The Washington Huskies have played literally dozens of road games against nationally ranked opponents since 1947, when The Associated Press launched its wire-service poll, but have precious few victories to show for their efforts.
In fact, Washington, taking on No. 7 Stanford Saturday in Palo Alto, played 97 games against a ranked opponent on the road since 1947 and won just 19 times, or less than 20 percent. In UW’s 19 victories, the Huskies have bested a team in the Top 10, where the 2011 Cardinal reside, on eight occasions, and not once since 2003.
That year, on Oct. 18, a Keith Gilbertson-coached UW team en route to a 7-6 season defeated No. 22-rated Oregon State in Corvallis, a win in which Cody Pickett threw for 285 yards and three touchdowns in a 38-17 victory.
Since that win, which took place while Jake Locker was a freshman at Ferndale High School, the Huskies have played a ranked team on the road 14 times, and are nada-for-14, which includes the 51-38 loss to then-No. 11 Nebraska Sept. 17.
As we said, Washington has eight road wins over teams ranked in the Associated Press Top 10. The Huskies haven’t whipped a team of that stature since Nov. 23, 2002 — Nate Robinson was a freshman cornerback — when they scored a 29-26, three-overtime victory over a Jason Gesser-led Washington State team in perhaps the most exciting Apple Cup ever played.
(Remarkably, Neuheisel’s 2002 Huskies ended the season with back-to-back victories over ranked opponents on the road. A week before beating the Cougars at Martin Stadium, they handled No. 23 Oregon 42-14 at Autzen Stadium, thanks to Pickett’s 316 yards and four touchdowns and Reggie Williams’ school-record 14 catches for 198 yards and three scores.)
The 19 wins over ranked opponents on the road span 1959 through 2003. Don James (1975-92) coached nine, which included two in 1991 (Nebraska and California) when the Huskies were en route to a share of the national championship. UW’s victories over ranked opponents on the road, sorted by opponent rank:
|1980||Nov. 15||Don James||at USC||2||W 20-10||Tom Flick|
|1984||Sept. 15||Don James||at Michigan||2||W 20-11||Hugh Millen|
|1982||Nov. 13||Don James||at ASU||3||W 17-13||Steve Pelluer|
|2002||Nov. 23||Rick Neuheisel||at WSU||3||W 29-26||Cody Pickett|
|1994||Sept. 24||Jim Lambright||at Miami||5||W 38-20||Damon Huard|
|1991||Oct. 19||Don James||at Cal||7||W 24-17||B. Joe Hobert|
|1998||Sept. 5||Jim Lambright||at ASU||8||W 42-38||Brock Huard|
|1991||Sept. 21||Don James||at Nebraska||9||W 36-21||B. Joe Hobert|
|1959||Oct. 24||Jim Owens||at Oregon||11||W 13-12||Bob Schloredt|
|1975||Nov. 1||Don James||at UCLA||13||W 17-13||Warren Moon|
|1993||Oct. 9||Jim Lambright||at Cal||16||W 24-23||Damon Huard|
|1995||Oct. 14||Jim Lambright||at Stanford||16||W 38-28||Damon Huard|
|1978||Oct. 14||Don James||at Stanford||18||W 34-31||Warren Moon|
|1986||Oct. 11||Don James||at Stanford||18||W 24-14||Chris Chandler|
|2010||Oct. 2||Steve Sarkisian||at USC||18||W 32-31||Jake Locker|
|1997||Sept. 6||Jim Lambright||at BYU||19||W 42-20||Brock Huard|
|1980||Oct. 18||Don James||at Stanford||20||W 27-24||Tom Flick|
|2003||Oct. 18||K. Gilbertson||at OSU||22||W 38-17||Cody Pickett|
|2002||Nov. 16||Rick Neuheisel||at Oregon||23||W 42-14||Cody Pickett|
Oddsmakers have established Washington as a 20-point underdog to Andrew Luck-led Stanford. The Huskies have never overcome such odds to beat a AP Top 10 foe on the road. The longest odds overcome: UW entered the “Whammy in Miami” game in 1994 as a 14-point underdog. The only other time they won as a double-digit underdog: at USC in 1980 when gamblers picked the Trojans by 13.
What follows are brief sketches of Washington’s eight victories over AP Top 10 opponents on the road, listed according to the ranking of the opponent:
Unranked UW 20, No. 2 USC 10 (Nov. 15, 1980): A 73-yard punt return TD by Husky CB Ray Horton became the key play in a game in which Washington withstood a 216-yard rushing effort by the Trojans Marcus Allen. UW entered the contest as 13-point underdogs (Horton is now the defensive coordinator of the Arizona Cardinals).
No. 16 UW 20, No. 2 Michigan 11 (Sept. 15, 1984): Quarterback Hugh Millens 73-yard, third-quarter touchdown pass to WR Mark Pattison on the first play of the second half gave Washington the victory in front of 103,072 stunned Michigan fans in Ann Arbor. Millen is the only quarterback in UW history to direct victories over two top AP Top 3 opponents (he also orchestrated Washington’s 28-17 win over No. 2 Oklahoma in the 1985 Orange Bowl).
No. 7 UW 17, No. 3 ASU (Nov. 13, 1982): Some 3,000 fans, who watched the game (played in Tempe) on a special big screen in an otherwise deserted Husky Stadium, stormed into the end zone and tore down the goal posts after the Huskies polished off the Sun Devils.
Unranked UW 29, No. 3 Washington State 26, 3 OTs (Nov. 23, 2002): John Anderson kicked five FGs, including the game-winner from 49 yards, as the Huskies won the first three-overtime game in the history of the Apple Cup and kept WSU from clinching an appearance in the Rose Bowl.
No. 19 UW 38, No. 5 Miami 20 (Sept. 24, 1994): The Hurricanes, a 14-point favorite featuring Ray Lewis and Warren Sapp, had not lost at the Orange Bowl in 58 games over eight years before Washington pulled off the improbable “Whammy in Miami. Key play: Damon Huard’s 75-yard touchdown pass to Richard Thomas.
No. 3 UW 24, No. 7 California 17 (Oct. 19, 1991): The Bears entered the game 5-0, their best start in 29 years. Key moment occurred on the third play of the fourth quarter when Beno Bryant raced 65 yards for a touchdown. His backfield mate, Jay Barry, finished with 143 yards and a touchdown.
No. 18 UW 42, No. 8 Arizona State 38 (Sept. 5, 1998): In the season opener for both teams, UW quarterback Brock Huard sealed the win when, facing a fourth-and-17 from his 37-yard line in the fourth quarter, he hit TE Reggie Davis with a 63-yard touchdown pass.
No. 4 UW 36, No. 9 Nebraska 21 (Sept. 21, 1991): Tom Osborne’s Cornhuskers had won 20 consecutive non-conference road games and appeared headed for an upset over the Huskies, a three-point favorite. But UW scored four unanswered TDs in the fourth quarter — Billy Joe Hobert threw for two scores and ran for a third — and notched its most impressive win in a 12-0 season.