The largest crowd in Husky stadium history since the renovation got to witness something special last night. Millions of people across the country watching on ESPN got to witness something they haven’t seen in 25 years.
We’ve had some mildly impressive wins in recent years. A 5-win Husky team in 2009 upsetting #3 USC with their backup QB, a Thursday-night blackout win at home against UCLA in 2010 (with Jake Locker playing with broken ribs) to help kickstart our run back to bowl game relevancy, a couple of defensive home victories against top 10 teams in 2012, even last year’s road victory against USC as a nice bookend to Sark’s head coaching career.
But, those were all deeply flawed Husky teams. Those were all Husky teams who’d lose to the REALLY great teams. Those were Husky teams who, in the biggest games, would find one way or another to shit the bed. Fumbles, penalties, missed tackles, inability to get off the field on third down. Most times, against the very best, it wouldn’t even be close.
There I’d be, getting my panties in a wad, getting all excited about that week’s showdown against Oregon or Stanford or whoever the fuck was going to be the stepping stone to bigger and better things – IF ONLY WE COULD GET OVER THE HUMP – and then there I’d be, not even an hour into the game, standing there in the stands, voice already hoarse from screaming, brown-out drunk from the 10 hours of tailgating, rain dumping on my pocho-less body, asking myself why. Why do I keep showing up for these games, getting way too excited, when I should know better? These are the Huskies. They don’t beat a Top 10 Stanford team!
They sure as shit don’t dominate them like they did last night!
Last night was … a treasure. If this were a Sark-run Husky team, for starters they would’ve made it one of those inane blackout games that almost never achieve their intended effect. Secondly, we’d be all in a lather at the opening kickoff, and by the end of the first quarter, we’d be a group of quiet, sullen chumps snookered into yet another lie. But, this ISN’T a Sark-run Husky team doing just enough to win 7 games and make an inferior bowl game; this is Chris Petersen’s team, and he’s got higher ambitions.
He’s also got a team, in 2016, that’s really fucking good!
Last night, we were in a lather. Oh boy, were we in a lather! And with every big Husky play, with every big Husky sack, with every big Husky stop on 3rd/4th down, the crowd grew louder and more confident. 6-0, 13-0, 16-0, 23-0, 30-0 just after halftime. The more time that passed, the more our lead grew, the stronger we got. We all got to share in the experience of kicking the asses of one of the teams that’s tormented us the most.
God, it was glorious! Christian McCaffrey was held in check, unable to run free like he does in most of his other games; we probably held him to what will be his worst game of the season! Think about that! We’ll get to say we saw the Heisman Trophy winner at his most bottled up! Hell, we might have done just enough to prevent him from GETTING that trophy! Some voters might think, “Well, so-and-so didn’t have a crappy game like McCaffrey had up in Washington,” and we’ll never know.
Jake Browning was his usual effective, efficient self (210 yards & 3 touchdowns). John Ross got another touchdown, as did Dante Pettis. Myles Gaskin had 100 yards rushing and 2 TDs, Lavon Coleman broke a 25 yard TD run late in the game to rub salt in the wounds. All told, as a team, we had over 200 yards rushing while holding Stanford as a team to 29.
We bullied the bullies. We clogged up their all-world offensive line (always the best of the best prospects they ever draw down in Stanford) with our massive and overpowering defensive linemen. We punished their backfield with 8 sacks and 10 tackles for loss, while our own offensive line (long the source of frustration for Husky fans, as our best Washington state high school linemen keep getting poached by the likes of the Cardinal) had a relatively clean game of 0 sacks and only 1 tackle for loss. We did to them what they always do to us, and for that reason a 44-6 football game has never been more satisfying.
I don’t need to tell you what this means. For starters, we’re entrenched as a Top 10 team going forward. We got to open the eyes of a national audience plagued by East Coast Bias. Last night, we were the only game in town! The only game in the whole damn country! They turned their televisions on last night to see an entertaining game against two Top 10 teams they don’t normally get to see. What they ended up seeing was the dawning of a new age! A Washington team – celebrating our 1991 championship team during commercial breaks – looking to return to prominence. They saw we belong. While our record to this point could’ve been in question based on the level of competition we played, there’s no doubt about the impressiveness of our dominance over Stanford. That team is legit, and we CRUSHED them!
Not only are we entrenched as a Top 10 team, but we’re on the map for the College Football Playoff if we win out. But, at the very least, we’re in the driver’s seat for the Pac-12 North, which puts us in the driver’s seat for the Pac-12 Championship Game, and ultimately a shot at getting back to the Rose Bowl.
Now, we just have to beat the piss out of Oregon next week.