One pump fake and a tight spiral to the end zone. That's how Cody Pickett salvaged Washington's turbulent season.
Pickett threw a 21-yard pass to Corey Williams with 1:10 to play, lifting Washington to a 27-19 victory over No. 8 Washington State on Saturday night.
"It felt good. It was right there," Pickett said. "He did a great job because he caught it near the two and then got into the end zone. I didn't have the best view, but I saw the ref's hands go up. It was a great feeling."
Pickett, ineffective most of the game, established a rhythm in the fourth quarter and directed a 73-yard drive that kept the Huskies, who improved to 6-6 overall and 4-4 in the Pacific 10 Conference, from their first losing season in 27 years.
Washington denied the rival Cougars (9-3, 6-2) a chance at a third consecutive 10-win season. Washington State is assured of a bowl bid, but that won't offset the disappointment of a sixth consecutive Apple Cup loss.
"It was not our day," Cougar Coach Bill Doba said. "Things fell their way."
Marquis Cooper sealed the win for Washington when he intercepted a pass by freshman Josh Swogger and returned it 38 yards for the final touchdown, touching off a celebration in the crowd of 74,549.
"There was pressure on the quarterback and I followed his eyes," Cooper said. "When I made the pick, I knew I was going to take it back."
When the game ended, the Huskies staged a lengthy celebration at midfield and students spilled out of the stands to join in the fun. The Cougars walked solemnly to the locker room.
Last year in Pullman, the Huskies erased a 20-10 deficit with four minutes to play and won, 29-26, in overtime. This time, they trailed, 19-14, after Drew Dunning's fourth field goal, a 26-yarder, with 4:43 left.
Washington State's Jonathan Smith had 128 yards rushing, and Dunning's four field goals helped him become the school's career scoring leader.
But it was another sloppy effort by the Cougars, who committed seven turnovers -- just as they did in victories over Oregon State and UCLA. This time, though, their good fortune didn't come through.
"Not against these guys," Doba said. "These guys came ready and played well."
This win was sweet for Washington fans, who have endured one of the most turbulent years in school history after a tough season that followed the firing of former coach Rick Neuheisel.
"A lot of the things we've encountered weren't just football things," Coach Keith Gilbertson said. "And on the football side, we didn't have the year we thought we'd have."
Smith gave the Cougars enough offense to win, breaking off runs of 28 and 19 yards on the first drive of the third quarter, leading to Dunning's 20-yard field goal.
Smith had two 14-yard bursts in the fourth to set up Dunning's 26-yarder.