Sept. 23, 2006
D. Howell, S. Shackelford, S. White and M. Forrester Interviews
Coach Willingham Press Conference
SEATTLE (AP) - Keith Howell never got an opportunity to see his son Dan play at Washington.
Dan Howell believes his father would have been proud of him Saturday against UCLA.
A week after missing the Huskies win over Fresno State to attend his father's funeral service, Howell returned an interception 33 yards for a score with 6:02 left to cap Washington's rally for a 29-19 win over the Bruins.
Keith Howell died Sept. 10 due to complications from heart surgery. Asked how long it took him to think of his father after he crossed the goal line, Howell said, "About zero-point-zero-two seconds."
"Even though he was never able physically to come up here and see one of my games, he finally got to see one," Howell said, indicating that his father did somehow get to see Saturday's triumph.
Howell wasn't the only Husky to make big plays as Washington (3-1, 1-0 Pac-10) rallied from a 16-0 deficit to stun the Bruins' in the conference opener for both schools. Washington hadn't beaten the Bruins since 2000, with UCLA rallying for victories the last three seasons.
Quarterback Isaiah Stanback was outstanding, throwing for 200 yards and a career-high three touchdowns. He also rushed for 48 yards, and his 4-yard strike to tight end Johnie Kirton with 7:32 left gave Washington its first lead at 22-19.
On the next series, Howell stepped in front of Ben Olson's pass to the sideline, and sprinted untouched into the end zone where he was mobbed by ecstatic teammates.
"There are certain things that, at least I think, we have no humanly control over, and I'm hoping that was one of those things," Washington coach Tyrone Willingham said. "All the things were in place for all the right reasons to allow him to make the play and be a special moment for him and his family."
The rally could be seen as a measure of payback for the Huskies, who haven't been ranked in the Top 25 since a 46-16 loss to UCLA in 2003, where Washington was outscored 39-0 in the second half. Since that loss, Washington was 9-23 going into Saturday's game.
The Huskies' win total this season already matches the last two seasons combined.
Stanback easily outplayed Olson, who was making his first collegiate road start, though no one would have guessed that early in the game.
UCLA scored on its first four possessions, taking a 16-0 lead, but the Bruins offense stalled three times inside the Washington 10 in the first half and once more in the second half after Terrence Austin returned a punt 79 yards to the Washington 9.
UCLA kicker Justin Medlock made field goals of 28, 23, 22 and 51 yards, and the Bruins' only touchdown came after Washington punter Sean Douglas mishandled a wide snap and UCLA got possession at Washington's 6. Two plays later Chris Markey leaned over from the 1.
"We had some opportunities close to scoring in the red zone that really could have put the game out of reach and we didn't capitalize on those," UCLA coach Karl Dorrell said.
Washington's offense was miserable. The Huskies had minus-4 yards of offense in the first quarter, and didn't get their first first-down by run or pass until 2:48 were left in the second quarter. It was on a third-and-11 and his own 7 that Stanback found Quintin Daniels for a 17-yard reception along the sideline.
"We were flat struggling," Willingham said of the first-half offense.
After Daniels' reception, every bounce and break went to the Huskies.
Stanback completed his next four passes, and after two incompletions, hit Shackelford for a 23-yard touchdown on third-and-10. Shackelford finished with a career-high nine receptions for 120 yards.
Washington scored on the opening possession of the second half, when Shackelford caught a short pass, made two UCLA defenders miss badly and sprinted for a 28-yard TD.
It was then UCLA's turn to struggle offensively. Washington's defense held the Bruins to 83 yards of offense in the second half and intercepted Olson twice. Olson said the ball slipped slightly on Howell's interception.
Olson finished 18-of-31 for 135 yards. Markey rushed for 124 yards, but had only 22 in the second half.
"I felt like everything was really there, and then we got out of sync a little bit," Olson said. "I can't throw interceptions. That's not a way to help your team win."