Maximus effort

  • JOHN SLEEPER / Herald Writer
  • Thursday, October 26, 2000 9:00pm
  • Sports

With an injured rear end, Tuiasosopo left Stanford behind in last year’s 35-30 UW win


Herald Writer

SEATTLE — Five-hundred-nine yards. Two-hundred-seven yards rushing. Three-hundred-two yards passing. One game.

No one ever put up those numbers. Not Joe Namath. Not Joe Montana. Not Joe Piscapo.

No one until Oct. 20, 1999, when Marques Tuiasosopo did it for the University of Washington at the expense of the Stanford Cardinal.

Stanford defensive end Riall Johnson, a Mariner High School graduate, remembers it well. Too well. And Saturday, stopping Tuiasosopo is Johnson’s mission in the rematch at Stanford Stadium.

"It made me sick to my stomach that we let someone do that," Johnson said. "Marques is a great player, but I don’t care if it’s Michael Vick. If you let someone do that to your defense, it makes you sick."

Johnson remembers it better than Tuiasosopo himself. So single-minded is the UW quarterback on winning that he remembers the score (35-30, Washington) more than any of his individual numbers.

Really. No kidding.

"I don’t think about it," he said. "It was last year. I like to keep the past in the past. It’s about what have I done for the team lately. As far as last year’s game, I think 10 years from now, I sit down and go through the memories."

The game was the high point in Washington’s option attack, a scheme the Huskies haven’t tapped into nearly as much this season.

Stanford never properly dealt with Washington’s blocking scheme that day, and it paid dearly. The Huskies pulled their play-side guard as the lead blocker on the option. The Cardinal played the option by the book, covering the quarterback and tailback, but never solved the problem of the extra blocker.

"We tried to adjust, but obviously, it didn’t work," Johnson said.

What made Tuiasosopo’s day all the more astonishing is that he did it on one buttock.

On the second play of the game, Tuiasosopo threw a short pass and was decked by Stanford linebacker Sharcus Steen and landed on his wallet.

He briefly left the game for treatment, but returned after missing just a couple of plays. Tuiasosopo limped into the interview room with a badly bruised hip after the game and spent the next day on crutches.

He practiced little that week, but played in the Huskies’ 33-25 victory over Arizona. He was hobbled by the injury the rest of the regular season, and was not completely healthy until the Holiday Bowl.

But against Stanford, Tuiasosopo credits adrenaline for much of his astonishing day.

"It was just a game situation," he said. "Anytime something like that happens, you don’t want it to be a distraction. Whether it’s a big injury or a small injury, you just push it into the back of your mind. You still want to play. You’re still held to the same expectations and responsibilities as a player.

"And then you have guys who are either hobbled or 100 percent, and they’re coming after you."

Tuiasosopo didn’t appear particularly injured on a 30-yard touchdown run in the third quarter that brought the Huskies to a 23-19 deficit. Nor did he on a 10-yard scoring run that put Washington ahead to stay, 28-23.

Tuiasosopo took some anti-inflammatory medication after the game and went home. The next morning, the pain unloaded on him.

"I could barely get up the stairs," he said. "But that holds true for any kind of injury. You play in the game and you know it’s there. But it’s never as bad as it is the next morning."

Tuiasosopo’s pain lasted just a few weeks. Johnson’s has lasted a year.

"I need to redeem myself," Johnson said. "I want to make them pay for it."

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