This week the Washington Huskies (4-1,2-0) take on the Colorado Buffaloes (1-5, 0-2) at Husky Stadium this Saturday.
This will be the first meeting between these schools since 2000.
This game won’t be as big or as hostile as the meeting in 2000. The reason the meeting in 2000 was so hostile was because the Huskies were ranked in the top 10 under second year coach Rick Neuheisel.
Neuheisel left Colorado for Washington after the 1998 season to become the third highest paid coach in the nation.
Neuheisel won the battle in 1999 for his first career Huskies victory actually as his 0-2 Huskies defeated Colorado at home 31-24 at Husky Stadium.
In 2000 the Huskies were set to travel to Boulder, Colorado as the 9th ranked Huskies (2-0) fresh off their win over #4 Miami Hurricanes 34-29 were set to take on the Buffaloes (0-2).
In this writeup I’ll quickly recap that famous game which helped the Huskies go 3-0 for the first time since 1992 which was their last Rose Bowl season (before going in 2000).
This game proved to be closer than most had expected as the Huskies would have to rally for the first of many fourth quarter comebacks. The fans showered Neuheisel with fake money, there was plenty of signs about Neuheisel that had some form of greed attached to it.
The game started off sloppy for the Huskies as they marched inside the Buffaloes 10 yard line twice on their first two drives but found themselves up just 3-0. Paul Arnold fumbled on the opening possession at the seven yard line then on the second series the Huskies settled on a John Anderson field goal.
The game would change in the second quarter. Despite the Buffaloes offense not doing anything they would take the lead when Phil Jackson (not the coach) intercepted a Marques Tuiasosopo pass and returned it 28 yards for the touchdown to give the Buffaloes a 7-3 lead.
Like the eventual Rose Bowl champions would do all season long they would rally in the fourth quarter. Trailing 7-3 entering the fourth quarter the Huskies finally capped their 63 yard drive when Willie Hurst (who had a big game the year before) scored a touchdown from two yards out to give the Huskies a 10-7 lead.
After forcing another three and out the Huskies look to put the Buffaloes away. The Huskies went on an eight play 69 yard drive to increase their lead.
On the drive Tuiasosopo scrambled for 13 yards on a key third and nine, hit future first round pick Jerramy Stevens for a gain of 15 yards then hit Wilbur Hooks for a 24 yard touchdown to put the Huskies up 17-7.
The Buffaloes weren’t dead quite yet.
They went on a 10 play 97 yard drive highlighted by freshman quarterback (making his first career start) Bobby Pesavento hit Javon Green with an amazing one handed catch that went 53 yards to the Huskies 12 yard line.
Pesavento would cap the drive by hitting Green for a 19 yard touchdown to close the gap to 17-14.
The Huskies couldn’t put the game away as they punted the ball back to the Buffaloes with 57 seconds left. After a pass interference call the Buffaloes had the ball at midfield.
After a short reception Huskies corner Anthony Vontoure (RIP 2002) stripped the ball away only to be recovered by Huskies defensive tackle Larry Tripplett to preserve the victory for the Huskies 17-14 as they improved to 3-0 on the season.
In front of 50,000+ fans the Washington Huskies ran the ball 49 times for 205 yards. They were led by Tuiasosopo who was 15-29 passing for 200 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions.
Tuiasosopo also ran for 43 yards on the day.
The Huskies ground game was terrific led by Paul Arnold who had 11 carries for 69 yards, Willie Hurst who had 11 for 58 yards with the game winning touchdown and fullback Pat Conniff had 23 yards rushing.
The Huskies passing game was led by Stevens who had seven receptions for 102 yards.
The Huskies would go on to win the Rose Bowl and finish ranked third in the nation that year.
In conclusion, I doubt this game will match the intensity of that game.
For one Colorado fans don’t hate Steve Sarkisian like they hated Neuheisel. For two Colorado’s coach Embree doesn’t hate Sarkisian like Gary Barnett hated Neuheisel.
This game should still be a fun game nonetheless which will hopefully provide great memories for the Huskies who have won two in a row against the Buffaloes after losing three in a row.
The Huskies right now are looking to go 3-0 in conference for the first time since 1997 and 5-1 for the first time since 2001.
Both programs were once proud programs who have fallen but the Huskies are hoping to get back to that 2000 level of football all over again.