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Big 12 briefs

By Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published September 17, 2000


Ex-coach haunts Colorado as Washington comes back

BOULDER, Colo. -- Rick Neuheisel returned to Boulder at the center of a firestorm and emerged without a singe.

Marques Tuiasosopo rallied Neuheisel's Huskies to two fourth-quarter touchdowns, and Washington held off Colorado 17-14 on Saturday.

The target of wrath from Colorado players, university officials and fans when he left the school to take a $1-million-a-year job at Washington 20 months ago, Neuheisel made a triumphant return. And he refused to gloat about it afterward.

"Congratulations to Colorado for an unbelievably hard-fought game," Neuheisel said. "They were inspired; we knew they would be. I've said all along they have good character in the program, and I thought they were extremely well coached. I wish them nothing but the best.

"This is a happy day, more than just the fact that we found a way to win. It's happy in that it's behind me and we can move on with our lives. Colorado can go with (coach) Gary Barnett to hopefully win Big 12 titles, and I can be a Colorado fan without having to worry about playing them and what people say and all of those things. It's water under the bridge."

Washington trailed 7-3 until Willie Hurst ran 2 yards for a touchdown on the second play of the fourth quarter, capping a 63-yard drive.

When Colorado followed with one of its many ineffective offensive possessions and punted, Washington went 69 yards in eight plays for the clinching touchdown.

Tuiasosopo, who made key third-down plays all afternoon, scrambled for 13 yards on third and 9. He passed 15 yards to tight end Jerramy Stevens, then hit Wilbur Hooks on a 24-yard pass with 8:33 left for a 17-7 lead.

Colorado, without an offensive score to that point, marched 97 yards in 10 plays for a touchdown. Bobby Pesavento, making his first start after two solid performances in relief of Zac Colvin, passed 19 yards to Javon Green for the score with 3:46 left. Green kept the drive alive with a one-handed, 53-yard reception to the Huskies 12.

Washington couldn't run out the clock and kicked to Colorado with 57 seconds left. A pass interference penalty moved the ball to near midfield, but receiver Eric McCready, on a short reception, was stripped by cornerback Anthony Vontoure, and defensive tackle Larry Tripplett recovered. Tripplett also had three sacks.

Neuheisel, who coached the Buffaloes for four seasons (1995-98), departed for Washington at the height of recruiting season in January 1999, creating considerable ill will. Colorado officials accused him of contacting Colorado players, attempting to entice them to Washington, a charge Neuheisel denied.

Colorado's hopes for revenge against Neuheisel were thwarted last season when the Huskies beat Colorado 31-24 in Seattle. This year, CU players almost universally said they had forgiven Neuheisel, even if many fans hadn't.

"It wasn't an emotionally difficult game," said Green, a senior. "Neuheisel wasn't playing on the field. We were just trying to beat his team. It would have been special just to beat a ranked team. It would have been a sweet taste to win, but we don't have that taste yet."

Barnett said Tuiasosopo "hurt us on scrambles, and their tight end made some great catches. They made plays when they had to make them, and we didn't."

Freshman cornerback Phil Jackson returned an interception 28 yards for a touchdown as Colorado, despite being outgained 194-107 in the first half, led 7-3 at intermission.

Washington drove inside the Colorado 10 on its first two series but managed only a field goal.

On the Huskies' first series, Tuiasosopo completed back-to-back 22-yard passes to Justin Robbins and Todd Elstrom, the first on third and 15, and tailback Paul Arnold ran 17 yards up the middle to the Colorado 7. But Arnold fumbled on the next play when hit by cornerback Donald Strickland, and Jackson recovered at the 1.

After a punt, Washington took possession near midfield. Tuiasosopo scrambled for 10 yards on third and 10, and Arnold ran 16 yards with a delayed pitchout. The drive stalled at the 4, however, and John Anderson kicked a 22-yard field goal with 56 seconds left in the half.

Tuiasosopo was intercepted twice in the second quarter. The first, by safety Michael Lewis, thwarted a Washington drive that had reached Colorado's 35.

Three minutes later, Jackson stepped in front of a receiver and returned an interception for a touchdown with 1:37 left in the half.

MINNESOTA 34, BAYLOR 9: Thomas Tapeh ran for 183 yards and caught a touchdown for the visiting Golden Gophers.

Tapeh, a 228-pound freshman, scored on a 27-yard pass from Asad Abdul-Khaliq in the third quarter and had a 1-yard touchdown run in the fourth as Minnesota wore down the undersized Bears. Tapeh had 32 carries.

Abdul-Khaliq, also a freshman, completed 14 of 20 passes for 172 yards and one interception.

Renato Fitzpatrick scored Minnesota's final touchdown on a 14-yard run with 3:05 left.

Minnesota took a 13-3 into halftime thanks to a 22-yard scoring pass from Abdul-Khaliq to running back Tellis Redmon and field goals of 22 and 44 yards by Dan Nystrom. The last came as time ran out in the second quarter.

Third-string quarterback Guy Tomcheck got the Bears a touchdown with 4:15 left when he hit freshman Robert Quiroga with a 15-yard pass.

Minnesota started the season with a 47-10 victory over Louisiana-Monroe, then was upset 23-17 by Ohio University.

KANSAS ST. 76, BALL ST. 0: His players didn't come out for postgame interviews, but Ball State coach Bill Lynch did, and he had a few words for Kansas State coach Bill Snyder.

They weren't the words you might expect from a man whose team had been blown out by 11 touchdowns for its 20th straight loss, the longest losing streak in the nation.

Lynch called Snyder's visit to the visiting Cardinals' locker room "the classiest thing I've ever seen in the coaching profession.

"He told our players about a time he went to Colorado and the score was similar," Lynch said. "He told them to keep believing and keep on going. I hope they took it to heart."

Kansas State broke a 90-year-old school record for points, a 75-0 victory over Drury. It fell with 11:21 left on Rashad Washington's 1-yard run and Kyle Altvater's conversion.

The Wildcats' 11 touchdowns broke the mark of nine accomplished three times, most recently in a 66-0 victory over Missouri on Nov. 20, 1999.

MICHIGAN ST. 13, MISSOURI 10: T.J. Duckett carried the load for the Spartans again.

Duckett ran for 131 yards and a touchdown as visiting Michigan State overcame a 10-point deficit. The Spartans were held to 125 yards and three points in the first half, but they kept plugging.

"We're still trying to figure out what we're doing," Duckett said. "We just have to start out quicker. The defense came up big for us."

Duckett, who had a career-best 219 yards rushing last week against Marshall, tied it at 10 on a 7-yard run with 5:21 left in the third quarter. Zack Abron scored on a 7-yard run for Missouri, but his fumble at the Tigers 26 set up Duckett's score.

KANSAS 23, UAB 20: Joe Garcia, after missing an extra point, kicked a 50-yard field goal to boost the mistake-prone Jayhawks at home.

Down 20-14, Kansas' Dylen Smith found an open Roger Ross on a 59-yard touchdown pass. The score remained tied at 20 when Garcia missed the extra point.

A few minutes later, David Winbush went 43 yards on a delayed draw on third and 13 from the Kansas 20, setting up Garcia's winner with 6:04 left.

TEXAS A&M 45, UTEP 17: Ja'Mar Toombs scored three second-half touchdowns as the host Aggies rallied. Trailing 17-14 at the half, Texas A&M stopped the Miners on fourth down at the Aggies 31 and took the lead on Toombs' 2-yard run with 5:30 left in the third quarter.

TEXAS TECH 26, LA.-LAFAYETTE 0: Tim Baker scored on a 2-yard pass and set up a touchdown with a 71-yard gain on a screen for the host Red Raiders. Kliff Kingsbury's touchdown to Baker and field goals of 24 and 19 yards by Chris Burkholz gave Texas Tech a 13-0 halftime lead.

OKLAHOMA ST. 23, SW TEXAS 0: Reggie White ran for 130 yards and a touchdown as the host Cowboys got their first shutout in three years against the Division I-AA Bobcats.

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