university of washington blog

UW football history: *My* top 5 heartbreaking moments in time

This might hurt a little…

The Washington Huskies football team has seen plenty of highs and more than plenty lows in their history. They have won 15 Pac-10 championships, 7 Rose Bowls and 3 National Championships. (Yes 3, don’t argue with me! Look at the 1960 championship.)

In between all that glory were some speed bumps, though. And those speed bumps were painful.

Painful for the players on the field, the coaches and the fans watching it unfold before their very eyes.

The Huskies have definitely had their fair share of ugly moments.

Here are my 5 most heartbreaking losses in Husky Football History.

5. The entire 2008 season

The futility known as the 2008 Washington Huskies regular season saw them go an astounding 0-12 in the year. This set a Pac-10 record, as no team had ever gone winless. Not even the Cougs, surprisingly.

They were also the only team in the country in the 2008 season to go winless.

What an honor, huh? It gets better.

UW was outscored by opponents that season 159-463. The worst being a 56-0 drubbing from USC, who was #5 in the country at the time.

4. September 7, 2006 at USC

Who knows how the season would have turned out if the Huskies stole this one.

The Huskies finished 5-7 in 2006. After losing to a behemoth Oklahoma team earlier in the year, Washington went into the Coliseum with a 4-1 record to face #2 USC.

The Huskies were down 26-20 and marching the ball down the field. After driving to the USC 15 yard line, the game clock was supposed to stop, as is the rule in the NCAA. The Huskies ran down field to get one more play off, but instead of getting the opportunity, the clock had run out and the game was over.

Miscommunication by the referees had started the clock early, which led to it expiring before Isaiah Stanback could be snapped the ball.

The Huskies went on to lose the next 5 games after this heartbreaker.

3. September 6, 2008 vs BYU

The 2008 season was brutal, but the fortune could have been changed after losing this heart-breaker to BYU. The Huskies came in after being drubbed the previous week by Oregon. Jake Locker was in the Heisman race and the team was looking up.

The teams traded touchdowns, 1 per quarter. #15 BYU had Washington cornered, down by a touchdown when Jake Locker broke free and rushed for a touchdown with 2 seconds remaining in the game.

As he scored, Locker threw the ball in the air over his shoulder in celebration and joined his teammates in hooting and hollering.

A flag would fly, though, as Locker was called for excessive celebration. The ball as moved back 15 yards on the potential game tying PAT, and was blocked by BYU to end the game.

2. November 10, 1990 vs. UCLA

The Huskies were a powerhouse in the 80’s and 90’s and 1990 was one if their strongest years.


UCLA knocked Washington out of the national title hunt in 1990

Both Mark Brunell and Billy Joe Hobert took teams leading this Husky team down the stretch. After an early season loss to eventual champ Colorado, the Huskies hosted UCLA in a conference showdown.

Coming into the contest, the Huskies were ranked #2 in the nation and were in the talks to be National Championship bound.

UCLA would defeat Washington 25-22 at Husky Stadium that day. The Huskies dropped to #10 in the country and went on to demolish Washington State in the Apple Cup and then hand Iowa a defeat in the Rose Bowl.

1. 2011 Alamo Bowl vs Baylor

With the 2011 Alamo Bowl fresh in our minds, let’s rub some salt in it, shall we? The Huskies have a storied past with many rivalries and big games. I don’t know if any game hurt more than this loss.

No, it wasn’t for a national title or a Heisman Trophy. It was for redemption. It was for a glimmer of hope. It was a battle they started with their backs against the wall.

Baylor shot out to a quick lead behind Robert Griffin III’s insane athletic ability. The Huskies would answer before Baylor jumped out to a 2 score lead. They would go back and forth throughout the game with the Huskies entering the 4th quarter winning by 6.

They wouldn’t score again, though, as Baylor RB Terrance Ganaway single handedly put the Huskies away to end the game 67-56 in favor of the Bears. The teams combined for 123 points, 1397 yards and 17 touchdowns.

This game hurt, because the Huskies had a comfortable lead until the defense imploded.

Giving up 67 points in itself is imploding, but nobody cares if you win. Their 4th quarter implosion cost them the game that was destined and lived up to being a shootout. It was going to be which defense could come up with the biggest stop.

There were some positives, though.

Soon after the game, Defensive Coordinator Nick Holt was let go. The country also got their first glance at Keith Price on a national stage to add to the expectations for next season.


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About Brandon Choate

Guest reporter on "Real Rob Report." Raised on Eastside of Seattle, a super fan of every sports team in Seattle. Bleeds Blue, Green, Teal, Purple and Gold. Likes video games, food, and poor attempts at comedy. Connect with Brandon today!
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