Sept. 23, 2006
Moments don't get much bigger than an interception return for a touchdown that ices the game against a conference foe. For the second straight week the Huskies' defense put the cap on a solid win, this time with a 33-yard return to put the up 10 points, as the Huskies came back to win 29-19 over UCLA.
But for Dan Howell, their may not be a bigger moment in his life.
Howell, a junior linebacker from Newhall, Calif., returned to the team this week after missing the Fresno State game to attend his father's funeral. His pick and touchdown in the fourth quarter marked his unofficial march into a sanctuary.
"I almost couldn't breathe," Howell said. "I was in the right place at the right time and all I had to do was catch it and run."
He did exactly that as he sprinted into the end zone uncontested and the 58,000-plus at Husky Stadium went crazy. In one of the biggest wins in recent program history, Howell provided the most poignant moment.
"I just wanted to come out this week and have a great performance for my dad," he said. "I knew he was watching me and all I could do was come out this week and play my hardest."
Said head coach Tyrone Willingham about the moment: "There are certain things that, at least I think, we have no humanly control over and I'm hoping that that was one of those things. All things were in place for all the right reasons, allowing him to make that play and having it be a special moment for him and his family."
"That's Husky defense," Howell said. "We all really stood up and played real defense. That's the defense we have to play everywhere on the field and we really had to bring that out today."