Huskies hibernate, then Bears slumber
by Malamute, 30 September 2001
If you can't run the ball in the Pac-10, you'd better have a good defense, a good passing game, a solid kicking game and some guys who can take it to the house. Throw in a competent coaching staff and you can survive on the road. Washington (3-0, 1-0) has all of the above, and managed to eek out a win on a gorgeous day at Strawberry Canyon, barely beating a team from Cal (0-4, 0-2) that was mad as hell, having lost 18 straight games to Washington. Make that 19 games now, as well as 4-straight losses this season.
After Cal jumped off to a 14-point lead, Washington struck back after recovering a fumble on the Bears' 42. Up to that point, Cal looked unbeatable--virtually unstoppable. In this key play of the game, Cody Pickett hit Paul Arnold for a 42-yard touchdown pass, his first touchdown pass of the season. It was a remarkable throw--Elwayesque--as Pickett ran to his right, scrambling for his life, then lofted a perfect pass that caught Arnold in full stride at the two-yard line.
But there were more Pickett/Arnold heroics to be had.
Down 21-10 at half, Pickett hit Arnold with a 62-yard touchdown pass, to close the gap at 21-17 with 4:43 left in the third quarter.
Rich Alexis ran for two touchdowns in the fourth quarter. After Alexis' last run, the Huskies led 31-21 with 5:26 to go.
Kyle Boller connected with Chase Lyman for a 20-yard touchdown pass, with 3:23 left. That made it 31-28. The Dawgs went three and out, but their defense held on for the win.
(Photo of Rich Alexis shown above, courtesy of dawgman.com).
Bits and Pieces:
Enjoying the warm winds that kept him loose, Derek McLaughlin cannonaded a 74-yard punt in the early going, which is a school record. He did that backed up in his own end zone, with the ball on the Dawgs' one yard line. The previous record was 73 yards, which was held by Ryan Fleming (BYU 1999) and Don Feleay (Navy 1975). McLaughlin averaged 49.7 yards per punt, on 7 punts.
Charles Frederick had a 27-yard punt return.
Reggie Williams had a fine day receiving, 5-116.
Enough can't be said about the play of Cody Pickett, who had a perfect day passing, going 18-33-0 for 291 yards and two touchdowns. Remember, he's just a sophomore, with two games behind him. He didn't have the luxury of a running game to offset the pass rush in the early going. This guy is cool.
Although Washington's running game is not up to last year's standards, it's passing game is better thanks to its talented receivers and the strong arm of Cody Pickett.
However, on the down side, the loss of Jerramy Stevens has hurt the Huskies immeasurably. Kevin Ware was the only tight end who caught a pass during the game, a 17 yard pass play. Stevens had been an integral part of the Dawgs' offense before the injury he suffered against Idaho.
Washington barely had the ball during the whole first quarter. Yet the dawgs won the time-of-possession battle.
"It's an amazing deal," Rich Neuheisel was quoted as saying after the game. "I can only imagine what they're thinking on the other side."
Individual Statistics:RUSHING: Washington-- Alexis 26-94, Frederick 1-8, Walker 3-7 Pickett 13-3, Singleton 1-3. California-- Igber 21-44, Boller 5-25, T Williams 4-25 Team 1 for -1, Fields 1 for -3. PASSING: Washington--Pickett 18-33-0-291. California--Boller 21-36-0-265, T Williams 1-1-0-15, Prelle 0-1-0-0. RECEIVING: Washington-- Arnold 5-116, Williams 3-63, Hooks Jr. 3-43, Elstrom 3-36, Alexis 2-16, Ware 1-17, Robbins 1-0. California--Arnold 7-5, Fields 3-54, S Currin 3-40, Igber 2-31, Lyman 2-29, J Hunter 2-15, Boller 1-15, T. Williams 1-13, Swoboda 1-8.