Mike Braunstein (Kim Grinolds/Dawgman.com)
With all apologies to Ben Folds, the Stanford-Washington game wasn't a 'battle of who could care less', it was more a titanic struggle of 'who could play worst'. The Washington Huskies won that battle, which meant they lost the 'war of the scoreboard', 20-3 at Husky Stadium on Saturday. The win by the Cardinal was their first of the season, and their first at Husky Stadium since 1975.
With 26 seniors watching and recruits in the stands, 55,896 in attendence were treated to arguably the worst
football game played by two teams in the history of Washington football. A 74-yard touchdown pass from T.C. Ostrander to Richard Sherman with 14:36 left in the game sealed Washington's fate, as well as any bowl
aspirations. In fact, the true frosh Sherman looked like a world-beater against the Huskies, catching 6
passes for 177 yards on the day.
"I caught the pass and I looked upfield and saw that I had a blocker," Sherman said. "My guy made the block
and I ran upfield and looked for the safety. I broke the safety's tackle and ran upfield for the touchdown."
"The results of the day are difficult to deal with, especially for the players trying to fight through the
tears," Washington Head Coach Tyrone Willingham said. "We didn't play a good football game and didn't execute
and do things that gave us a chance to be successful."
"I couldn't be more proud of the way our players played, primarily and especially our seniors. It's really easy to go throug the adversity that those guys have gone through and not put your best foot forward," Stanford Head Coach Walt Harris said. "But all year long our guys have worked hard and worked to become a better football team, and finally today it showed."
Anthony Russo had a chance to make a very big play on Washington's next possession, but couldn't pull in a
perfectly-thrown pass by banged-up Carl Bonnell. It was to be a microcosm for the Huskies' day; close, but no
cigar. By the time the game was out of reach, seagulls were circling the west endzone like vultures, and any
bowl hopes the Huskies had entertained prior to gametime were history.
"Anytime you aim toward something and try to achieve something that you don't, it's very tough," Willingham
said. "But if we have men down there with real character and the right leadership that I think we have in our
coaches, we can come out battling next week for the Apple Cup. There's always something to play for."
The Huskies (4-7, 2-6) lost starting quarterback Carl Bonnell to a thigh bruise in the first quater, but got
him back in the third after Johnny DuRocher was knocked out on a pick-six by Stanford safety Bo McNally, the
second time McNally had intercepted DuRocher on the day. For a time after the play, it appeared as if senior
walk-on Felix Sweetman might enter the game with DuRocher down and Bonnell on an exercise bike, but Bonnell
came in to finish the rest of the game. Washington accounted for 77 total yards through three quarters and
overall, only the third time they've been held to under 200 yards offensively since 1986.
The Huskies held the Cardinal to nearly 50 yards under their normal rush production per game, and overall,
but couldn't overcome their own struggles moving the ball. For the game, Washington finished with 161 yards,
2.2 yards per play. Bonnell and DuRocher combined for 11-44 for 122 yards and three interceptions.
UW drew first blood on a 40-yard drive, punctuated by a Mike Braunstein 28-yard field goal that barely made
it through the uprights. Bonnell replaced by DuRocher during the drive, but it didn't help the Huskies
offensive woes. A 29-yard field goal by Stanford's Aaron Zagory ended the half, mercifully, at three. Even
though the two passes from Ostrander to Sherman totaled 75 yards, the drive itself only lasted 65.