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HUNGER GAMES

UDub eager for return to former glory

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POSTED December 27, 2013 12:44 a.m.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Marques Tuiasosopo is looking to get Washington back to a level it hasn’t reached since he was the star quarterback more than a decade ago.

Tuiasosopo leads the Huskies into the Fight Hunger Bowl against BYU on Friday night as interim coach after a whirlwind month that started with coach Steve Sarkisian leaving for Southern California and Chris Petersen being hired away from Boise State.

Tuiasosopo moved up from quarterbacks coach to interim coach to lead the Huskies (8-4) in their bowl preparation against BYU (8-4). Washington is trying to win nine games in a season for the first time since going 11-1 — capped by a Rose Bowl win over Purdue in January 2001 with Tuiasosopo at quarterback.

“It’s been an awesome opportunity,” he said. “It’s been a great experience. It’s something new every day. I have a big notebook of notes. It’s a tremendous honor to be at my alma mater in this role. It’s priceless.”

It’s been a rough stretch at Washington since Tuiasosopo left for the NFL, bottoming out with a winless season in 2008. Sarkisian came in and started a rebuilding process that has led to four straight bowl trips. But the Huskies had not won more than seven games in a season under Sarkisian until this season.

Now they are hoping to use a bowl win to provide momentum for a new era that will begin after this game when Petersen officially takes over the program.

“It would mean a lot,” star running back Bishop Sankey said. “The past few years we had winning seasons but struggled to get over that seven-win hump. Now that we are over it, I think the nine wins would do justice for this program and get us some more attention.”

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