just didn't get it done. I was just trying to get positive yards. After the game in the locker room coach just told us to keep our head up, work hard, and get ready for next week."
DEFENSIVE END JOE TAFOYA
General comments on the game: "We played with our hearts. We have to keep practicing and fighting our way in there. We have to keep our heads up and stay together."
On Marques Tuiasosopo: "He is one of those guys who controls the game at all times. He is strong and quick. He uses not only his arms, but his legs.
Difference between the first and second half: "They (UW) started picking up the option. They keyed in on the defensive schemes we would be running. They broke through with some big plays."
"We knew they (UW) were a comeback team. Tui makes things happen. We had a shot to win it, but many times we just didn't capitalize."
WIDE RECEIVER BOBBY WADE
General comments on the game: "I give the Huskies credit. They are a good team and they played well. This has been the same situation as our last two games where we missed the fourth quarter. One of the five keys to victory that coach always talks about is winning critical points. That is something we didn't capitalize on."
On the crowd: "They weren't really a factor except in the fourth quarter. We encourage the crowd to be loud. They didn't really influence the game. It was our lack of execution and conversions when needed that was a factor in the kid."
Goals for the rest of the season: "We need to finish strong and get a big win over Oregon State. They are a great team as well as Arizona State. Hopefully we can get those two wins and then just go from there."