PASADENA, Calif.- Because Marques Tuiasosopo came back, Washington
didn't need a comeback in the Rose Bowl. When the quarterback left the
field with an injured throwing shoulder late in the third quarter
Monday, it appeared Washington's hopes went with him even though the
Huskies led Purdue by three points. "I was mad," Tuiasosopo said. "I was
like: `Can you believe this, the Rose Bowl game?"' He missed three
plays, returned before the start of the fourth quarter and then guided
No. 4 Washington to two touchdowns and a 34-24 victory over the
Voted the player of the game, Tuiasosopo ran for one touchdown, passed
for another and accounted for 213 yards. "He is the absolute epitome of
what a quarterback should be," Washington coach Rick Neuheisel said. "He
hurt his shoulder. He came back in there and said he could play. The
rest, as they say, is history."
Washington (11-1) finished the season with an eight-game winning streak.
The Huskies rallied for eight victories this season, outscoring the
opposition 144-68 in the fourth quarter during the regular season (audio).
Once again, they were dominant in the final 15 minutes. The Huskies gave
the Pac-10 its first Rose Bowl victory in five years and just its second
in the last nine games. Washington was playing in its first Rose Bowl in
The Huskies started the fourth quarter with a three-yard run by Rich
Alexis on fourth-and-1 from the Purdue 35. Six plays later, Tuiasosopo
threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to Todd Elstrom, extending the lead to 10
points. A little over a minute later, Greg Carothers forced and
recovered a fumble by Montrell Lowe - the game's first turnover - at the
Washington 34. Lowe, who gained 79 yards on 20 carries, was injured on
the play and didn't return. The Huskies then moved 66 yards on seven
plays, scoring on an eight-yard run by Willie Hurst to make it 34-17
with 7:25 left.
The Boilermakers drew within 10 points on a 42-yard run by Sedrick Brown
on a fourth-and-1 with 6:37 left and got the ball back a little over a
minute later, when Tuiasosopo threw a lateral Elstrom couldn't handle at
the end of a 26-yard run and Ashante Woodyard recovered at the Purdue
49. However, Travis Dorsch was wide left on a 42-yard field goal with
4:54 to play, and the Huskies then ran out the clock. Tuiasosopo gained
five yards on a fourth-and-1 play from the Washington 45 with a little
less than three minutes left.
The Boilermakers (8-4), playing in their first Rose Bowl in 34 years and
second ever, got off to a disastrous start, falling behind 14-0 before
the game was 10 1/2 minutes old. They contributed to their problems by
committing six first-quarter penalties. But they would tie the game
17-all in the third quarter.
"I think their physical offensive line had a big hand in the game, and
certainly, their quarterback is an exceptional player, without a doubt,"
Purdue coach Joe Tiller said. "They did what they had to do to win the
game. "I thought our team had its moments. I liked the way we came back
in the first half after digging ourselves a hole. Our offense under
performed. We did not put ourselves in position to win the game."
Tuiasosopo was 16-of-22 for 138 yards, and rushed for 75 yards on 15
carries. Purdue's Drew Brees, like Tuiasosopo playing in his final
college game, was 23-of-39 for 275 yards and two touchdowns - both to
Vinny Sutherland. "It was a great road getting here," Brees said. "It
was a dream season. Of course, I'm upset that we lost this game, but I
thought that we played hard and we never gave up." Paralyzed Washington
safety Curtis Williams was transported to the Rose Bowl from his
rehabilitation center in San Jose, and watched the game from a suite in
the press box. Williams, wearing his game jersey while sitting in a
wheelchair, spent about 10 minutes with his teammates in an emotional
locker room before the game. The Huskies wore his initials on their
jerseys. A fifth-year senior from Fresno, Williams was paralyzed from
the neck down during Washington's 31-28 victory at Stanford on Oct. 28.
Carothers, a redshirt freshman, replaced him as a starter.
Brees slipped on the game's first play for an 8-yard loss, and was
sacked two plays later - just the ninth sack allowed by Purdue all
season. The Boilermakers punted, and Washington drove 64 yards to take a
7-0 lead, scoring on a 1-yard run by Braxton Cleman. Purdue then moved
into Washington territory before having to punt, but Tim Stratton's snap
sailed over Scott Kurz's head for a 30-yard loss, and the Huskies needed
only three plays to move 25 yards, scoring on a 5-yard run by Tuiasosopo.
"I thought my snap changed the momentum of the game," Stratton said. The
Boilermakers responded with a 90-yard, 16-play drive, scoring on a
5-yard pass from Brees to Sutherland early in the second quarter. Dorsch
kicked a 26-yard field goal with 26 seconds left before halftime to cut
Washington's lead to 14-10. The Boilermakers had to settle for three
points because John Standeford dropped a potential 27-yard touchdown
pass from Brees 27 seconds earlier.
Alexis, who gained 78 yards on 10 carries, ran 50 yards on the first
play of the second half to set up a 47-yard field goal by John Anderson,
but the Boilermakers tied the game 17-all a little over a minute later
on a 24-yard pass from Brees to Sutherland five plays after Sutherland's
51-yard kickoff return (video). Anderson's 42-yard field goal with 6:55 left in
the third quarter put Washington on top to stay.
UW- Cleman 1 run (Anderson kick)
UW- M Tuiasosopo 5 run (Anderson kick)
PU- Sutherland 5 pass from Brees (Dorsch kick)
PU- FG Dorsch 26
UW- FG Anderson 47
PU- Sutherland 24 pass from Brees (Dorsch kick)
UW- FG Anderson 42
UW- Elstrom 8 pass from M Tuiasosopo (Anderson kick)
UW- Hurst 8 run (Anderson kick)
PU- Brown 42 run (Dorsch kick)
PU- Lowe 20-79, Brown 3-52
UW- Alexis 10-78, Tuiasosopo 15-75, Hurst 9-53, Conniff 8-45
PU- Brees 23-39-275
UW- Tuiasosopo 16-22-138
PU- Sutherland 7-88, J Standeford 5-67, Simpson 3-32, Stratton 2-26, S
Morales 2- 24, Winston 2-14
UW- Stevens 5-51, Elstrom 4-24, Reddick 3-30, Collier 2-30