Dawgs wake up in second half

The University of Washington, finding themselves down 10-0 at halftime to the San Jose State Spartans, reeled off 34 straight unanswered points to shoo away the boo-birds and coast to a 34-10 victory in front of 70, 147 fans at Husky Stadium in Seattle.

The Dawgs needed all 499 yards of offense gained, including a school-record 89-yard pass play from Cody Pickett to Reggie Williams to fend off a pesky SJS squad. Pickett threw for 347 yards on the day, with three touchdowns through the air. Running Back Rich Alexis went for 125 on the ground on 24 carries. While the Huskies thoroughly dominated the second-half of action, San Jose State wasted no time in making sure Washington knew they had come to play.

The Spartans got to work early through the air, with Charles Pauley and Tuati Wooden the recipients of two Scott Rislov passes that found themselves deep in Husky territory. Manase Hopoi registered his first sack as a Dawg and also tackled Rislov behind the line of scrimmage for another tackle for loss. The Spartan drive stalled at the Washington 22, as Anthony Kelley made a nice play on a shovel pass to Charles Pauley for a loss of one. Nick Gilliam had to do a quick double-take on his approach on a 39-yard try and missed it wide left.

The Huskies were not auspicious on their first possession. After a motion penalty, Pat Reddick dropped a wide-open pass and then Reggie Williams appeared to make a spectacular catch on a slant route but Gerald Jones popped him and the ball felt to the field turf.

Again, the Spartans looked very solid going down the field, led by Rislov and TB Lamar Ferguson. Ferguson rambled for three carries in a row, picking up two first downs in Husky territory in the process. Roc Alexander had nothing but field truf between him and the San Jose State end zone, but dropped a sure pick intended for Spartan receiver Jamall Brousard. Once again Nick Gilliam missed a field goal attempt, this one from 37 yards out.

Washington started their second drive and immediately went to work. Kevin Ware and Paul Arnold both caught passes for first-downs, sandwiched between an interference call on Spartan free safety Gerald Jones. All looked swimmingly until Cody Pickett fumbled the ball on an option keeper, recovered by SJS cornerback Melvin Cook at the Spartan 15.

It's clear the Spartans owned the first quarter and they took that momentum into the second, drawing first blood. They put together a methodical 15-play, 85-yard drive that lasted 5 minutes and 25 seconds. The key play in the drive came early, as Anthony Kelley was called for roughing on a third-down play the Huskies stopped short. The penalty kept the drive alive. Tight End Courtney Anderson had the big play of the drive for the Spartans, a 35-yard corner post where he beat Husky strong safety Greg CArothers.

The Huskies mustered a few first downs with catches by Kevin Ware and Reggie Williams, but bogged down once again inside Spartan territory, this time at the 42. A Derek McLaughlin punt was fair-caught by Charles Pauley at the 9. The Dawg D was able to force a punt out of the Spartans when their drive ended at their own 35. Charles Frederick made his fair catch interesting, going for a shoestring grab at the Husky 28.

Lusty-throated boos started coming out in full force when the Washington drive ended with a Cody Pickett pass, intended for Rich Alexis, thrown woefully short. Derek McLaughlin kicked the ball downfield, where it was picked up by one of the gunners, Melvin Cook, who returned it to the SJS 30.

Backup quarterback Marcus Arroyo came in to spell Scott Rislov on the Spartans' next drive, and like Rislov Arroyo was looking for Charles Pauley. Derrick Johnson nearly had a pick on a ball intended for Pauley. Charles got his revenge, going for 41 yards on a quick hitter before Chris Massey could drag him down.

The Huskies' D stiffened up, forcing a 44-yard field goal attempt from Gilliam was true, upping the Spartans' lead to 10 with 2:20 left before halftime. When the ensuing kickoff resulted in a touchback, the Dawgs went quickly to work using a no-huddle attack.

It worked. By alternating Rich Alexis draws and completions to Pat Reddick, Pickett was able to move the offense down to the goal-line. There, Cody committed a cardinal sin; he tried to hand off when he didn't have control of the ball. Just when it appeared Washington would go into half-time only down 3, outside linebacker Brian Foreman made sure the Huskies would go into the locker room down by double-digits when he recovered the fumble of a handoff from Pickett intended for Alexis.

Whatever Washington head coach Rick Neuheisel said to his team worked dividends off the bat as the Dawgs got exactly what they needed when the second-half commensed; a nice sustained drive resulting in a touchdown. Most of the yardage came via Rich Alexis, as he chewed up yards via the ground and air. Ultimately he came out of the game deep in Spartans territory but backup Chris Singleton got two yards on a key 3rd and 1 conversion. Cody Pickett got Washington on the scoreboard when he was able to elude SJS linebacker Luke LaHerran and throw a strike to Wilbur Hooks in the northwest corner of the endzone for six. John Anderson put the capper on a 15-play, 80-yard drive that lasted 6:11, bringing the home team to within a field goal.

Then, the Spartans made a mental error that got the sleeping Dawgs in the stands up and going. Kendrick Starling fair-caught a John Anderson pooch at the SJS 7, after the visitors were assessed 15 yards on the previous play for roughing Pickett. The ensuing 3-and-out had to put a smile on Husky DC Tim Hundley's face as the home crowd went nuts.

SJS was not able to get their punt out of their own territory, giving Pickett and the Dawgs excellent field position for their next series. Pickett again marched his troops downfield with relative ease, hooking up with Reggie Williams for a pretty pass-and-catch in the northwest corner, beating Spartan corner Carlos Koustas. This drive was a little quicker, going 5 plays for 46 yards and lasting just shy of 2 minutes.

The Dawgs were looking for a big play on D to capitalize on their turn in momentum, and Evan Benjamin was quick to deliver. The freshman from Redmond snagged a ball tipped by Tuati Wooden and returned it to the Spartans' 41-yard line. Rich Alexis, back in the game, took over running the ball and Reggie Williams handled things through the air.

The Dawgs didn't quite take advantage of Benjamin's pick to the fullest, as they settled for Anderson's 29-yard field goal attempt, which was good. This pushed Washington's advantage to 17-10, having scored 17 unanswered points since the beginning of the second half. The drive went 6 plays, 30 yards and lasted 1:31.

SJS went back to their bread and butter man, Charles Pauley, on their next possession, but couldn't muster more than a couple of first downs before they had to punt. The key play in this possession was Husky WIL Marquis Cooper batting down a ball on third down and 7, forcing Spartan punter Michael Carr to punt. He came up with a beauty, a 43-yarder that was downed at the Washington 11-yard line.

It was about time for the Reggie Williams show, and the sophomore from Lakwood didn't disappoint. He took the first play on the drive, a simple curl route, and went 89 yards for a Washington touchdown. Once he took the pass, he headed toward the SJS sidelines and then upfield, outrunning the Spartan defenders. Williams' reception put him in the record books, as it was the longest touchdown reception ever by a Husky. The previous long was 83 yards by Willie Rosborough against Air Force in 1980.

AT this point, the Spartans just couldn't stem the purple and gold tide. A penalty on the ensuing kickoff forced SJS deep, and then the Dawgs put on the pressure. Josh Miller and Jafar Williams got to Marcus Arroyo just as he tried to get rid of it. Terry Johnson was on the spot and gladly picked off Arroyo's errant toss in the endzone for six as the ball tumbled into his arms. John Anderson's PAT was straight and true, bringing Washington's total of unanswered points to 31.

Scott Rislov came back in the game, and not a moment too soon for the Spartans. Unfortunately, the crowd had finally got the defense in the game and they started playing some inspired ball. Washington's D forced a punt from SJS and the Spartans still were unable to get the ball out of their half of the field.

Pickett looked to have a touchdown to Kevin Ware after the Senior from Spring, Texas made a great grab in the endzone. The Side Judge called it six, but the Back Judge came in and overruled the call. When the replay came up on the jumbotron, the Husky fans were beside themselves. It looked like a touchdown. The Spartans capitalized on their good fortune, as Gerald Jones came up with an interception on a Pickett pass intended for Ware.

With a reprieve, SJS was ready to roll, but don't tell that to senior center LeMons Walker. Walker overshot Rislov with a shotgun snap, and Husky defensive end Manase Hopoi pounced on the loose ball. The sophomore from Sacramento, California had a monster game with four tackles for loss, including two sacks and the fumble recovery. Strong safety Greg Carothers led the Washington defense with a dozen stops, while the Spartans' strong safety C.J. Arnold topped the SJS tacklers with ten total tackles.

While the ensuing Washington drive went for over 2 minutes, the Dawgs were only able to drive three yards. John Anderson buried a 31-yard field goal to up the score to 34-10.

At this point the scoring was complete, as neither team could put together enough offense to make another run at some points. The second-string offense was finally able to get some mop-up work, but not until there were roughly two minutes left on the clock. At that point the game was essentially complete, with sophomore tailback Chris Singleton rounding out the Husky rushing attack with 23 yards on 5 carries.

Rick Neuheisel's quotes from the locker room will follow shortly.

Husky player quotes will be posted tomorrow.

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