Thursday, December 30, 2010
Huskies take on Cornhuskers in Holiday Bowl
When the Washington Huskies(6-6,5-4) take the field tonight in their first bowl game in eight years facing them will be a familiar foe. The Huskies will be facing defending Holiday Bowl champion #17 Nebraska Cornhuskers(10-3,6-2) who destroyed the Huskies earlier in the year 56-21. That was a game which saw Jake Locker have his career worst day passing just 4 for 20 with two picks and another pick that was called back. The Huskies will now have a chance for redemption against the Cornhuskers. The Huskies will also be trying to do something no Huskies team has ever done which is win the Holiday Bowl. The Huskies have lost three close games in years past in the Holiday Bowl. In this following blog post I'll review those Holiday Bowl games which this year will be the fourth time sine 1996 the Huskies have played in this bowl.
December 30th, 1996: #8 Colorado Buffaloes(9-2,7-1) vs #13 Washington Huskies(9-2,7-1)
This was when the Holiday Bowl featured on most occasions two highly ranked teams. This game featured Rick Neuheisel before he supposedly ruined Huskies football as Colorado's head coach. The Buffaloes were led by Senior quarterback Koy Detmer and future scumbag Rae Carruth. The Huskies were led by running back Corey Dillon and freshman quarterback Brock Huard.
The Huskies began the game up 14-0 behind Dillon rushing for two touchdowns on the first two possessions. After that the Buffaloes defense wouldn't allow another score. Detmer would hit future murderer Carruth for a 76 yard touchdown pass to pull within 14-7. Then Huard threw an interception that was ran back for a touchdown to even the game at 14-14.
Jerome Pathon would give the Huskies the lead back when he ran back the kickoff 86 yards for a touchdown to give the Huskies a 21-14 lead. The Buffaloes would lead 24-21 in the first half which looked to be a shootout. Instead both defenses settled down as the Buffaloes won 33-21 led by game MVP Detmer who completed 25 of 45 passes for 371 yards and three touchdowns for the Buffaloes.
December 29th, 1999: Washignton Huskies(7-4,6-2) vs #7 Kansas State Wildcats(10-1, 7-1)
This game featured two teams who didn't want to be there. First for the second straight year Kansas State saw their national championship hopes die once again late in the year. Add insult to injury the Wildcats wouldn't be playing on January 1st. Hoping to avoid what happened the previous year where they were upset the Wildcats were focused this game.
The Huskies under first year head coach Rick Neuheisel saw them almost reach the Rose Bowl. In fact all the Huskies had to do was beat the two worst teams in the Pac-10 to reach the Rose Bowl but instead fell to UCLA in overtime to end their hopes. Both teams featured running threats quarterbacks as Kansas State had Jonathan Beasley while the Huskies had Marques Tuiasosopo who nicknamed by Keith Jackson as the "warrior" when he bruised his tail bone but threw for 300 yards and ran for 200 yards against eventual Pac-10 champion Stanford Cardinals.
This was a terrific back and forth game which saw the Huskies kick two field goals in the first quarter but Beasley for a one yard touchdown to give the Wildcats a 7-6 lead at the end of the first. After trailing 10-6 the Huskies would take the lead at halftime when Pat Conniff would rush for a three yard touchdown to give the Huskies a 13-10 lead at halftime.
In the second half Beasley would rush for an 11 yard touchdown to give the Wildcats a 17-13 lead. The Huskies would then answer back with a touchdown from Maurice Shaw from five yards out to give the Huskies a 20-17 lead heading into the fourth quarter. That is when Kansas State went on a 20 play 92 yard drive after intercepting Tuiasosopo on the eight yard line for the game winning touchdown. The touchdown was capped by Beasley's third rushing touchdown of the game from one yard out.
The Huskies would lose the heartbreaker but go on to the Rose Bowl the next year. Tuiasosopo finished 18 of 27 for 197 yards with 11 rushes for 30 yards. Beasley the games MVP had just 48 yards rushing but three touchdowns along with 216 yards passing.
December 28th, 2001: #21 Washington Huskies(8-3,6-2) vs #9 Texas Longhorns(10-2,7-1)
This game goes down as one of the top Holiday Bowl games ever played. The Texas Longhorns were hoping to play for the National Championship but were upset in the Big 12 title game by Colorado a team they had destroyed earlier in the year. The Huskies began the year 7-1 saw themselves limping into this game after being destroyed by eventual national champion Miami Hurricanes 65-7. Rick Neuheisel was the Huskies coach who in his first three years as Huskies coach saw his teams finish second in the Pac-10, win the Pac-10 and finish second again. Both teams featured strong passing games from Texas Quarterback Major Applewhite who replaced Chris Simms, Applewhite's main target was Roy WIlliams. While the Huskies featured sophomore quarterback Cody Pickett whose main weapon was Reggie Williams.
After a scoreless first quarter the fireworks began in the second quarter. After two John Anderson field goals for the Huskies they finally scored a touchdown when Terry Johnson a defensive lineman intercepted a pass and ran it back 38 yards for a touchdown to give the Huskies a 13-0 lead. The Longhorns would answer back when Applewhite would hit a 43 yard touchdown pass then a 25 yard touchdown pass to Roy Williams to retake the lead at 14-13. The Huskies would kick score a touchdown when Pickett would hit seldom used tight end Joe Collier for a four yard touchdown. With no time remaining Anderson would kick his third field goal to give the Huskies a 23-14 lead at halftime.
The Huskies would began the second half with Pickett hitting Jeramy Stevens in the flat as Stevens would rumble in the end zone for a 17 yard touchdown. After a Longhorns field goal cut the lead to 30-17 the Huskies would score another touchdown by Willie Hurst from four yards out. The Huskies would fail on the two point try but hold a commanding 36-17 lead. That is when Applewhite would start picking on Chris Massey over and over again. The Longhorns would get another field goal pulling within 36-20 heading into the fourth quarter.
In the fourth Applewhite would throw for a two yard touchdown, then the Longhorns would rush for another touchdown pulling the game within 36-33. Applewhite would then hit tight end Bo Scaife from four yards out to give the Longhorns a 40-36 lead with six minutes to play. The Huskies Willie Hurst playing in his last game would bust a 34 yard touchdown run with a little over a minute left which everyone thought the Huskies would win. Applewhite wasn't done just yet he would hit some more long passes to Roy WIlliams which set up the game winning touchdown by Ivan Williams from three yards out. The Longhorns would win 47-43.
The MVP award was Co-MVP which was fitting as there was no losers in this game. Applewhite would complete 37 of 55 passes for 473 yards with four touchdowns and three interceptions. He was the Co-MVP and his main target was Roy WIlliams who caught 11 passes for 134 yards and a touchdown. For the Huskies WIllie Hurst ran for 137 yards on 16 carries for two touchdowns in earning the Co-MVP in the loss. Cody Pickett completed 27 of 54 passes for 293 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. His main weapon was tight end Jerramy Stevens who caught nine passes for 109 yards and a touchdown.
As you can see the Huskies all three times were huge underdogs much like today. All three times the Huskies had leads in the game but couldn't hang on. After what everyone saw in September when Nebraska spanked the Huskies 56-21 Husky fans would take a close game and build for the future. The Holiday Bowl has always had some crazy scores and finishes and hopefully this year the Huskies can pull off the upset.