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Pickett sets Pac-10 record for season passing yardage

11/17/2002

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) -- Cody Pickett's record breaking day assured
the Washington Huskies of at least a break-even season -- and some
bragging rights.

Cody Pickett threw for 316 yards and four touchdowns and set the
Pac-10 record for single-season passing yardage in Washington's
42-14 victory over Oregon (No. 22 ESPN/USA Today, No. 23 AP) on Saturday.

Pickett increased his total to 3,818 yards to surpass Ryan Leaf,
who threw for 3,637 yards for Washington State in 1997.

Pickett also has 305 completions this season to break Steve
Stenstrom's Pac-10 record of 300 for Stanford in 1993.

"I'm proud of him,'' Washington coach Rick Neuheisel said.
"But I think he'd trade it all in for an unblemished record.''

With one game left, Saturday's win helped the Huskies (6-5, 3-4)
avoid their first losing season since 1976. The Huskies play
conference leader Washington State next week in the Apple Cup.

The Ducks (7-4, 3-4) were ranked sixth after a 6-0 start, but
they've lost four of their last five. Oregon hadn't lost its home
finale in its previous nine seasons.

"That was humbling,'' center Dan Weaver said.

The Ducks were further hurt when it was revealed after the game
that star tailback Onterrio Smith would have surgery on his left
knee on Monday.

Smith unexpectedly did not dress for Saturday's game, but most
assumed it was because he strained his right big toe last week
against Washington State.

Smith, who injured the knee against Southern California on Oct.
26, will miss Oregon's season finale against Oregon State next
Saturday but should be back in time for a bowl game.

Although Washington has also had a disappointing season, at
least the Huskies could retain some dignity with a victory over the
Ducks, their Northwest rival for a century.

The series between the teams, which took a hiatus last season,
has been contentious at times. Two seasons ago the Ducks handed the
Rose Bowl-bound Huskies their only loss of the season.

This year, the team celebrated with their fans in Autzen Stadium
long after the game.

"We earned this win and we had fun doing it,'' defensive tackle
Terry Johnson said.

Reggie Williams caught 14 passes for 198 yards and three
touchdowns. Rich Alexis had 30 carries for 122 yards and two
scores.

Oregon jumped out to a first-quarter lead on Jason Fife's 8-yard
touchdown pass to Samie Parker, followed by a 37-yard pass to Jason
Willis, who foiled two converging defenders with a running catch.

Washington came back with a 5-yard scoring run by Alexis, who
flipped into the end zone to make it 14-7. The Huskies tied it on
Pickett's 23-yard TD pass to Williams midway through the second
quarter.

Oregon tried backup quarterback Kellen Clemens to start the
second half, but the experiment failed. Clemens' first pass attempt
was picked off by Washington cornerback Derrick Johnson.

On the next play, Alexis ran 13 yards for a touchdown to put the
Huskies ahead 21-14. It got worse for the Ducks when normally
accurate kicker Jared Siegel missed a 39-yard field goal attempt.

Late in the third quarter, Keenan Howry fumbled a punt return,
and the turnover resulted in Pickett's 6-yard TD pass to Patrick
Reddick to make it 28-14.

"We wanted to change the tempo and get a little excitement,''
Oregon coach Mike Bellotti said about the quarterback switch. "We
felt we needed a spark.''

But Pickett found Williams twice in the fourth quarter with
scoring passes of 47 and 41 yards to put the game out of reach.

Pickett also set a school record with 467 career completions,
surpassing Damon Huard's mark of 458, set from 1992-95.

Pickett's 25 touchdowns this season pass Huard's school record
of 23 in 1997.

"We came in here, played in a hostile environment and got a
win,'' Pickett said. "It's a great feeling.''

Fife, who returned for the Ducks late in the third quarter,
completed 10 of 29 passes for 170 yards and two touchdowns.

It might have been the last home game at Oregon for Smith, who
could declare himself eligible for the NFL draft. The Ducks go on
the road for next week's Civil War against Oregon State.

Smith has 1,101 yards rushing this season with 12 touchdowns. He
entered Saturday's game ranked second in the Pac-10 with an average
of 119.9 yards a game.