Work in Sports
PALO ALTO, California (Ticker) -- Perhaps Stanford should have tried one more onside kick.
The Cardinal made an improbable comeback with a pair of onside kicks before Marques Tuisasosopo directed an 80-yard scoring drive off a conventional kickoff in the final minute, giving No. 9 Washington a wet and wild 31-28 Pac-10 Conference victory.
"I thought we won the game," Stanford quarterback Randy Fasani said. "I couldn't believe they made a comeback. I thought it was the end of the game. They just had a great comeback, just like we did. We let this one out of our grasp."
Willie Hurst's 23-yard touchdown run gave Washington a seemingly safe 24-6 lead with 5:57 remaining. But Stanford scored just 34 seconds later as a 60-yard pass from Fasani to Jake Powell set up Fasani's four-yard TD toss to DeRonnie Pitts. Pitts caught a two-point conversion pass before the fun started.
Mike Biselli's onside kick to the far side of the field was recovered by Ruben Carter at the Stanford 42. Fasani threw two 14-yard passes to Pitts before scoring on a four-yard run that made it 24-21 with 2:33 to play.
Biselli delivered another onside kick to the far side that also was recovered by Carter at the Washington 48. This time, Fasani had a 30-yard scramble before cashing in from one yard and the Cardinal had a 28-24 lead with 53 seconds to go.
With Washington's Rose Bowl hopes slipping away, Tuiasosopo came alive. After the kickoff was returned to the 20, he completed three straight long passes over the middle.
Tuiasosopo found Todd Elstrom for a 27-yard gain and connected with Wilbur Hooks for 31 yards to the 22. On the next play, he scrambled before hitting Justin Robbins for the game-winning TD with 17 seconds left that silenced the Stanford Stadium crowd.
"Anytime you have a quarterback who can run the ball, the defense has to play honestly," Washington coach Rick Neuheisel said. "Marques' legs were a big factor on the last play."
Tuiasosopo completed 15-of-26 passes for 216 yards and a pair of interceptions. He also carried 10 times for just 12 yards as the Cardinal did a good job of containing him.
"The clock was winding down, so you have to go down fighting, whether you pull off a win or not," Tuiasosopo said. "I have to give credit to the receivers and the line -- I had great protection and the receivers stepped up and made the catches."
"It was devastating. I can't really explain it," Fasani said. "I just sat there and watched and couldn't believe that they drove down the field and scored in three plays."
Fasani was just 13-of-30 for 166 yards but ran for 65 yards on 13 carries.
The Huskies (7-1, 4-1 Pac-10) barely kept pace behind unbeaten Oregon but their collapse may have been attributed to a number of factors. The game began in a light rain that turned into a downpour for much of the second half.
In addition, Washington safety Curtis Williams suffered a severe neck injury in the third quarter. Williams' neck was placed in a brace and he was removed on a stretcher. He was taken to a hospital for further examination.
"Our team is very, very much thinking of Curtis, very much looking forward to getting over to the hospital to say a prayer, if nothing else to offer our encouragement to his recovery," Neuheisel said.
"If you look up 'Husky' in the dictionary, Curtis would be there," Tuiasosopo said.
Stanford (3-5, 2-3), which won the Pac-10 last season, must win its remaining games simply become bowl-eligible.
Boselli kicked field goals of 19 and 42 yards in the first quarter to give Stanford the early lead but Washington took control thereafter.
Hurst, who had 96 yards on 14 carries, capped an 89-yard drive with a 17-yard TD run to give the Huskies a 7-6 lead with 8:15 left in the second quarter. John Anderson kicked a 34-yard field goal at the gun, making it 10-6.
Rich Alexis had a 16-yard scoring jaunt that widened the lead to 17-6 with 4:20 remaining in the third quarter. Alexis had 56 yards on 16 carries.
Elstrom caught six passes for 94 yards and Robbins added three for 40 for the Huskies, who held a 386-348 edge in total yards. Pitts had eight receptions for 71 yards for the Cardinal, who have lost four in a row and 14 of 15 to Washington.