In this post we look at the greatest husky victories just based on the quality of the opponent and Washington being an underdog. We are not considering how the victories may have influenced the rest of the season or the tenure of a coach. Road or neutral sight victories are more significant than home victories.
#5): 16-13 Over #3 USC in 2009
This one is recent and makes the list for lack of something better. It is certainly a favorite of doogs and it heightened the “Bark for Sark” meme. Washington apparently was a 20 point underdog as USC’s backup QB Aaron Corp was a game time decision. I recall that word was Corp would be the starter a day or two before the game.
I also recall a few days before the game telling my buddy (an LSU fan) that UW had a chance at the upset. UW just played a top 10 LSU tough at home a few weeks earlier. Now they were facing a familiar conference foe (a top 10 team) but one going with its backup QB.
#4): 28-17 over #2 Oklahoma in 1985 Orange Bowl
UW was the underdog in the de-facto national championship game. It was the first time a Pac-10 school played in the Orange Bowl. This was the “Boomer Schooner” game in which Oklahoma got a penalty for its wagon/schooner/whatever the fuck thing going on the field during a field goal.
The media was lined up to vote Oklahoma #1 if they won. However, Washington won the game and the national championship, though the fucktarded media and coaches made an error in voting BYU #1. Washington finished ahead of BYU in SRS and BYU barely beat a shit Michigan team with a backup QB in the Holiday Bowl. BYU did not beat a single top 25 team and played the 85th toughest schedule. More here on why Washington was the real national champion in 1984.
If Washington was correctly and properly recognized as the national champion, this win by itself in a vacuum could be the most significant single game win in husky history.
Washington was a heavy underdog in this game as Michigan was undefeated and had a chance to win the national championship. Washington came in only 7-4 though had won 6 of its last 7.
The huskies stormed out to a 24-0 lead in the 3rd quarter and held a 27-7 lead going into the 4th quarter. Michigan came roaring back and had a chance to tie the game but the husky defense intercepted a pass on the three yard line which clinched the upset.
#2): 34-29 over #4 Miami in 2000
The Miami 2000 team is probably the best team the huskies ever beat. They were #4 at the time but finished the season #2 and #1 in SRS. Oklahoma beat Florida St for the national championship but Miami was the best team in the country. They ran off some 30+ consecutive wins after this loss. The 2001 Miami team by SRS is the 3rd best of the past 40 years (Nebraska 95 #1, UW 91 #2) and based on talent alone was probably the best ever. Most of the 2000 Miami team was part of the 2001 team as well.
Washington led 21-3 at halftime and 34-22 in the 4th quarter and managed to hold on.
#1): 1994 Washington 38-20 over #6 Miami
The Whammy in Miami. Washington was a 17 point underdog yet won by 18 points and snapped Miami’s 58-game home winning streak. Miami went on to play Nebraska in the Orange Bowl ranked #3 with a 10-1 record. It was 90 degrees but Washington physically punished Miami in the second half, outscoring them 35-6.
In the bigger picture the win was not so meaningful as the huskies were on probation and collapsed to a 7-4 finish after starting 5-1. The Dawgs started the season losing to USC (#13 SRS) by 7 but then crushed a very good Ohio St team (#8 SRS) at home before upsetting Miami in stunning fashion. Under Don James, the 94 Huskies would have steamrolled the Pac-10 and been in contention for a national championship.
But we are looking at the game by itself. And by itself, the whammy edges out the competition based on it being a road win by a huge margin over a national championship contender that had won 58 straight games at home.