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THE ROSE BOWL : Huskies Win, but Can’t Go the Rout : Game: Washington rolls to a 33-7 halftime lead, then fends off a rally by Iowa for 46-34 victory.

TIMES SPORTS EDITOR

The University of Washington left the playing field at the end of the 77th Rose Bowl game Tuesday in Pasadena with a 46-34 victory. The University of Iowa left with its head held high.

The Hawkeyes trailed at the half, 33-7, and left for their locker room to a background of sneers and knowing nods from many in the crowd of 101,297. After all, the Pacific 10 champion had won 17 of the previous 21 Rose Bowls from the Big Ten champions, and this annual New Year’s Day mugging of visitors from the snowy, cold Midwest was fast becoming traditional, almost taken for granted.

But even though the eventual result made that Pac-10 streak 18 of 22, Iowa effectively erased any West Coast smugness by scoring 27 points in the second half. And much like their Big Ten predecessors, the 1963 University of Wisconsin team of Ron VanderKelen and Pat Richter that rallied from a 42-14 deficit and barely ended up losing to USC, 42-37, the 1991 Hawkeyes gave the Rose Bowl packed house and a national television audience a day to remember. In fact, the 80 points scored by the two teams topped by one the Rose Bowl record set by Wisconsin and USC in that ’63 game.

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“I just can’t be down on my football team,” Iowa Coach Hayden Fry said. “I admire a team that is down so big, but can still come back, and fight hard and make it an interesting game.

“There’s just not a whole lot you can tell a team when you are down, 33-7, at the half. In the first half, we beat ourselves half the time and they beat us half the time.”

Iowa actually cut Washington’s lead to 39-26 late in the game, but Mark Brunell, Washington’s quarterback and the Amateur Athletic Foundation’s player of the game, delivered the final blow to the Hawkeyes when he connected on a 31-yard scoring pass to Mario Bailey. It was the second time the pair had connected on a scoring pass in the game, and with just over five minutes to play, it presented Iowa with a 46-26 hill to climb.

And the Hawkeyes kept climbing, right to the end, when they ran out of time, not desire.

The first half ended for Iowa with quarterback Matt Rodgers scrambling around near midfield, hotly pursued by half a dozen large and fast players dressed in the bright purple of Washington. Eventually, one Husky tackled Rodgers and another jolted the ball loose, sending one of Rodgers’ Hawkeye teammates hustling to fall on the fumble with :00 showing on the clock.

And that was one of Iowa’s better plays to that point.

It started fairly quietly for the talented Huskies. Iowa held down deep and Travis Hanson kicked a 23-yard field goal for 3-0. But it got wild quickly.

Iowa couldn’t move, elected to punt on fourth and one from its own 35, and Washington’s Andy Mason, a freshman defensive end wearing a quarterback’s No. 13, roared up the middle unimpeded by any Iowa blockers. He swatted down the punt by Jim Hujsak and the ball bounced directly to Dana Hall, who sprinted 27 yards into the end zone for a 10-0 lead.

Iowa put together its best effort of the half after that, marching 65 yards and getting in position for Nick Bell’s 15-yard scoring run when Rodgers scrambled and found Tony Stewart on a 37-yard pass play.

But 10-7 was as good as it would look for the Hawkeyes in the half. After that, the game became a parade to the end zone for Washington.

In order, Hanson kicked a 38-yard field goal, Charles Mincy returned an interception of a terrible pass by Rodgers 37 yards for a touchdown, Brunell rolled out to his left and outsprinted three Hawkeyes to score, and Bailey caught a 22-yard scoring pass in the far right corner of the end zone.

The statistics at the end of the half reflected the score.

Washington had a 9-4 edge in first downs, a 104-32 edge in rushing yards, a 91-47 edge in passing yards and a 195-79 edge in total yardage.

To Iowa’s credit, it came out scratching and scrambling and innovating in the second half.

On the Hawkeyes’ first series, Fry went to some razzle-dazzle, and it worked. He had Rodgers retreat to pass, then throw backward and to his left to tight end Michael Titley. Titley stepped back and launched a long pass toward wide receiver Jon Filloon, who went up for the ball with Washington’s Tommie Smith and came down with it. That brought the Hawkeyes a 53-yard gain and led directly to a seven-yard scoring run by Rodgers.

That cut the lead to 33-14, and it stirred some memories of the 1963 Rose Bowl, when USC led the University of Wisconsin, 42-14, and ended up holding on for dear life and a 42-37 victory.

But Washington put those kinds of thoughts to rest quickly, marching back, gambling on fourth and two from the Iowa 32 and getting a six-yard gain from Brunell. Three plays later, Brunell rolled left, cut back to the middle and went the final 20 yards for 39-14.

Washington’s run attempt for a two-point conversion failed, and the score stayed that way until Rodgers rolled out left for nine yards and a touchdown with 6:27 left in the game. Like the Hawkeyes’ second touchdown of the game, this one was also set up by some Fry trickery.

Rodgers took the snap, pitched back to wide receiver Dana Hughes, who stepped back deep into the pocket and passed to running back Nick Bell, who shed one tackler and went 66 yards to the 21.

The Hawkeyes, never quitting, recovered an onside kick, then rode the strong back of Bell to yet another touchdown, this one on a 20-yard burst up the middle for 39-26. The pass attempt for two points failed.

This time, Washington was set for the inevitable Iowa onside kick. The Huskies even signaled for a fair catch, and when that was achieved and Iowa had interfered with the catch, Washington was five yards farther down the field en route to yet another score. Quickly, Brunell found Bailey for another scoring pass, this one a 31-yarder, and when the kick was good, the Huskies led the Hawkeyes, 46-26.

Still, Iowa refused to die. It took the kickoff and went 72 yards in eight plays and did so in 2:23. Rodgers finished it this time with a 12-yard scoring pass to Mike Saunders, and then added an incredible two-point conversion when Rodgers, scrambling, tossed into a crowd, had a Huskie player bobble it and had it fall into the hands of tackle Ted Velicer, in the end zone.

Now it was 46-34, and Iowa again recovered the ensuing onside kick, but the magic had run out.


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