BY Art Thiel 02:17AM 10/01/2016

Thiel: After 44-6 win, Huskies ‘can beat anyone’

Washington’s 44-6 romp over No. 7-ranked Stanford Friday night represented the largest margin of victory by a Husky team over a Top 10 opponent in program history.

Greg Gaines celebrates one of seven sacks of Stanford QB Ryan Burns. / Drew Sellers, Sportspress Northwest

Chris Petersen won’t admit it, but he targeted this game from long distance, certainly when the schedule came out, and probably from three years ago in Boise. He imagined a  Husky Stadium madhouse (72,027) in a prime-time, nationally televised game against a premier opponent.

Making it even better, the opponent, Stanford, thought about him in 2011 as a successor to Jim Harbaugh. But as much as he admired Stanford’s blend of scholarship with good football, the timing wasn’t right.

So he came to Washington in 2013 with the idea that, to the extent possible, he would try to replicate Stanford.

Friday night, he splattered the Cardinal.

Playing Stanford’s game better than Stanford did, the Huskies controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides so thoroughly that the game was over before halftime because of sheer physical domination.

The college football nation, having only one game to watch on a Friday night, was slack-jawed at the 44-6 outcome (box). Washington not only beat a top 10 opponent by the greatest margin in its football history spread across three centuries, it woke the echoes of its glorious past under Don James.

The 1991 Huskies team was back, honored at halftime on the 25th anniversary of its national championship. The timing was the kind of cornball seen in sappy sports movies, but Petersen, whose public emotions typically run the spectrum from the Sphinx to Bill Belichick, couldn’t get over it.

“I think it was really cool that the ’91 team was here,” he said. “Probably some of those guys hadn’t been here in a really long time, to be in this environment. They probably think this is exactly how it was when they left.”

That was as close as Petersen has come to bragging. But as the saying goes, it ain’t bragging if you can back it up. The Huskies did, to the raucous delight of a 12-level fan combustion

UW scored on all four possessions of the first half, then topped that with an immense  16-play march that took nearly 10 minutes of the second half to score a touchdown. It was so . . . so Stanford.

“That may have been the highlight,” said Petersen, unable to stifle a grin.

It’s true that Stanford was missing two starting cornerbacks, but Washington’s defense was so overwhelmimg — eight sacks and 10 tackles for loss; who does that against a good team? —  that even with Heisman Trophy candidate RB Christian McCaffrey, the Cardinal had 145 yards in total offense from their first seven possessions.

So overwhelming was their play that DT Elijah Qualls, who was in on five tackles, was persuaded that the 10th-ranked Huskies can lay similar licks on any team in the country.

“There is no reason that with our A game, we can’t do that to any team in the country,” he said. “That’s not be trying to be cocky. But if you don’t have that mentality, you don’t have no business trying to be competitive in the first place.

“I truly believe in my heart we can beat any team that goes up against us.”

Based on the evidence Friday, it was hard to argue, although Petersen undoubtedly will. Particularly since the next game is in Eugene against the despised Ducks, who first must play in Pullman Saturday against Washington State, which beat the Ducks a year ago.

But if Washington manages the feat of thwarting their chief Pac-12 Conference nemeses in consecutive weeks, the path is much clearer to a berth in the league championship game. And then . . . well, let’s not go there yet.














  • Talkjoc

    Glad I found this. Not sure why it didn’t pop up on direct link but checked twitter link and there it was. I can now continue with my morning. Rock on Dawgs, Scared me for a minute. Thought I might be dreaming.

    • art thiel

      Qualified as a nightmare for Stanford

  • jafabian

    You’re up next Duckies. Art, do you know if Greg Gaines is related to the former Seahawk?

    • art thiel

      No relation, except as fine football players.

  • John C. Morris

    Art, I know you have been covering this team for a long time, it is great to be able to get your perspective on a win like this since you were there when we reached the pinnacle under James. I felt like Don was back patrolling the sidelines and we were taking the opponent back behind the woodshed just like we always used to do when I was a kid. I want the Ducks to go down so bad…it will be great to take it to them in their house.

    • Jamo57

      Yeah, I felt the same way. The feeling in the stadium seemed so familiar. A long wait perhaps, but it felt like old times.

      • art thiel

        91 guys couldn’t have been more thrilled.

    • 1coolguy

      I was at the 1990 USC beat down (31-0) after which Marinovich said “all I saw was purple”. Last nights game was just the same – crowd going nuts, people not believing we’d beat a very good team so bad, etc. 1990, 1991 and 1992 were remarkable years and last night reminded me of many of those games.
      When the fans are into it, no better setting to watch a game.

      • art thiel

        Last night was a remarkable event as well as pivot point in team history.

    • art thiel

      The day he was hired I said he was the closest UW has come to James. It terms of standards, attention to detail and valuing precision over flash, they were twins separated at birth.

  • Jamo57

    That 10 minute drive was truly beating Stanford at their own game. Another part of the game plan that seemed to exude Petersen’s confidence was how the Huskies had no problem kicking to McCaffrey. It made the folks around us in the stands squirm a bit but surely reflected the coaches’ confidence in the game plan and their talent on the field.

    BTW, posting the story at 2:17 AM? Thanks for the hard work, Art. You’re “our kinda guy”.

    • art thiel

      I had to post our Mariners story, then drive home because a keyboard problem called for backup. I’m glad somebody noticed.

  • Diamond Mask

    Chris Peterson was the best hire Husky football has ever made except for maybe Don James. He will keep this team focused and on their toes. It should be a very exciting ride. I don’t think the Daffy Ducks are going to put up much of a fight. KNOCK ON WOOD :)

    • 1coolguy

      After this game, next weeks game is now the ducks biggest game of the year, as right now its’ between UW and O for northern dominance. So the ducks and fans will be as hyped as we were last night.

      • art thiel

        ducks might be a little down after another WSU beating.

        • 1coolguy

          The Zero’s were whipped by the Cougs – With Falk in the lineup the Apple Cup, AT WSU, will be a tough game. The Zero’s D was shredded by the Coug’s RUNNING game, of all things.

    • art thiel

      I wonder if we will hear from the Petersen deniers.

      • jafabian

        Bet he gets a contract extension when the season is over.

  • woofer

    As one who had the pure dumb luck to fall into a twenty yard line ticket about three hours before kickoff, I have to report that being there felt like history was being made. A corner was turned, the football gods were again smiling over Montlake. Let it be so.

    • art thiel

      Hard to argue.

  • 1coolguy

    Art: Here is one of the most remarkable quotes I have ever heard from a sports announcer DURING a game. Last night I watched the ESPN telecast and here’s Danny Kanell’s halftime quote: “to all the Stanford students watching the game, you can go to the library now because the second half is not changing”.
    I couldn’t believe my ears! It was obviously the truth, but he was essentially telling the audience they can turn off the TV! At any rate, I had a good laugh!

    • art thiel

      Thanks for that. The only problem with it was Stanford students were already at the library.

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  • Effzee

    “… spread across three centuries.” Wow, quite a thought! You know how a wild dog’s pupils get huge and black when it goes in for the kill? Coach Peterson’s eyes were like that times on Friday. I swear I could see steam coming from his nostrils, but it wasn’t cold enough for that. This could be a fun year. For now, just effing beat Oregon.

  • Pixdawg13

    Granted, the Cardinal didn’t play very well, and were without some starters–but at their best and with all their personnel, they’d still have lost that game by at least two TDs. It’s been quite awhile since the Dawgs played as complete a game as that one–but with Coach Pete at the helm, I think they’ll continue to play near their potential.

    Time to pluck some duck feathers and send ’em to their 4th consecutive loss.