Oct. 17, 2008
by Jeff Bechthold
Washington has a special relationship with each of its three big Northwest rivals. The UW-Oregon rivalry has its own, heated history while the Apple Cup - the natural cross-state battle with the Cougars - is also unique.
And while fans might consider the Oregon State-Washington series with a little less nostalgia, excitement and/or vitriol, it's another long-standing rivalry that has provided its fair share of memories on both sides.
Even more so, the current decade has been full of interesting and exciting games as nearly every season's meeting has been intriguing.
Last year's game, a 29-23 OSU victory, included several big ups and big downs. Foremost in Husky fans' memories is the injury to Dawgs quarterback Jake Locker, who took a blow to the head that left him motionless on the field and also kept him out of the following week's game.
Equally memorable, especially to those in attendance at Reser Stadium, was the sight of Locker returning to the sideline in the fourth quarter, having been checked out and cleared at the hospital. Beavers and Huskies alike cheered the welcome sight.
However, that feel-good story was pushed aside later in the game (at least by the majority of the home crowd). OSU tailback Yvenson Bernard seemed to have scored to put the game away in the late going. However, as he crossed the goal line, the ball came loose. While most players (on both sides) assumed it was a touchdown, Husky cornerback Roy Lewis picked up the ball and ran it back to the UW 38-yard line, giving the Huskies a shot at a final drive to go in front. However, no whistles were blown and the referees never called for a video review.
Alas, that drive fell short, much to the pleasure of the stadium security in Corvallis, which was preparing to confront the riot that might have resulted had the Huskies rallied for a win.
In 2006, the UW suffered a devastating injury to its quarterback when Isaiah Stanback sustained a serious foot injury in freakish manner. The Dawgs entered that game 4-1 on the season, but Stanback's misfortune took its toll on the rest of the season.
The 2005 game at a rain-soaked Husky Stadium was more unusual than memorable. After all, the Huskies didn't give up a touchdown, but still lost 18-10 thanks to six field goals from Alexis Serna.
The 2003 game was one for the ages as Charles Frederick broke Hugh McElhenny's long-standing record for all-purpose yardage in a game, leading the Dawgs to a 38-17 victory in Corvallis. "E.T." ran a punt return back 86 yards for a score and was on the receiving end of scoring passes of 87 and 35 yards.
Finally, the 2000 game was one for the ages. Washington and OSU battled back and fourth with the Dawgs emerging with a 33-30 win in a raucous night game in Husky Stadium.
But the game came down to the final moments as Beavers kicker Ryan Cesca missed a 46-yard field goal with 14 seconds left. The play before, OSU tailback Ken Simonton was hit for a loss that may have made the difference in the field-goal miss.
The outcome was meaningful in that it may very well have cost the Beavs a shot at the national title. OSU went on to finish that season 11-1, culminating the year with a memorable 41-9 thrashing of Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl. The Huskies also went 11-1 and won the Rose Bowl.
That 2000 game, in front of a packed Husky Stadium and a national TV audience, set the stage for what has been a decade of interesting, exciting and important clashes between these two Northwest rivals.