If you didn’t see the picture that was posted on the Washington Husky Football Facebook Page, shame on you. Go there right now. It’s a shot of the new field turf that in Husky Stadium. Normally, a picture of field turf is not a huge deal. However, this is not a normal situation. This is the first time we’ve seen the field at the NEW Husky Stadium complete with a view of the stands. I must say, it looks glorious. It gave me chills thinking about August 31 and seeing the 2013 Huskies run out of the tunnel for the first time.
Naturally, I started thinking about some of the other moments at Husky Stadium that gave me chills. I’m not talking about entire games – I am talking about the moments where I was actually in the stands and witnessed greatness in person, or felt the anticipation that we were about to see something truly special. Over the years there have been countless moments that could be considered chill-inducing at Husky Stadium, but these are mine. In no particular order:
- 1991 Apple Cup – Drew Bledsoe getting lit up in the end zone for a safety. I think that play was a microcosm of the entire season. Bledsoe would go on to be the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft, but in that season it didn’t matter who lined up against the Husky defense. They weren’t going to get the better of them. Instead, they were going to impose their will on you again and again and again. We’ll never see a defense like that again.
- 1996 vs. San Jose State – Corey Dillon runs for 222 yards and catches an 83-yard. It was my 15th birthday, and my grandfather took me to the game. Watching him run over those poor Spartans, you know he was NFL-bound. I don’t think he ever actually went to class. He played eight games and cemented his place in the first round.
- 1997 vs. Nebraska – Marques Tuiasosopo is thrown into the fire after Brock Huard gets hurt. He comes in already down 21-0 and marches the offense down the field for a score. The Huskies lost 27-14, but that glimpse of Tui’s leadership was special. I knew he was destined for big things after that. I was over Brock Huard at that point. Sorry, Brock.
- 2001 vs. Michigan – Omare Lowe blocks a field goal and Roc Alexander takes it to the house. Nobody knew what to expect with this team. Tui was gone and we had a hot shot freshman receiver who was untested. The offense sputtered most of the day (even though Reggie Williams was filthy in his debut) and didn’t get in to the end zone. Michigan was lining up for a field goal that would have put them up 15-6 with under 10 minutes to go in the game. Everything happened in an instant, and before we could even figure out who blocked the kick, Alexander was flying down the sideline for the go-ahead TD.
- 2009 vs. USC – The first marquee win for UW under Coach Sark. Everybody knows this story. As the game went on and the Dawgs stuck around, you could feel the anticipation building in the stadium. People were looking around at each other but not talking about it for fear of jinxing it. The eyes said it all. You’d make eye contact with someone in your section and you’d both know “We’re in this, we can do this. But, shhh…” When Locker started that last drive, you just knew it was going to happen.
- 2003 Apple Cup – Cody Picket to Corey Williams. I actually think this is my favorite moment in all my years at Husky Stadium. This game featured an underachieving Husky team and a WSU team trying to win 10 games for a third straight year. The game was sloppy, but Pickett had the Dawgs in position to win the game. With 1:10 left, everybody knew who was getting the ball. It had to go to Reggie Williams. He was the best player on the field. In one of the gutsiest and most brilliant play calls of Keith Gilbertson’s career, he called a play for Williams – Corey Williams. Pickett pump faked to Reggie on a bubble screen, and that was enough for the safety to jump the route and let COREY Williams get free down the sideline for one of the most improbable touchdowns I’d ever seen. But the drama wasn’t over. WSU still had one minute to go, and its offense was explosive. The student section was tense – actually, tense doesn’t begin to describe it. We were scared. We were certain the Cougars had one more score in them. The Husky D got pressure on Josh Swogger and he forced a pass as he was getting sacked, and Marquis Cooper (rest in peace) jumped in front and took it to the house and we rushed the field. Bob Rondeau’s call of the play is among the best of his career; I still get chills thinking about it.
These are my best memories at old Husky Stadium. I am sure I missed some. Let me know what your favorite moments are. Get at me on twitter @psomerstein or @HuskyHaul, and use #HuskyStadiumChills and I will put up a list of all the moments that made the old building so special.
I cannot wait for August 31. Bow down.