Sunday, October 12, 2003
Washington looks for answers after Nevada's stunning win
SEATTLE -- Look closely into Washington's washout loss to
Nevada, and there's an itsy-bitsy silver lining for the Huskies.
It wasn't a conference game. Whoopee!
"Our goal every year is to compete for the conference title.
That goal is still attainable," quarterback Cody Pickett said
after Nevada's 28-17 victory Saturday.
True, but searching for positives is a stretch for Washington
this week. The Huskies (3-3) looked awful against the Wolf Pack
(4-2), who committed 17 penalties and lost just about every
"We made so many mistakes out there. There's so much room for
improvement, even after a great victory like this," said Nevada
defensive end Jorge Cordova, who had 16 tackles, five sacks,
blocked a field-goal attempt and forced a fumble.
Give credit to the Wolf Pack, though, for playing an inspired
Nevada quarterback Andy Heiser threw three touchdown passes,
defensive tackle Chris Barry blocked two field-goal tries and
cornerback Marlon McLaughlin held Washington's star receiver,
Reggie Williams, to three catches for 77 yards.
"Just because they're the Huskies, we're not going to bow down
to them," Cordova said.
It was an especially grand homecoming for Wolf Pack coach Chris
Tormey, a former Huskies assistant who was interviewed for the
Washington job before Rick Neuheisel was hired in 1999.
"There were a lot of mixed emotions for me coming back to Husky
Stadium," Tormey said. "But I was focused on my team and what was
going on between the lines. I guess the magnitude of this victory
really hasn't sunk in yet."
It was a special outcome, all right, arguably the biggest
victory ever for the Wolf Pack and certainly the school's biggest
win since Nevada moved up from Division I-AA to I-A for the 1992
"It goes back to these players and the way they prepared for
this game," Tormey said. "They did not back down."
They also faced an opponent that seems lost right now.
Besides the three blocked field goals, the Huskies hurt
themselves by losing two fumbles and committing countless untimely
mistakes. Pickett had a mediocre performance, and he was sacked
He passed for 337 yards and one touchdown but Pickett also threw
three interceptions, including one on an overthrown screen pass
that Nevada's Chris Handy caught in stride and returned 37 yards
for a TD.
"We need to get better in all aspects of the game," Pickett
said. "We just didn't play like we're capable. They covered our
guys pretty well. A couple of those sacks were coverage sacks. I
need to figure out a way to get the ball out of my hand."
The Huskies -- who started the season in the Top 25 -- lost for
the second straight week, and they're simply not playing well these
days. The Nevada game followed a 46-16 loss at UCLA where
Washington was outscored 39-0 in the second half.
Going into next weekend's game at Oregon State, the Huskies are
1-1 in the Pac-10 standings. There are nothing but Pac-10 games
from here and in the wide-open conference race, that certainly
leaves Washington in the thick of things.
Of course, if the Huskies can't eliminate mistakes or improve
individual performances in every phase of football, they won't have
any shot at the Rose Bowl, the Holiday Bowl or perhaps any bowl.
"We stunk out there," linebacker Greg Carothers said. "You
can't say much else."