By JOHN SLEEPER
STANFORD, Calif. – All season long, Willie Hurst has talked about getting an opportunity.
In Washington’s thrilling, 31-28 victory over Stanford Saturday, he made the most of it. Hurst, last year’s leading rusher who was demoted to third string this season, gained a season-high 96 yards on 14 carries and scored two touchdowns against Stanford.
“Coming it, I didn’t know what I was going to get or how I was going to get it,” Hurst said. “When they gave me the ball a couple of times, I just tried to run hard, like I can. The line did a great job opening holes for me.”
Hurst scored on runs of 17 and 22 yards. The first, on the heels of a 14-play, 89-yard drive, was a dash to the right side of the line in the second quarter that gave the Huskies a 7-6 lead.
The second, a 22-yarder with 5:57 remaining in the game, gave Washington an apparently insurmountable 24-6 lead. But then, Stanford rallied and took a 28-24 advantage, only to lose it in the final seconds.
It has been an interesting time for Hurst since the Holiday Bowl last December.
Disenchanted with Hurst’s problem with fumbling last year, UW coach Rick Neuheisel made the decision to try Hurst at slotback. But Hurst did not take to running pass routes, and he was switched back to tailback, where he was playing behind sophomore Paul Arnold and freshman Rich Alexis.
Going into the Stanford game, Hurst had gained just 91 yards on 33 carries, a 2.8-yard-per-carry average.
“Washington is not that good,” it said.
The story went on to describe the Huskies’ failures – they’re not even close to dominant, often pulling out victories in the fourth quarter. The writer correctly calculated that Washington had been outscored 123-107 in the first three quarters, then outscored their opponents 94-32 in the fourth going into Saturday.
Great stuff. Accurate. Good premise. Solid conclusion.
Just one thing.
He referred to UW quarterback Marques Tuiasosopo as “Marquez.”
Somehow, you’d think the only Division I player to run for more than 200 yards and pass for more than 300 in one game (as Tuiasosopo did against Stanford last season) would get his name spelled right – especially by a writer who covered that game.
Stanford has won the NCAA Division I award six straight years. North Carolina is the only other Division I school to earn the trophy, having won it in its first year.
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