Work in Sports
SEATTLE (Ticker) -- No home winning streak was ended this time, but Miami's national title hopes might have been.
No. 15 Washington posted the biggest victory in the Rick Neuheisel era, defeating fourth-ranked Miami, 34-29, behind another big day by quarterback Marques Tuiasosopo.
The Huskies (2-0), who halted Miami's NCAA-record 58-game home-winning streak in 1994, won the battle between the 1991 co-national champions by frustrating the Hurricanes' Ken Dorsey while relying on their senior signalcaller.
"We're very excited about the win," Neuheisel said. "It was a very heart-felt win. Maybe not as pretty as one would hope give the score at halftime (21-3), but we knew that Miami was going to come back blazing."
Tuiasosopo threw for 223 yards and one touchdown and rushed for 45 yards and a score. But it was his leadership and ability to escape the Miami pressure on numerous occasions that allowed Washington to build a 27-9 lead midway through the third quarter.
He did make two huge mistakes, however, and the second was allowing defensive back Al Blades to intercept a poorly throw dump-off pass that gave Miami (1-1) control inside the Washington 10 with under four minutes to play.
Moments later, James Jackson delivered a one-yard TD run that pulled the Hurricanes within five points with just under three minutes left.
But tight end Jerramy Stevens, who caught a career-high seven passes, including a 23-yard touchdown in the second quarter, recovered the onside kick with 2:52 to play, essentially sealing the outcome.
"(Stevens) is an amazing athlete," said Neuheisel. "There's no question that he has great skill."
"We felt like we were able to make some major adjustments at halftime to try to get ourselves back in the game," said Miami coach Butch Davis. We knew they had a very dangerous, very experiened talented quarterback who could make plays."
Dorsey, a sophomore from California, appeared rattled early in his first big collegiate game. He was sacked on a cornerback blitz by Anthony Vontoure, who stripped the ball from the Miami signalcaller to give the Huskies possession at the Miami 49.
Three plays later Tuiasosopo hit Stevens, whose receptions totaled 89 yards, down the right sideline to give Washington a commanding 21-3 lead with 2:02 to play in the first half.
"I'm proud of the dogs," Tuiasosopo said. "I'm proud to be a member of this team. It was a great win."
"(Tuiasosopo) is good and he tries to make a lot of plays," said Miami linebacker Dan Morgan. "He runs around and I think he's good for that team and he gets the job done."
Dorsey completed 15-of-34 passes for 215 yards, including a 21-yard TD to Reggie Wayne midway through the third quarter. But he was sacked three times.
"This was his first major opportunity against a really good football team," Davis said. "I don't know if Washington rattled him as much as the experience of him not ever playing in front of a crowd like this, on the road, all those things. I thought he did some things that were very good."
Washington held a 27-15 advantage late in the third quarter, when Tuiasosopo committed his first major blunder of the afternoon. His fumble was recovered by Miami linebacker Dan Morgan, setting up Jackson's eight-yard TD run with 3:50 remaining in the period.
The Huskies, however, regained a 12-point advantage just 30 seconds into the final quarter, putting together a 66-yard, 13-play drive that culminated in Pat Conniff's one-yard scoring plunge.
Wayne caught four passes for 84 yards and Clinton Portis collected 91 yards on just six carries for the Hurricanes.
"The real difference in the game in my mind was Portis," said Nueheisel. "That guy is incredible. He's a sensational player. He's just very difficult to tackle."