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Despite 12 Straight Wins, Huskies In Underdog Role Against UCLA
Courtesy: UCLA Athletics  
Release:  10/12/2001

Oct. 12, 2001

By JOHN NADEL
AP Sports Writer

PASADENA, Calif. - Washington's formula the last two seasons has been pretty simple: Fall behind, crank it up in the second half and celebrate another victory.

The 10th-ranked Huskies (4-0, 2-0 Pac-10) have outscored the opposition 74-26 after halftime and 53-20 in the fourth period this season, when they've rallied for three wins, including a 27-24 victory over Southern California last weekend.

In winning 11 of 12 games last season, the Huskies outscored their opponents 229-142 in the second half, including 166-67 in the fourth quarter, when they came from behind to win five times.

Washington is on a roll, having won its last 12 games, including nine in the Pac-10. But to keep it going, the Huskies will need to succeed in an underdog role Saturday against No. 7 UCLA.

The Bruins (4-0, 1-0) are listed as 11-point favorites, in part because Washington quarterback Cody Pickett probably won't play except as a holder for kicker John Anderson because of a separated right shoulder.

"You've got two undefeated teams, two Top 10 teams," UCLA coach Bob Toledo said. "There's going to be a great feeling come Saturday. It's going to be electric out there."

A crowd of 70,000 is expected at the Rose Bowl.

"These are the kinds of games I dream about," Washington defensive tackle Larry Tripplett said. "This is a big-time game for us."

Taylor Barton, who completed 11 of 20 passes for 197 yards and two touchdowns in relief of Pickett against USC, will make his first start for the Huskies.

"We're very fortunate to have a little depth at that position," Washington coach Rick Neuheisel said. "We're also fortunate to have guys who aren't as concerned about being first or second string as they are about winning."

The Bruins have outscored their opponents 112-47 and beat No. 21 Ohio State 13-6 and Oregon State 38-7 in their last two games. The first-string defense hasn't allowed a touchdown in the last 10 quarters.

It's a complete turnaround from last year, when UCLA allowed a school-record 368 points last season.

"You don't panic, you're just comfortable out there," UCLA tailback DeShaun Foster, the country's 10th-leading rusher, said of the defense. "You know if you don't get a first down, you're going to have another shot."

Neuheisel said he expects the UCLA defense to put a lot of pressure on Barton.

"Our plan has to be to run the football," he said. "We can't put all the pressure on our quarterback. I anticipate a smash-mouth football game, and we've got to be able to go toe-to-toe with them.

"We've got to hang in there and hopefully get to the fourth quarter, where we've been pretty successful."

The Huskies didn't wait until the fourth quarter to overtake UCLA last year in Seattle, outscoring the Bruins 21-0 in the third period for a 35-21 lead on the way to a 35-28 victory.

"Desperation, maybe," Neuheisel said with a chuckle when asked to explain his team's penchant for late-game comebacks. "The reason why it takes until the fourth quarter is maybe we don't play too well in the first three.

"I think the key to that is you don't sit and worry whose fault it is, you just keep playing. When something positive does happen that results in a victory, it creates confidence, and more when it happens again and again and again."


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