85 Years and Counting ...

Nov. 4, 2004

by Alisa Brandle

A majestic monument on the shores of Lake Washington, Husky Stadium has been home to Washington football greatness for 85 years. Consistently voted one of the most scenic stadiums in the nation, it has proven to be an imposing opponent for visitors hoping to pin a loss on Washington's gridiron heroes. Today, Washington celebrates its 85th season in Husky Stadium, where it boasts 338 wins all-time, including 73 wins in the last 89 games.

As Husky Stadium enters a new phase in its storied history, we take a look back at some of the great games and outstanding players on which the stadium's rich tradition has been built:

November 7, 1925 -- A Rose Bowl berth was on the line for Stanford and Washington in 1925, but so was the nation's All-America honor at tailback, considered a dead heat between Stanford's Ernie Nevers and the Huskies' George Wilson. Facing a fourth-and-two on the Husky 20-yard line in the third quarter, Nevers attempted to jump over the center of the Husky defensive line but was knocked flat by UW's Elmer Tesreau and Wilson, who played both ways in the game. Nevers' dazed condition caused him to miss signals on key plays for the remainder of the game, as Washington rolled to a 13-0 victory to cinch the team's second-ever trip to the Rose Bowl, and a consensus All-America honor for Wilson.

November 26, 1936 -- With Washington leading Washington State by only one game in the Pac-10 rankings, this match-up marked the first of many games where the cross-state rivals would battle for the conference championship. Washington's defense dominated, holding the Cougars to just 61 total yards and never allowing WSU across the 50-yard line. The Huskies' 40-0 shutout clinched the conference title and a bid to the Rose Bowl.

October 7, 1950 -- Tenth-ranked Washington trailed No. 13 UCLA 20-14 with less than two minutes remaining, before quarterback Don Heinrich and tailback Hugh McElhenny engineered a 16-play, 85-yard drive, capped by a McElhenny scamper into the end zone, to tie the game. The extra point effort by Jim Rosenzweig secured the 21-20 Washington victory, one of a program-best eight wins on the season.

October 29, 1960 -- Trailing rival Oregon 6-0 late in the fourth quarter, and facing a fourth-and-six, quarterback Bob Hivner found wide receiver Don McKeta with a pass on the sideline. McKeta made like he was going out bounds before turning upfield past a surprised Oregon defender, and sprinting 47 yards for the game-winning touchdown. Washington won its final three games of the season for a 10-1 record and a conference crown, and defeated Minnesota in the 1961 Rose Bowl.

September 18, 1971 -- Legendary quarterback Sonny Sixkiller engineered four comebacks in a game against Purdue that featured 10 touchdowns and nine lead changes. Down 35-31 with four minutes remaining in the game, Sixkiller took the Huskies 71 yards in just five plays, the last a 33-yard strike to Tom Scott. Sixkiller's 387 yards passing in the contest would stand as a UW record for 18 years, while the 38-35 Husky victory would go down as one of the greatest ever in Husky Stadium's 85 seasons.

November 21, 1981 -- Billed as the biggest Apple Cup since the 1936 game that decided the Rose Bowl candidate, the Cougars came into Husky Stadium ranked 14th and hungry for a Rose Bowl bid. Trailing 7-3 in the second quarter, the 17th-ranked Huskies went on a 20-7 run in the second half to pave their way to an Apple Cup title, and with it, a Rose Bowl invitation.

September 22, 1990 -- In a game honoring the 100th season of Husky football, the Huskies shutout Pac-10 powerhouse USC. Quarterback Mark Brunell threw for 197 yards in the 31-0 win --the worst USC defeat in 30 years -- which prompted Trojans' quarterback Todd Marinovich's famous quote: 'All I saw was purple.' The Huskies went on the win the Rose Bowl over Iowa, setting the stage for a national-title run the following year.

September 19, 1992 -- Husky fans had to wait all day for this marquee matchup between No. 2 Washington and 12th-ranked Nebraska, but when the 73,000-plus UW faithful finally packed into their seats for the 6:30 p.m. kickoff -- the latest in Husky Stadium history -- they made sure it would be a memorable night. ESPN measured crowd noise at 135 decibels, noise that caused the Nebraska linemen to jump offsides on consecutive plays. The Huskies' 29-14 win lifted Washington to No. 1 in the polls, and set the stage for a third-consecutive Rose Bowl run.

September 9, 2000 -- No. 3 Miami visited Husky Stadium in 2000 with national-title aspirations, but were forced to settle for defeat as a raucous home crowd sparked a 34-29 Husky win. Miami's Santana Moss fumbled the opening kickoff as Washington raced to a 21-3 first half lead. Native Floridian Rich Alexis took his first-career carry 50 yards down the sideline for a touchdown to give UW an 18-point lead in the third quarter, before Miami closed the gap late. The Huskies would go on to finish the season with an 11-1 record and a No. 3 national ranking, while Miami would not lose again for nearly two and half years, compiling 34 straight wins.

To relive more of the highlights of Husky Stadium's 85 years, see Husky Stadium: Great Games and Golden Moments, whose pages illustrate the stadium's history and tradition.