6:00 PM ET, November 12, 2005
Arizona Stadium, TUCSON, AZ
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) -- A "Hail Mary" call, a confused freshman quarterback and a surprisingly powerful running game added up to a long-awaited Pac-10 victory for Washington and its first-year coach Tyrone Willingham.
James Sims rushed for a career-high 200 yards on 30 carries and the Huskies ended a 14-game conference losing streak with a 38-14 victory over turnover-plagued Arizona on Saturday night.
The Huskies (2-8, 1-6) had not won a Pac-10 game since beating Washington State in the finale of the 2003 season. Their only other victory this season came seven games ago against Idaho.
"I'm ecstatic. It's the best feeling in the world," said cornerback Roy Lewis, who returned an interception 42 yards for the last of Washington's 31 consecutive points. "A lot of us waited two years for this feeling."
Isaiah Stanback's 69-yard touchdown pass to Craig Chambers as the first half ended tied the game at 14-all, then the Huskies turned a pair of turnovers into scores to lead 28-14 going into the fourth quarter.
"He hit me in stride," Chambers said. "That's probably the best pass that's ever been thrown to me."
After a sack, the coaches signaled to Stanback to take a knee and run out the clock, but he called time out and successfully lobbied for the "Hail Mary" play. He threw it as hard as he could, he said, and the ball traveled at least 70 yards in the air.
"That really changed the momentum," Stanback said.
The Huskies rolled for 333 yards rushing and took advantage of Arizona freshman quarterback Willie Tuitama's many mistakes.
"I honestly didn't think Arizona would be off their game tonight," said Willingham, back in the Pac-10 after being fired following three years at Notre Dame. "With their upset over UCLA, I thought they would be excited and ready for us, but we took advantage of every opportunity."
Sims became the first Huskies' player to top 200 yards rushing since Marques Tuiasosopo gained 207 against Stanford on Oct. 30, 1999.
Arizona (3-7, 2-5) had won two in a row behind Tuitama, the latest a 52-14 stunner over then-No. 7 UCLA a week ago. But the 18-year-old threw three interceptions and fumbled the ball away twice in his third collegiate start.
"We did a lot to confuse the quarterback," Lewis said. "We definitely got in his head, and that's what you want to do with a young quarterback."
Arizona coach Mike Stoops called it "a great learning experience" for Tuitama.
"You're going to have some bad games," Stoops said. "He learned a great deal from this."
Stanback rushed for 96 yards in 14 carries, including touchdown runs of 28 and 1 yards.
Tuitama, 22-for-41 for 235 yards and two touchdowns, fumbled the snap on third-and-inches at the Washington 49, perhaps his most costly turnover. The Huskies' Tahj Bomar recovered, and Washington went 51 yards in seven plays, Stanback scoring on a 1-yard run to put the visitors up 28-14 with 3:14 left in the third quarter.
"I could not get it done," Tuitama said. "I put the loss on my shoulders."
Early, Tuitama seemed headed for another big day. Michael Johnson intercepted Stanback's pass at the Arizona 34. A pass interference penalty and Tuitama's 23-yard screen pass to Mike Bell moved the ball to the Washington 18. Two plays later, Tuitama threw a 17-yard touchdown pass over the middle to Syndric Steptoe to make it 7-0 with 10:57 left in the third quarter.
But Washington went 80 yards in nine plays, Sims scoring from 2 yards out to tie it at 7-7 with 36 seconds left in the first half. Sims gained 36 yards in four carries en route to the score. He had 119 yards in 16 carries in the first quarter alone.
Arizona regained the lead, 14-7, on Tuitama's 3-yard TD pass to Gilbert Harris with 1:09 left in the half, and the Wildcats seemed assured of holding a lead at the break before Stanback's last-second heave for the tying score.
Washington's go-ahead touchdown early in the third quarter came after Tuitama's pass was intercepted by Josh Okeabor. Okeabor fumbled on the return and Arizona recovered, but the ball was awarded to the Huskies at the Wildcats 33 because of an inadvertent whistle after the interception.
Three plays later, Stanback ran 28 yards on a quarterback draw to put Washington ahead 21-14 with 12:45 left in the third.
"We're still in a very fragile state psychologically," Stoops said. "We couldn't handle a little prosperity. We got outplayed and outcoached. It's pretty simple."
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||6-14||6-14|
|4th Down Conversions||1-3||0-0|
|TD||10:57||SYNDRIC STEPTOE 17 YD PASS FROM WILLIE TUITAMA (NICHOLAS FOLK KICK)|
Drive info: 5 plays, 66 yards.
|TD||0:36||JAMES SIMS JR. 2 YD RUN (EVAN KNUDSON KICK)|
Drive info: 9 plays, 80 yards.
|TD||1:09||GILBERT HARRIS 3 YD PASS FROM WILLIE TUITAMA (NICHOLAS FOLK KICK)|
Drive info: 10 plays, 80 yards.
|TD||0:00||CRAIG CHAMBERS 69 YD PASS FROM ISAIAH STANBACK (EVAN KNUDSON KICK)|
Drive info: 5 plays, 74 yards.
|TD||12:45||ISAIAH STANBACK 28 YD RUN (EVAN KNUDSON KICK)|
Drive info: 3 plays, 33 yards.
|TD||2:11||ISAIAH STANBACK 1 YD RUN (EVAN KNUDSON KICK)|
Drive info: 7 plays, 51 yards.
|FG||8:38||EVAN KNUDSON 24 YD FG|
Drive info: 6 plays, 54 yards.
|TD||7:20||ROY LEWIS 42 YD INTERCEPTION RETURN (EVAN KNUDSON KICK)||38||14|