Friday, October 14, 2011
Huskies host Buffaloes: Flashback to 1999 last time Colorado came to Husky Stadium
The Washington Huskies(4-1,2-0) take on the Colorado Buffaloes(1-5,0-2) this Saturday at home in Husky Stadium. The Huskies are coming off a bye week and have won two games in a row. While the Buffaloes have lost three games in a row and in a rebuilding season. The Huskies are looking to go 5-1 for the first time since 2001 and 3-0 in conference play for the first time since 1997. The Huskies will have their hands full defensively as the Buffaloes feature running back Rodney Stewart who has rushed for 399 yards(3.7 YPC) with a touchdown but also has caught 26 passes for 417 yards(16.0 YPC). The Buffaloes quarterback is Tyler Hansen who has thrown for 1,527 yards with 12 touchdowns to three interceptions on the season. The Huskies are favored by 14.5 points this game due to their explosive offense.
September 25th, 1999: Colorado Buffaloes(2-1) at Washington Huskies(0-2)
This game was a very hated contest heading into the game. Rick Neuheisel left the Colorado Buffaloes after just four seasons for the Washington Huskies. The Huskies made Neuheisel the third highest paid coach in the nation behind Florida State's Bobby Bowden and Florida's Steve Spurrier. When Neuheisel came to Washington he was immediately reported for recruiting violations by Oregon Ducks head coach Mike Belotti, Washington State Cougars coach Mike Price and Colorado Buffaloes coach Gary Barnett. More importantly for Neuheisel was getting his Huskies on track as he began his career 0-2 with junior quarterback Marques Tuiasosopo wasn't fitting in Neuheisel's pro style offense. Leading up to the Colorado week Neuheisel switched gears and decided to become an option team. That decision would alter Huskies history over the next two seasons. This was a big game on ABC as Colorado preseason was ranked in the top 5 but they were upset to Colorado State so Barnett wasn't making friends at his new school either. While the Huskies were coming off an embarassing home loss to Air Force. Both programs who won a national championship earlier that decade needed this win. For the Huskies who were coming off a lackluster 6-6 season couldn't afford to start the year off 0-3.
After a scoreless first quarter the Huskies finally got on the board. The Huskies had a very long consuming drive that lasted over seven minutes which ended in a difficult decision by Neuheisel. The game was 0-0 and the Huskies were facing a fourth and goal from the one yard line. Neuheisel who always took risks decided to go for it on fourth down. He was rewarded by a Willie Hurst one yard leap into the endzone to give the Huskies a 7-0 lead which was short lived. On the ensuing kickoff Buffaloes cornerback Ben Kelly silent the Husky crowd with a 98 yard kickoff return for the touchdown. In the third quarter the Huskies would regain the lead after another long drive Hurst would end the drive with a three yard touchdown run to give the Huskies a 14-7 lead. The Buffaloes would strike back with a Cortlend Johnson 24 yard touchdown run to tie up the score at 14-14. Tuiasosopo would fumble the ball and once again Kelly was right there to take advantage. Kelly scooped up the fumble 38 yards for the touchdown to give the Buffaloes a 21-14 lead. The Huskies would respond when true freshman John Anderson hit a 40 yard field goal to cut the lead to 21-17 heading into the fourth quarter. That is when Tuiasosopo like he would do for the next two seasons came alive in the fourth quarter.
In conclusion, these two programs were once powerhouse programs in the 1990's have both fallen in this decade. The Huskies led by Sarkisian appear to have recovered finally from their slump while the Buffaloes are headed for a long season. The Huskies hopefully learned from their mistakes against Eastern Washington won't take the Buffaloes lightly. This is a team that could easily be 3-3 but instead they are 1-5 without their top receiver Paul Richardson. The Huskies offense should have no problem against the Buffaloes defense who has a young secondary. Look for Price to light up the Buffaloes secondary as he is finally healthy for the first time all season long. Sarkisian like Neuheisel was back then is on top of the mountain at Montlake and unlike Neuheisel I think he'll last more than four seasons in Seattle. The Huskies are hoping to turn the corner as a program and that starts this Saturday with a convincing win over a conference opponent. This game on Saturday won't have the grudge match as that game in 1999 but this game is an opportunity for the Huskies to show they are for real this season.