To Stanford, Tui was a pain in the butt

It was a quintessential Marques Tuiasosopo performance on October 20, 1999. His team was trailing the Stanford Cardinal 23-12 in the 3rd quarter and things seemed bleak. He had no breakaway threats to throw to, and was hobbled from a bruised backside that was inflicting tremendous pain with each step he took and each hit he absorbed.

Yet when the day was over, he had guided the Huskies to a 35-30 home field victory over Stanford. He had also become the first player in NCAA history to run for 200 yards and pass for 300 yards.

If at some point Tui had scampered 97 yards for a touchdown, and later connected on an 84-yard TD pass, his overall numbers would make sense. After all, his numbers would have been grossly inflated by these huge plays.

However, Tuiasosopo's longest run of the day was 30 yards, and his longest pass was also just 30 yards! He rushed for 207 yards and passed for an additional 302. Instead of landing haymakers, Tui kept floating like a butterfly and stinging like a bee.

The "sting like a bee" phrase is more appropriate than you might think.

On the second play of the game, Marques Tuiasosopo took a severe hit and was planted on his posterior so hard that he could barely move. One play later as the Huskies were punting, Tui ran off the field, up the Husky Stadium tunnel, and into the locker room, where he would drop his drawers and receive a shot of cortisone to numb the searing pain.

He quickly hiked up his pants and ran back down the tunnel and onto the Husky sideline without missing an offensive play.

He hobbled around like a newborn deer as he fought the swelling from the bruise and the numbness from the injection. But sure enough, his command over his legs returned.

Against the nation's #25 ranked team, the Huskies rolled up 670 yards of total offense. Each time when the Husky QB took the snap, some type of strong willed determination would come over him, and his movements around the field were graceful, tough and effective. At each play's conclusion, Tui would seemingly age about forty years and sometimes need help up. He would then hobble back to the huddle, his eyes simultaneously trained upon the sideline for the next call being signaled in.

If you could show me a more courageous effort on the field, I'd be shocked. What Tui did that afternoon was the stuff memories are made of.

It was with 9:00 left in the third quarter that Tui took an option around end and incredibly ran 30 yards for a touchdown! Back on the bench moments later, he was in utter agony as the shot wore off and the bruise began to make him stiffen up. But his team had closed to within 23-19.

A field goal made it 23-22.

Then with 9:48 left in the 4th quarter, Tuiasosopo took the ball and maneuvered through the defense for a 10-yard touchdown to put the Huskies up 28-23. The Husky defense followed this with a valiant stop, and the Dawgs looked to run out the clock. A simple off tackle smash by Maurice Shaw turned into a majestic 48-yard run right up the gut of the Stanford defense and straight on down the field. Husky Stadium erupted with delirium and relief, as the game's outcome was sealed with this touchdown. The Cardinal rallied for a last-second touchdown, but it was too little, too late.

A lot of attention came Tuiasosopo's way following this grand performance. Yet, I never felt that the magnitude of what he accomplished was truly appreciated or nationally recognized. He never got his sufficient due for the adversity he faced and what he achieved on this particular afternoon. Passing for 300 yards is one thing, but running for over 200 yards with a deep bruise in the butt and accompanying painkilling shot that numbs the legs has to be akin to trying to play a round of golf in the rain with acrylic mittens on.

True to his nature, after the game Tui gave all credit to his teammates and downplayed the personal accolades that come with achieving such an historic accomplishment.

Overshadowed by Tuiasosopo's great day were some notable performances. Maurice Shaw carried the rock 19 times for 113 yards and a touchdown. Sophomore Jerremy Stevens hauled in five passes for 88 yards. Gerald Harris made a sensational 13-yard touchdown reception in the right corner of the end zone. And the late Anthony Vontoure came up with two major interceptions to thwart Cardinal drives into Husky territory.

But it was the courage, athleticism and intelligence of Manu and Tina's son that lead Washington to Pac-10 victory on that day.
Derek Johnson can be reached at Top Stories