By Craig Sanders
Arizona Daily Wildcat
It was the toughest defense he had ever run against, Washington tailback Rashaan Sheehee said as he stood on the field after his team's victory. Arizona's players were too fast, too quick, they closed the gaps before he could get started.
For Sheehee, his two- and three-yard carries seemed almost an exercise in futility. In the middle of the third quarter, he had run for only 22 yards on 7 carries, a stark contrast to the 171 rushing yards he compiled in his first start against Notre Dame on Oct. 7. But with a 17-10 lead and the UW offense no longer moving the ball effectively, Sheehee found the running room he had been looking for all day and sprinted to a 48-yard touchdown that turned the momentum of the game to the Huskies.
"It felt great," Sheehee said. "I think it shifted the game back in our direction. Their defense was pursuing so fast all day long. It was just one of those plays where everything was executed well and it came together."
The clock ticked down to 10:54 left in the third quarter when the Washington Huskies lined up for a routine second-and-three play. They had the ball at the Arizona 48 after quarterback Damon Huard completed a seven-yard pass to tight end Cameron Cleeland on the first play of the drive. The Wildcats had given Washington great starting field position again, something that had become a common sight in the game.
The crowd of 58,471, which threatened to disappear after an early 17-0 deficit, seemed awake now. Arizona had shifted the momentum, scoring 10 straight points at the end of the first half to close to within seven.
Then, on a handoff, Sheehee attacked the hole on the right side of the offensive line, which successfully pushed Arizona's players backwards as Husky fullback Richard Thomas sealed off his man. Sheehee darted forward, broke past the line and raced past the defensive backs for a 48-yard touchdown.
It was as if Arizona Stadium deflated.
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