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Where there's a Williams, there's a way
Huskies teach Ducks the three R's: Reggie, Rich, and Rick
By: Richard Linde, Posted 16 November 2002

Playing their best game of the season, the Washington Huskies beat the Oregon Ducks, 42-14, at Autzen Stadium, on a rainy, wet day, before the largest crowd to ever see a football game in the state of Oregon. It was Washington’s first win on the road in over a year. During the game, the Ducks talked to the tune of the Huskies' hickory stick, while learning their three R's: Reggie, Rich, and Rick.

To wit:

Reggie Williams caught 14 passes for 198 yards and scored 3 touchdowns. Rich Alexis had 30 carries for 121 yards As a coach, Rick Neueheisel owns Mike Bellotti, 4-1, counting his two wins over Bellotti as coach at Colorado.

Key to the Washington victory was a much improved running game, highlighted by 163 yards rushing on the day.

Commenting on the play of Williams and the running game, Rick Neuheisel had this to say, "“He’s a special player. Reggie would be first to say, when we get a running game, lots of things open up. Hopefully it’s a sign of what hard work will do."

Considering Washington's past road games, the opening moments had some déjà vu about them, with the Huskies falling behind early and then forced to play catch up.

During the first quarter before the rain began, Oregon jumped off to a 14-point lead, using a a variety of gimmick plays to confound the Dawgs. After the rain began in the second quarter, Oregon was forced to shelve its legerdemain and play some old-fashioned football against the Huskies. The Dawgs owned them from then on, holding the Ducks to just 133 total yards for the rest of the game.

Pickett’s short drops and quick release worked to perfection under the rainy conditions, whereas, Jason Fife, out of Lake Elsinor, seemed to lose his rhythm and touch. "We didn't handle the weather well," coach Mike Bellotti said.

Because the Huskies have not had a running game to keep defenses honest this season, the coaches have developed a short, quick-release, passing game, which works just fine in inclement conditions. Pickett's short dumps to an uncovered Reggie Williams over the middle were particularly deadly to the Ducks.

Williams could be the fastest of the big, wide receivers in the Pac-10 and, under a full head of steam, is a gargantuan load to haul down. As the season has progressed, Williams appears to have gotten much stronger physically.

The key drive of the game for the Dawgs--an 85-yard, 11 play drive in second period--got the Huskies even, with Pickett going 5-5 on the series. With 7:44 to go on the Oregon 23, Pickett dumped it off to Williams who out raced the Oregon defenders to the end zone.

On the key play of the game for the Huskies, while behind 14-0, Pickett hit Pat Reddick on a 3rd and 23, for a first down on the Oregon 35. Culminating the drive, Rich Alexis ran 5 yards for a touchdown, which made the score 14-7, John Anderson's PAT successful.

On the key play of the game for the Ducks, with the score knotted 14-14, Mike Bellotti made a decision he most likely regretted. That occurred in the second half, after Washington's opening drive stalled.

Taking the kickoff to start the second half, Washington drove to the Oregon 41-yard line, and Derek McLaughlin's pooch punt  was fair-catched by Keenen Howry on the Oregon 11. Trying to inject some life in the Ducks' sputtering offense, Coach Bellotti inserted QB Cellen Clemens into the game, in place of Jason Fife. On his first play from the 11, Celmens threw a pass that was intercepted by Derrick Johnson and returned to the Ducks' 13-yard line. Rich Alexis took a pitch from Cody Pickett and legged it in for the score, making it 21-14, Dawgs.

From then on, the Huskies were never headed.

Oregon failed to gain a yard in the fourth quarter and finished with 300 total yards for the game. Washington had 479 total yards and controlled the ball for over 40 minutes. The Dawgs dominated the fourth quarter, hogging the ball for 13:37 out of the 15 minutes played.

As Reggie Williams said after the game, “(There was) no noise in the fourth quarter; everybody was leaving and going back to tailgating.”

On their way to victory, several Huskies established some records. Cody Pickett now holds the single-season record in the Pac-10 for most yards passing. In the first quarter, punter Derek McLaughlin launched an 80-yard punt, which is a Washington record. With 2178 total receiving yards amassed, in almost two seasons, Reggie Williams is the all-time UW career receiving leader, passing Mario Bailey and Jerome Pathon.

The Huskies' time of possession, 40:09, was the fourth highest in school history.

It was the first loss in November for Mike Bellotti, in his 8 years as Oregon's head coach.

The Dawgs' running game was helped by the return of guard Elliott Zajac and a renewed emphasis on the option, where on pitchouts, Rich Alexis had room to run from the outside. His 13-yard TD run resulted from an option pitch.

The Huskies are now 6-5 for the season and bowl eligible. In a perfect world, they would be 8-3, considering the two games they easily could have won, those against Michigan and UCLA. In fact, just two plays separate the Huskies from those two wins: (1) the penalty in the waning minutes of the Michigan game and (2) the four-yard punt against UCLA, when the game was on the line in the last quarter. 

The U-Dub isn't as bad as fans and the media say--especially its much maligned defense. But for those two plays, the Huskies would be headed to a prestigious bowl, pulling a sled full of happy campers. Instead, their is a less prestigious bowl ahead, with a chance next week to spoil WSU's almost perfect season.

The Cougars are one win away from the Rose Bowl.

Team 1 2 3 4 Tot
Washington 7 7 14 14 42
Oregon 14 0 0 0 14

Time Team How Player(s) Score
1st Q
10:58 UO TD Parker 8-yard pass from Fife; Siegel kick UO 7-0
6:09 UO TD Willis 37-yard pass from Fife; Siegel kick. UO 14-0
1:16 UW TD Alexis 5-yard run; Anderson kick. UO 14-7
2nd Q        
7:33 UW TD Williams 23-yard pass from Pickett T 14-14
3rd Q        
11:22 UW TD Alexis 13-yard run; Anderson kick. UW 21-14
4:49 UW TD Reddick 6-yard pass from Pickett; Anderson kick. UW 28-14
4th Q        
9:52 UW TD Williams 47-yard pass from Pickett; Anderson kick. UW 35-14
7:23 UW TD Williams 41-yard pass from Pickett; Anderson kick. UW 42-14

Statistic UO UW
Total First Downs 14 27
  Passing 5 14
  Rushing 8 11
  Penalty 1 2
Total Net Yards 300 479
Net Yards Rushing 130 163
Net Yards Passing 170 316
Completions-attempted-int 33-10-2 37-26-2
Punts Average 42.1 45.8
Return Yardage    
  Punts Yards 2-7 3-20
  Kickoff Yards 5-120 3-50
  Interceptions Yards 2-0 2-14
Penalties Yards 9-60 6-46
Fumbles, Lost 1 0
Time of Possession  19:51 40:09

Passing cmp att yds tds int
Jason Fife 10 29 170 2 1
Cellen Clemens 0 3 0 0 1
Keenan Howry 1 1 0 0 0
Cody Pickett 26 37 316 4 2
Rushing att yds tds    
Terrance Whitehead 8 34 0  
Keenan Howry 2 22 0  
Kellen Clemens 1 11 0
Jason Fife 7 21 0
Ryan Shaw 7 42 0    
  att yds tds
Braxton Cleman 12 36 0
Cody Pickett 4 10 0
Team 2 -4 0
Rich Alexis 10 121 2
Receiving rec yds tds
Sammy Parker 3 47 1
Jason Willis 2 46 1
George Wrightster 2 37 0
Keenan Howry 1 19 0
Washington rec yds tds
Reggie Williams 14 198 3
Patrick Reddick 4 49 1
Paul Arnold 3 21 0
Charles Frederick 2 24 0
Braxton Cleman 1 13 0
Wilbur Hooks 1 6 0
Kevin Ware 1 5 0
Punting punts yds long Avg
Jose Arroyo 6 247 49 41.2  
Derek McLaughlin 6 275 80 45.8  

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