Going Bowling - Nine Years In a Row

November 21, 1987 – Husky Stadium: The 1987 season was a struggle for the Washington Huskies. Although they weren't a particularly deep or talented squad, the season began with promising home wins over Stanford and Purdue in remodeled Husky Stadium.

Cam's Husky Rewind, Vol. 1 #11
November 21, 1987
Apple Cup - Husky Stadium
Washington 34, Washington State 19


After that rosey opening to the seasn, along came a loss at Texas A&M where the Husky offense didn't find the endzone once all game. Washington was exposed during that contest in College Station and the rest of the year would not be a cakewalk.

Washington followed with an easy win over Pacific and then promptly lost to the Ducks for the first time in seven years down in Autzen Stadium. Just before entering the final game of the year against rival Washington State, the Huskies played to a tie against Arizona in Tempe and then suffered one of the worst defeats during Don James' tenure, a 47-14 shellacking by the UCLA Bruins in Pasadena. That game left the Huskies' record at 5-4-1, placing not only an eight-year streak of bowl games dating back to 1979 but also a streak of winning seasons that went back to the 1977 Rose Bowl campaign in jeopardy. Washington hadn't beaten the Cougars at home since the 1981 game. It wasn't going to be easy.

WSU had suffered a tough season as well under first year coach Dennis Erickson. Their season began with victories over Fresno State and Wyoming at home, but the Cougars were limping into the game with a 3-6 record (they'd play Cal in Tokyo the week after the Apple Cup.) They'd had a four game losing streak, and had lost two in a row coming into the Apple Cup. WSU would control much of the action but Washington spurts at the beginning and end would prove decisive in the 80th game between Washington and Washington State.

Washington's Martin Harrison came through on just the second play of the game by sacking Rosenbach for a loss of six yards. After a Richard Calvin run for 11 yards, the Cougars punted to Demouy Williams.

Williams caught the ball on the UW 38 and quickly ran upfield. He made a quick move left to avoid a tackler then found the space along the Husky sideline open. It was smooth sailing for Demouy until he was at the Cougar 15, when he had to make one more evasive maneuver to get in the end zone. He did so successfully, and Washington jumped out to a 7-0 lead just 1 minute and 32 seconds into the game.

The Cougars responded with a very solid drive of their own. From the 22-yard line, Richard Calvin ran all the way to the Husky 49 yard line on the first play of the drive. Then Rosenbach hit receiver Elmer Thomas for a gain of 22 yards to move the ball inside the Husky 30. After three running plays gained the Cougars another first down, Dennis Brown appeared to put an end to the Cougars advance by sacking Rosenbach for a loss of 6 on the 22 yard line. But the resilient WSU quarterback rolled left on the next play and floated a pass over several Husky defenders to Calvin that gained another first down. A major theme of the game would play out for the first time on the last series of downs for WSU, as they were very close to the Husky endzone but couldn't punch it in. When the Cougars were stuffed for a loss on a third down option play, they had to settle for a short field goal from Kevin Adams to make the score 7-3 UW. The Cougars drive went 78 yards in 11 plays, and took 4:26 off the clock.

Chris Chandler came up big on the next drive. On third down Chandler found Brian Slater had barely beaten his man on a fly route. The Everett native hit Slater right at the sideline for a 36-yard gain. Two runs gained the Huskies another first down, then Chandler found tailback Vince Weathersby open on an inside curl route for a touchdown and a 14-3 lead.

The Huskies appeared to get a big break on WSU's next drive when Timm Rosenbach was ruled to be in the grasp of Martin Harrison, even though Rosenbach was able to hit a Cougar receiver while Harrison was all over him. Unfortunately, 12 men were on the field for the Huskies, and the penalty kept the Cougars drive going. WSU continued to move the ball until Husky cornerback Art Malone picked off Rosenbach at the UW 17. Once again, the Husky defense had bent but not broken.

Chandler began the drive well by finding Daryl Franklin for 15 yards and a first down, but he injured his hip on the play. After a two yard run by Vince Weathersby, Chris Chandler found an open receiver for a first down but his pass could only reach the receiver's feet as Chandler was in too much pain to get the pass all the way there. He would suck it up and hit tight end Bill Ames for a first down, but that would be the last play for Chandler in Husky Stadium. He exited the game in pain and Washington turned to inexperienced sophomore Cary Conklin to lead them the rest of the way.

After a Husky punt, Rosenbach found Steve Broussard for 13 yards to the WSU 39 on 1st down, and the Cougars moved the ball rapidly down the field as Richard Calvin ran for 12 yards for another first down. Rosenbach completed a pass to Tim Stallworth at the Husky 26 yard line, then Broussard ripped off a 14-yard gain to the UW 12 yard line. The drive finished when Calvin ran the ball in from the 2-yard line, and WSU had cut the Husky lead to 14-10 with 5:20 left in the first half.

The Cougar momentum continued when the Cary Conklin led Husky attack was held to just one first down. The Cougars got the ball back at their own 32 and kept moving it against the bewildered Husky defense. The Dawgs appeared like they could stop the Cougars when they had a 3rd and 10 play at the Husky 40. Jim Lambright brought in defensive backs for a dime defense to stop a Cougars passing play. But Dennis Erickson and the Cougs crossed up the Huskies by running the draw play. Richard Calvin took it to the Husky 16 yard line. The drive ended with a botched 33-yard field goal attempt and Washington escaped the half with their four-point lead intact.

After Timm Rosenbach began the second half by completing a 28-yard pass, but Husky linebacker Ricky Andrews forced Richard Calvin to fumble on the next play. Martin Harrison recovered for the Huskies on their own 40-yard line. Conklin came up big, picking up 22 yards on a scramble through the WSU defense. When the Huskies couldn't move any further, Eric Canton's punt was downed at the WSU 11 yard line.

Art Malone intercepted Rosenbach's next pass at the Cougars 38 yard line. The Huskies looked like they'd make the Cougs pay for the mistake when Vince Weathersby took an option pitch for a touchdown, but it was called back due to a holding penalty on wide receiver Brian Slater, a call that Don James vehemently disagreed with. Again, the Huskies couldn't score and had to punt the ball back to WSU, this time to the Washington State 12 yard line.

After not giving up a score after two turnovers, the inspired Cougars were in control for the next several minutes. WSU needed only eight plays to move the ball into Kevin Adams' field goal range, and the WSU kicker converted to make the score 14-13 UW. They then held the Husky offense to a 3 and out series and the Cougar offense marched 82 yards for a touchdown, taking the lead for the first time at 19-14 after the extra point snap was bad and the Huskies blocked the late kick.

WSU had the Huskies on the ropes and the home crowd grew silent.

The last 13 minutes of the contest was all Dawgs. After the kickoff was returned to the Husky 34 yard line, Vince Weathersby took a counter option pitch for 12 yards and a first down. Conklin found backup tight end Scott Jones for 11 yards and Weathersby picked up another 12 yards. Then the next play capped the drive off when Conklin faked the same toss to Weathersby, then turned the other direction and handed the ball to Aaron Jenkins just as he was getting tackled. Jenkins bolted 29 yards for the touchdown. After the two-point conversion failed, the Huskies led 20-19.

Eugene Burkhalter intercepted a Rosenbach pass on the very next drive. Rosenbach threw high and the ball sailed over the intended receiver right to the Husky safety. Burkhalter made the snag and ran uncontested for a 31-yard touchdown and a 27-19 lead.

The Huskies got a break late in the game when Rosenbach hit Richard Calvin on a pass along the Cougar sideline that would've been good for a third down conversion, but Calvin dropped it as it hit his chest. Dennis Erickson elected to punt.

Washington went to work putting the Cougars away. Fullback James Compton had two big runs to move the ball to the WSU 28 yard line. Vince Weathersby did the rest, catching a Conklin pass that moved the ball to the 15-yard line, and then took it in for the touchdown on a toss sweep right. The Huskies won the 80th Apple Cup going away, hanging a 34-19 defeat on a Cougar team that moved the ball well but killed themselves with mistakes.

Washington State had 486 total offensive yards, 272 of them rushing yards. The Huskies had 419 total yards, with 300 of them on the ground. Washington successfully defended their home field against their rival for the first time in six years. Because of this victory, the Huskies secured another winning season and created some bowl interest. They accepted a bid to the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, Louisiana to play the local Tulane Green Wave, coached by current Texas headman Mack Brown.

The Huskies played mistake free while cashing in on Tulane errors to win comfortably 24-12. Their bowl streak would end the following year while WSU would go on to have a great season in 1988 and win the Aloha Bowl over Andre Ware's Houston team.

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