Northwest NEWS

Nember 13, 2000

Sports

Tuiasosopo, Conniff play last home game

* by Russ Paris
   Special to the Weekly
   It doesn't seem it's been four years since Falcon fans were reading about the exploits of Marques Tuiasosopo and Pat Conniff on the football field for Woodinville High School.
   But it had been, and both players started in their final home game for the University of Washington Huskies last Saturday against the U.C.L.A. Bruins.
   Conniff's career has seen several injuries as the jackhammer fullback got tough inside yards for the Dawgs.
   Conniff missed two earlier games this season after tearing a collateral ligament in his knee and sat out the second half of last week's Arizona game with a dislocated shoulder.
   "I'm not letting a sore shoulder keep me out of the final home game of my Husky career," Conniff said before the game. "It will take a lot more than a bad wing to stop me from coming out of the tunnel one last time."
   "Football is still fun," said Husky quarterback Marques Tuiasosopo. "I have learned responsibilities as an individual and honed my football skills as a player during my four years in college.
   "My biggest thrill was the first win under Coach Neuheisel last year against Colorado. It's kind of like you never forget your first girlfriend.
   "There were a lot of great games this year, but the one against the Buffaloes is the one I'll remember."
   Reflecting on his Husky career, Tuiasosopo said, "I've developed bonds with my teammates. We were a group that just didn't want to become part of a coaching change, but a group that wanted to win. We developed a warrior mentality, and it shows with all the close, come-from-behind wins we had this year.
   "As I walk down the tunnel this last time, I will think about past and future players. I will think about Husky tradition, and I will think about the inspiration I received from my mother and father, the coaches and the fans."
   On Saturday, the Conniff - Tuiasosopo connection was good for two touchdowns and some great memories as the Huskies beat UCLA 35-28.
   Conniff, playing with an injured shoulder, produced nine carries for 27 yards, including a pair of touchdowns in the third quarter. Tuiasosopo threw 12 for 19 completions piling up 406 total offensive yards.
   Last week Tuiasosopo was named one of the eight semi-finalists for the Davey O'Brien Quarterback Award. He is also in the running for the Johnny Unitas Award and the Heisman Trophy.
   "I feel he is very deserving," said Rick Neuheisel, U.W. head coach. "Our offensive game plan this year didn't produce great numbers for him, but he led this team like the blue chipper he is to give us those come-from-behind wins and our winning record.
   The Huskies finish their regular season Saturday in the Apple Cup against the Washington State University Cougars in a game to be played in Pullman.