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Pac-10: UW denies WSU's national title hopes

©Associated Press
November 24, 2002

PULLMAN, Wash. -- John Anderson kicked five field goals, including the winner from 49 yards in the third overtime, and Kai Ellis forced and recovered a fumble to secure Washington's 29-26 victory over Washington State on Saturday night.

It was one of the most dramatic finishes in the history of the Apple Cup, the annual game between the rivals. It also spoiled Washington State's chance to secure a Rose Bowl berth and ended any chance of the Cougars, No. 3 in the Bowl Championship Series rankings, getting into the national championship game if No. 1 Miami loses.

The ending was bizarre, providing a fitting finish that surely will be debated for years.

Washington had the ball first in the third overtime, and after a sack and two incompletions by Cody Pickett, Anderson hit his field goal.

When the Cougars took over, Matt Kegel, subbing for the injured Jason Gesser, dropped back and tried to throw. The ball came loose, and Ellis leaped on it.

Though it was unclear whether it was a fumble or an incomplete pass, the Huskies began to sprint off their sideline to celebrate. But they slowed as officials huddled near the pile at the 40-yard line. After about one minute, it was announced as a backward pass.

"That's wrong," Washington State coach Mike Price told a referee as he walked off the field.

Gesser was knocked out in the fourth quarter with an injured right shin. X-rays were planned after the game. Taking advantage of his absence, the Huskies rallied to force overtime by scoring 10 in the final four minutes.

Anderson, who also missed four field goals, hit a 27-yarder with 15 seconds left in regulation to tie it at 20.

Washington won its fifth straight in the series, and coach Rick Neuheisel improved to 4-0 in the Apple Cup.

* * *

USC 52, UCLA 21: Whatever chance UCLA had to upset crosstown rival Southern California, it dissolved in the opening 10 minutes at the Rose Bowl.

Carson Palmer threw a 34-yard touchdown to Kareem Kelly on the first play from scrimmage after one of UCLA's many mistakes, and that got USC off and running.

"The first play was huge. It gave us momentum for the whole game," Palmer said after passing for 254 yards and four touchdowns.

Palmer and Kelly connected after Tab Perry fumbled the opening kickoff and Grant Mattos recovered, putting USC on top after 16 seconds.

USC scored touchdowns on its next two possessions for a quick 21-0 lead. UCLA scored early in the second before the Trojans ran off 31 straight points.

It was the most scored by either team in the series since USC won 52-0 in 1930.

USC got two touchdowns and a field goal after fumble recoveries. Another TD after a bad snap from center in a punting situation resulted in a 34-yard UCLA loss.

Palmer was 19-of-32. He surpassed the Pac-10 record of 10,911 yards set by Stanford's Steve Stenstrom from 1991-94.

The Trojans will win the conference and play in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1 if the Bruins beat Washington State Dec. 7 at the Rose Bowl.

OREGON ST. 45, OREGON 24: Steven Jackson ran for 153 yards and set the school single-season rushing record for the host Beavers.

Jackson dominated, rushing for two TDs and catching a 69-yard TD from Derek Anderson. It was the sophomore tailback's ninth game this season with 100-plus yards, and he finished with 1,656. Jackson surpassed Ken Simonton's 2000 mark of 1,559.

Anderson completed 21-of-37 for 370 yards and four TDs, increasing his season total to 24 TDs and passing Jonathan Smith's school record of 20 set in 2000. Oregon's Jason Fife was 14-of-33 for 182 yards and a touchdown. He was intercepted three times.

CAL 30, STANFORD 7: Joe Igber rushed for 226 yards and a TD as host Cal snapped a seven-game losing streak in the Big Game rivalry. Kyle Boller passed for 188 yards and threw two touchdowns to LaShaun Ward as the Bears finished their first winning season since 1993.

Teyo Johnson caught five passes for 61 yards for Stanford, which ended its worst season since 1983 with a five-game losing streak that left the Cardinal last in the Pac-10.

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