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Every game a thrill for Washington


© St. Petersburg Times,
published November 3, 2001

Advice to anyone playing Washington: Make sure you have at least a nine-point lead heading into the final minute of the game. Otherwise, proceed at your own risk.

Arizona State was the latest team to fall victim to the Huskies, who might have three or four losses this season were it not for their ability to mount late comebacks.

Washington did it again last week, defeating the Sun Devils 33-31 on John Anderson's 30-yard field goal as time expired.

"Just another walk in the park with the Dawggies," offensive coordinator Keith Gilbertson said.

It was Washington's fifth fourth-quarter comeback this season and the third time in the past four games it has scored the winning points with 13 seconds or less remaining.

"This is giving me gray hairs and I'm only 21 years old," said running back Willie Hurst, who had 185 yards on 21 carries.

Washington improved to 6-1 (4-1 in the Pac-10) and is tied for first with Washington State, Oregon, Stanford and UCLA. The Huskies play Stanford today.

"Anything can happen in this conference and usually does," coach Rick Neuheisel said.

Against Arizona State, Washington took over at its 10-yard line with 7:12 remaining. Two third-down conversions followed, and an offside penalty also helped the Huskies take time off the clock. They moved 78 yards in 18 plays, using all the time left before Anderson came on. It was his second winning field goal as time expired in four weeks. He kicked a 32-yarder to defeat USC on Oct. 6.

"It was a slugfest and we were very fortunate to come out ahead," Neuheisel said. "I'm very pleased about the way our kids fight and scratch."

GRUDEN TO DOMERS?: Oakland Raiders coach Jon Gruden is not exactly shooting down those rumors that he could become the coach at Notre Dame. Gruden grew up in South Bend, Ind., and played high school football while his dad was an assistant for the Irish.

First, of course, Notre Dame would need to fire current coach Bob Davie. Then the school would have to decide if it could wait long enough for Gruden. If the Raiders are in the Super Bowl hunt through the end of January, the high school recruiting period will be all but over. Notre Dame would want a new coach by then, wouldn't it?

NO MORAL VICTORIES: Missouri coach Gary Pinkel became incensed when his team was being congratulated after a 35-16 loss to Texas.

"We walk into this locker room and people are cheering, "Great job, Missouri.' I hate that. That's how losers think," Pinkel said in his postgame news conference. "Just this thinking around here that playing Texas tough and you played them pretty tough -- that stinks."

Later, Pinkel went into the locker room and threw objects. Obviously, it was of little consolation, but Texas coach Mack Brown kept up with the moral victory theme.

"It's a credit to Missouri that we didn't blow them out," Brown said. "They are much better than they were at the start of the year. I knew they were good before the game and they did nothing to change that."

NO COMMENT: Glen Mason openly sought the Ohio State coaching job that went to Jim Tressel, which makes for an uncomfortable situation today for the Minnesota coach when he goes up against his alma mater. He made it clear all week he didn't want to talk about it.

"Those interviews will be ended as fast as they're asked," Mason said. "It's only a distraction. ... It's going to be no distraction because I'm not going to allow it. I'm not going to answer questions. I'm not going to broach the subject one bit. It's in the past."

You can bet that ESPN will talk about it during tonight's telecast of the game. During the week, Mason said he would not consent to an interview for the network. "I wouldn't do it, so I don't care if they approach me or not," he said.

-- Information from other news organizations was used in this report.

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