Monday, August 30, 2010

Background on UW-BYU rivalry

By: Kshell

The Washington Huskies take on the BYU Cougars this Saturday September 4th down in Provo, Utah. The Huskies lead the all-time series vs BYU Cougars 4-3. The Huskies and Cougars have had plenty of good battles in years past. In the previous 7 meetings at least one of the two teams was ranked in six of those matchups and both teams were ranked in two matchups. The biggest battle of them all occured before either team had ever played each other on the field.

In 1984 these two teams finished #1-#2 in the final rankings. The BYU Cougars won the national championship despite not playing a single ranked opponent all season long. They finished the season 13-0 and defeated 6-5 Michigan Wolverines 24-17 in the Holiday Bowl a bowl which is held before New Years day. The Washington Huskies that season went 11-1 and ended the year defeating the Oklahoma Sooners in the Orange Bowl. The Huskies that year only loss was to Rosebowl Champion USC Trojans in USC 16-7 late in the season. BYU is the only team in the AP's history to be rewarded a national championship despite not playing a single ranked opponent during the season. The two teams then agreed to play each other in the 1985 and 1986 seasons.

The Washington Huskies coming off a home defeat to Oklahoma State in 1985 wanted to get some revenge at BYU. The 16th ranked Cougars destroyed the Huskies at Cougar stadium 31-3. Don James was furious with his team after this performance. James very rarely would get blown out in big non conference games. He even threaten to bench some of the older guys on the team. BYU Quarterback Robbie Bosco called it the biggest win in school history. Which set up a nice rematch the following year in Seattle.

In 1986 the 11th ranked Cougars were crushed 52-21 by the 7th ranked Huskies. The Huskies coming off a blowout win over Ohio State 40-7 had this game marked on their calenders for a year. The crowd was pumped up for this game in Seattle until Robert Parker took the opening kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown to give BYU a 7-0 lead. After that the Huskies scored 52 unanswered points. Future NFL quarterback Chris Chandler was to much for BYU. When Don James took out his remaining starters with 6 minutes to go in the game BYU had just 70 yards of total offense. These teams wouldn't play each other for 10 years after this win by the Huskies.

In 1996 the 14th ranked BYU Cougars came to town led by Quarterback Steve Sarkisian. The Huskies coming off a 45-42 defeat at ASU wanted to avoid their first 0-2 start since 1985. The Huskies won this game 29-17 behind Rashaan Shehee who ran for 131 yards and 2 TD's. The Huskies lead by 1996 Pac-10 defensive player of the year Jason Chorak lead a fierce pass rush on Sarkisian all game long.That would be the Cougars only defeat of the season ending 14-1 with a win in the Cotton Bowl. The Huskies that year also wanted to go to the Cotton Bowl with their 9-2 record and having beat BYU head to head. The Cotton Bowl chose BYU instead which again left a bad taste in Washington's mouth. These teams were scheduled to play for the next three seasons.

In 1997 the Washington Huskies began the season ranked 4th in the nation and traveled to 19th ranked BYU Cougars for their first trip to Provo since the disaster of 1985. After the game was tied 7-7, the Huskies opened up the playbook to Jerome Pathon. Pathon had over 160 yards receiving vs the Cougars. The Huskies also had a big rushing game from Rashaan Shehee who ran for 171 yards on 12 carries for two touchdowns. Brock Huard pass 18 of 23 for 285 yards with three touchdown passes as the Huskies won 42-20.

In 1998 the 9th ranked Huskies fresh off an improbable win over the ASU Sun Devils beat the Cougars 20-10. I was at this game in fact it was on my birthday September 19,1998. The game was featured the brand new scoreboard donated by Paul Allen. This scoreboard was the largest scoreboard in the nation. The scoreboard made it so no seat was a bad seat. I remember dying my hair purple for the game. This game featured the emergence of Toure Butler who had a 98 yard kick off return for a TD and a 35 yard fumble recovery for a touchdown. The Huskies stuffed the Cougars rushing attack that day. Brock Huard was 16 of 33 for 178 yards with a touchdown but two picks. The winning streak over BYU was up to 4 games. Current Washington head coach Jim Lambright would improve to 3-0 vs the Cougars.The Huskies still had one game left on its rivalry with BYU.

In 1999 was the start of a new era for the Huskies. This was the first game of the Rick Neuheisel era. The Huskies found themselves down 27-14 in the 4th quarter when Marques Tuiasosopo ran for two scores to give the Huskies the lead 28-27.Tuiasosopo
was 22 of 36 for 237 yards with a passing touchdown along with those two rushing scores .The Huskies couldn't stop Kevin Feterik who threw the game winning pass. In fact Feterik ended the game throwing for over 500 yards. These teams wouldn't face each other for another 9 years.

In 2008 the 15th ranked BYU Cougars came to town. Tyrone Willingham was in a make or break season for the Dawgs having just been blown out by #21 Oregon down in Eugene 44-10 and #3 Oklahoma looming the Huskies had to win this game to have any shot at a successful season and keeping Willinghams job. It was a back and forth game which saw BYU lead 28-21. Jake Locker had a magical 4th quarter drive. With 3 seconds left on the clock Locker escaped a couple of defenders to score what many thought was the game tying touchdown. He was so pumped he barely threw the ball in the air. He was called for unsportsmanlike penalty. The Cougars blocked the PAT and instead of overtime the 15th ranked Cougars escaped with a narrow 28-27 victory despite Locker throwing for 204 yards and a TD while rushing for 62 yards and two scores. The loss left a bitter taste in the mouth which could have lost a potentional big recruit.

In 2009 BYU beat the Huskies again only this time it was off the field. The Cougars landed the top quarterback in the country Jake Heaps. It was a big blow to Husky fans because Heaps went to Skyline highschool. Heaps at Skyline won three state championships. It was a major blow. Then the Huskies announced having been tired of having the toughest schedule in college football every year they are replacing BYU in 2011 and 2012 with Portland State and Eastern Washington.

This 2010 meeting could be the last meeting between these schools for another 10 years or so. I think its a shame because these schools have provided some good games in the past and also have some bad blood with the 1984 national championship, handing BYU their only loss in 1996, BYU getting the cotton bowl over UW in 1996, the end of the 2008 game and now Jake Heaps going to BYU. Its a shame the Huskies and Cougars won't be squaring off the next two years. So fans make sure to appreciate this 2010 game this could be the last time you see the BYU Cougars for a while.

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