A Thrilling Game, A 'Huge Victory'
Rose Bowl MVP Marques Tuiasosopo eludes the Purdue rush while looking for flanker Patrick Reddick (5).
The game itself was a thrill as well. The Huskies took an early 14-0 lead, capitalizing on Purdue penalties and a bad snap to the Boilermakers' punter that gave the Huskies the ball on Purdue's 25 yard-line. Lead by the strong arm of Brees and the running skills of Montrell Lowe, Purdue came back and tied the score 17-17 early in the third quarter. But the Huskies put the game out of reach with a 42-yard field goal by John Anderson, an 8-yard touchdown pass from Tuiasosopo to Todd Elstrom, and a goal line plunge by Willie Hurst, making it 34-17 with only 7:25 left.
Tuiasosopo was named the game's most valuable player, joining the ranks of other Husky Rose Bowl MVPs Bob Schloredt (twice), Warren Moon, Mark Brunell and Billy Joe Hobert. "He is a warrior. He is the epitome of what a quarterback should be," said Neuheisel. "He is everything you would ever ask for in a person, a player or a leader."
The Huskies take the field (above) after the Husky Marching Band (below) warmed up the Rose Bowl crowd of 94,000.
"This was a huge victory," he added. "I talked to the senior class at the beginning of the season. It was always the goal of Washington to play in the Rose Bowl. Clearly they were one of the dominant programs of the 1990s. This put us back on the mantle as being one of the top college football programs in the nation." Neuheisel himself broke Husky coaching records by taking Washington to the Rose Bowl and earning a top five ranking in only his second year as team leader.
The Husky players storm the field at the end of the game to celebrate their impressive victory.
While the game was the high point for the UW fans who attended the Rose Bowl, two pre-game events got the Husky spirit rolling. A New Year's Eve Husky Bash, held at the Anaheim Convention Center, drew more than 5,000 alumni and fans to dance to the LA Beat, listen to the Husky Marching Band, enjoy free Husky souvenirs and bring in the New Year with Husky football legends Sonny Sixkiller and Greg Lewis.
At the Husky New Year's Eve Bash, the band LA Beat (above right) gets the crowd jumping, while former Husky football stars Greg Lewis and Sonny Sixkiller (right) provide plenty of inspiration for the big game.
On game day, more than 10,000 Huskies gathered just north of the Rose Bowl for a Washington Warm Up featuring food, the Husky Marching Band, live broadcasts by KOMO Radio and Fox Sports Northwest, and more free souvenirs. Both events were organized by the UW Alumni Association and supported by member dues and corporate sponsorships as well as by admission fees.
A couple of Husky cheerleaders-in-waiting show their spirit at the Washington Warm Up.
During the two alumni association events, $10,000 was raised for the Curtis Williams Fund through raffles and sales of Husky buttons. During his Rose Bowl visit, Williams thanked the fans for their contributions. "I miss them and I want to thank them for all their support," he said. As of Feb. 1, more than $175,000 has been raised to cover Williams' medical and other expenses not covered by insurance. Send donations to the Curtis Williams Fund, c/o University of Washington, 1200 Fifth Ave., Suite 500, Seattle, WA 98101.
Husky Coach Rick Neuheisel leads the Husky Band in an impromptu, postgame rendition of "Tequila."
Next year's Rose Bowl breaks with tradition, as it won't be held on New Year's Day and won't automatically pit the Big 10 champ versus the Pac-10 champ. Instead it will host the top-ranked college teams for the Bowl Championship Series national title game. The Huskies' chances of a return visit to Pasadena are slim, but after this season, Washington fans knowanything is possible.
In his eleven years as editor of Columns, Tom Griffin has lived through four Husky Rose Bowls.
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