Washington's playmakers take their show to Columbus

Updated: August 28, 2003, 2:27 AM ET

SEATTLE -- Washington's Cody Pickett and Reggie Williams, who make up arguably the nation's top quarterback-to-receiver combination, are starting the season in the spotlight.

Pickett and Williams will play in front of a national television audience and more than 100,000 frenzied fans when the No. 17 Huskies visit defending national champion Ohio State on Saturday.

"They're both big, athletic, very competitive guys," Washington coach Keith Gilbertson said. "They're great kids to coach and they like to make plays. The more difficult the challenge, the more they've enjoyed the competition."

Pickett is a senior from Caldwell, Idaho, the son of former Boise State quarterback and professional rodeo roper champion Dee Pickett. Williams is a junior from Lakewood, Wash., a first-team All-American last year.

Their statistics are imposing, and each holds numerous school records.

Last season, Pickett threw for 4,458 yards, the first Pac-10 quarterback to break the 4,000-yard mark in a season. His school record of 6,873 career yards is way ahead of second-place Brock Huard (5,742) with a full season to go.

Ohio State's Craig Krenzel agreed the statistics illustrate an excellent quarterback.

"But I didn't need to hear those numbers to know that he's an outstanding football player," Krenzel said. "He's got a lot of national attention. He does some great things for their offense. They are going to put up some points."

Pickett has four 400-yard passing games and 12 300-yard games. He has seven of the top 10 single-game totals in school history.

"Cody is a great quarterback. He can do it all," Williams said. "He's got a real strong arm, and he can throw it 70 yards if he needs to. He's vocal and he leads in the huddle, even if he's not always a 'rah, rah, rah' guy."

Pickett doesn't dwell on his feats. Mention his preseason publicity or the possibility of a Heisman Trophy -- it's called the "H-word" around the Washington program -- and it's clear he'd rather talk about the Huskies.

"It really isn't a distraction to me," Pickett said. "I'm focused on our team goals. We felt we underachieved last year as a team. We need to do a lot better this year, and I'm sure we will."

Williams led the Pac-10 last season and set school records with 1,454 yards receiving and 94 catches. He averaged 111.8 yards a game, and over Washington's final three games he hauled in 35 passes.

"They change where they have him, so you can't get a bead on him," Buckeyes coach Jim Tressel said. "He has great size, speed. When the ball's up in the air, he's one of those Cris Carter-type guys that goes up and gets it."

Through his first two seasons, Williams has 149 receptions for 2,427 yards -- the best two-year span in Pac-10 history.

"Reggie is a great athlete," Pickett said. "Not only is he big and strong, but he's fast and he's got great hands. Anytime we get one-on-one coverage, I'll try to take advantage. If they want to double-team him, shift coverage toward him, our other guys will step up and make plays."

Williams said he hasn't decided whether to skip his senior year and enter the NFL draft after this season, but that decision is expected by many in Seattle. He's the kind of player who loves a big game.

"Lights, cameras, people, crowds. That's what gets me excited," Williams said.

Linebacker Greg Carothers said Washington's defenders are big fans of Pickett and Williams. They relish their vantage point on the sideline.

"With Cody, you look at the newspaper after the game and see his stats. It's usually pretty amazing," Carothers said. "And Reggie has made some pretty amazing plays. He's made so many that maybe just one doesn't stand out."

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index