Husky defense comes through

Washington's defense picked off sophomore quarterback Derek Anderson five times and returned two for touchdowns as the Huskies defeated the Oregon State Beavers 41-29 in rainy Husky Stadium this afternoon. Cornerbacks Derrick Johnson and Chris Massey returned interceptions for touchdowns within three minutes of one another to turn the game around in the Huskies favor.

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  • Washington was outgained 420 yards to 299, and outrushed 158 to 37, but the key statistic was takeaways. Washington had five while Oregon State had zero.

    OSU tailback Steven Jackson had 135 yards on 35 carries, but was only able to pick up 32 of them in the second half. Washington's defense hurried, harassed, and fooled Anderson into the worst performance by a Husky opponent this season. He completed just 15 of 40 passes for 250 yards and one touchdown.

    Cody Pickett was efficient in completing 22 of 43 passes for 262 yards and one touchdown and no interceptions. Reggie Williams was his favorite target, as the 6-4 sophomore had nine receptions for 94 yards and one touchdown.

    Kirk Yliniemi boomed a 50-yard field goal to put the Beavers on top 3-0.

    Charles Frederick broke a 59-yard kickoff return behind a perfect wedge to get the Dawgs untracked. OSU's Shamon Jamerson made a diving tackle at the OSU 37-yard line to save the touchdown. Pickett found Reggie Williams for two nifty grabs to move the ball into the red zone, but a beautiful break-up of a sure TD by CB Terrell Roberts and a tough drop by Kevin Ware forced the Dawgs to settle for three. John Anderson connected from 23-yards out to knot the score at 3-apiece.

    Cornerback Derrick Johnson came up big on OSU's next play from scrimmage. Anderson dropped back and fired long for WR James Newson but Anderson leaped in front of him and intercepted the ball at the Husky 48. It was a portent of things to come, however this time, Washington promptly went three and out.

    Up to that point OSU's offense had four net yards. Then young quarterback Derek Anderson finally hit a throw. On third and 11 from the OSU 18, he fired a bullet that was precarious in that it was right between James Sims and Derrick Johnson, but Newson made the sliding grab to move the chains. Three plays later Newson gave Johnson a shove and got five yards behind him on a fly pattern. Anderson floated the ball on the money for a 60-yard touchdown to put the Beavers back on top 10-3.

    Washington replied immediately. Pickett and Williams played pitch and catch, hooking up three times for 31 yards. From the OSU 22, Pickett broke Brock Huard's single season passing yardage record after completing a 14-yard screen pass to Rich Alexis. Two plays later Pickett hit Williams on a quick out. Williams gathered the ball in at the eight, turned the corner and broke Calvin Carlyle's tackle and leapt into the end zone to tie the game at 10-all with still 1:00 left in quarter number one.

    The game then turned decidedly in Washington's favor. Anderson showed his age and committed a cardinal sin. He rolled to his right and attempted to throw back across the field to Newson, who was all the way across both hash marks. His throw had to travel about 45 yards in the air, which gave Derrick Johnson plenty of time to break, make the interception, and return it unmolested 42-yards for a touchdown to put the Dawgs on top 17-10 to end the wild first quarter.

    Chris Massey, a junior cornerback that has had his share of difficulties this season, got some sweet redemption on the next OSU drive. The junior cornerback was sitting in a zone and correctly read Anderson's eyes and snagged a pass intended for WR George Gillett. Massey picked it and went 25 yards for another gift touchdown to put the Dawgs two scores ahead.

    Yliniemi connected from 43 yards out to draw the Beavers to within 11 at 24-13.

    After a 30-yard McLaughlin punt, OSU took over on their 40. A flea flicker worked successfully put the Husky defense on it's heels for the first time all afternoon. Anderson handed off to Jackson, who ran to his right and then turned and pitched back to his quarterback. Anderson threw a wobbly pass woefully short but Newson was so open that he stopped and easily made the catch for a 41-yard gain. Two plays later Jackson ran 13 yards around left end for a touchdown. An excessive celebration penalty made the extra point a 35-yarder and it was pulled wide right to keep the Husky lead at five.

    OSU's defense remained stiff and forced the Huskies into their fourth three and out, forcing McLaughlin to punt from his own end zone. Wilbur Hooks caused a fumble on the return but Aric Williams was able to catch the room service bounce and return the kick to the Husky 41.

    Steven Jackson then took over. On third and three from the Husky 34, the OSU blew a huge hole through the right side of the Husky defense and Jackson burst through for 17 yards. Three plays later it was fourth and two on the Husky nine. After a time out, OSU eschewed their original decision to go for it and Ylimeini converted a 26-yard field goal to make it just a two-point deficit with 2:00 remaining in the half.

    To that point OSU's defense held the Husky offense to just 7 yards of total offense in the second quarter, -3 on the ground. The Huskies got busy in the final two minutes, however.

    A Pickett to Frederick 17-yard connection moved the ball to the 43 and on third and 8, Pickett saw Ware uncovered in the slot and immediately fired to him. Ware caught the ball and rumbled down the middle of the OSU vacated secondary for a 37-yard gain. Pickett hit Alexis on a wheel route for 18 yards to move the ball down to the one. Alexis leaped over the pile and into the end zone for the touchdown to cap the 79-yard, eight-play drive that took just 1:23 and provided the Huskies with a 31-22 halftime advantage.

    Washington had three takeaways and OSU's Derek Anderson had completed seven passes in 13 attempts, but three of them were to Huskies and two of those went for touchdowns.

    Washington put some breathing room between them and the Beavers on their first drive of the second half. It was aided by two crucial personal foul penalties on the Beavers. On third and 8 from the Beaver 46, Pickett threw incomplete but was hit late and drew a flag to keep the drive alive. A 26-yard completion to Frederick on a fade put the ball on the Beaver 6. On third and goal from the three, Pickett threw to Williams, who didn't look in time and had the ball go through his hands. However, Beaver LB Richard Seigler shoved Williams well after the play was over, drawing a flag and putting the ball on the one. Rich Alexis carried over the goal line to put the Huskies up 16 at 38-22.

    Tailback Steven Jackson had 111 yards on 23 carries at that point, but down 16 the Beavers had to go to the air, unfortunately with a quarterback that couldn't hit a bull in the ass with a banjo on his first eight drives.

    Erickson called some short passes to get his young QB's confidence rolling and it worked. On third and 10 from the Husky 44, Anderson found flanker Cole Clasen on a slant across the middle that went for 25 yards and moved the ball inside the Husky 20. Another penalty on OSU, this time for a hold, moved the ball back to the 25. Anderson again stepped up and delivered the ball accurately, this time finding Newson, for 18 yards. Three Steven Jackson carries covered the final six yards to draw the Beavers to within nine.

    As the third quarter wound down, a Derek McLaughlin 56-yard punt bounced at the one and set up perfectly for Wilbur Hooks to down at the two. OSU looked like they would get out of the mess after Anderson found Clasen on another slant pattern for 20 yards, but two plays later senior linebacker Ben Mahdavi read Anderson's eyes just as Massey had earlier and made a diving interception at the OSU 38.

    A holding penalty helped OSU stuff the Husky offense, though. John Anderson nailed a 52-yard field goal to put the final points on the board with 12:29 remaining in the game. It was crucial in that it would force OSU to not rely on Steven Jackson but to try to move through the air again.

    OSU punted the ball back to Washington in just over two minutes, and on the Beaver's next possession Anderson threw his fifth pick, this one to true freshman cornerback Nate Robinson, with 8:00 remaining.

    Oregon State appeared to have scored a late touchdown when backup quarterback Adam Rothenfluh hit TE Dan Haines, but Haines was flagged for pushing off and the score was nullified.

    Washington improves to 5-5, 2-4 in the conference, and travels to Eugene to take on Oregon, who lost 32-21 to Washington State this afternoon in Pullman. Oregon State drops to 6-4, 2-4 in the conference. Top Stories