Sept. 13, 1986 – Washington Drubs Ohio St. 40-7

From Washington's standpoint, two great things occurred last week when Ohio State shocked Miami in the Fiesta Bowl. For starters, it prevented the Hurricanes from extending their vaunted 34-game winning streak any further, thereby enabling Washington's 39-game winning streak to remain as the NCAA's 2nd-longest ever.

I also loved how during the Fiesta Bowl broadcast, they showed a graphic of the longest winning streaks ever, and omitted UW by placing the innocuous "Since 1920" sub-title on the screen. Washington's win streak was snapped in 1917 against the California Golden Bears. The second great thing that occurred was that it was Ohio State that won the National Championship, therefore the Washington Huskies open up their promising 2003 campaign by taking on the defending National Champion. That has a nice ring to it, doesn't it? It will be chance for Neuheisel to atone for his horrific finish at Michigan last year. It will also be a prime-time stage for this team to springboard into the National Championship hunt for 2003 (though the recent Sun Bowl performance showed little evidence for optimism.

It will also probably be the most anticipated season opener since 1986, when ironically it was the Ohio State Buckeyes who came to Seattle. Back then, the Huskies were coming off a 7-5 season and had a Jr. quarterback named Chris Chandler at the offensive controls. He had taken over late in 1985, and had guided Washington to a game 97-yard drive in the closing minutes to beat USC 20-17. Now in September 1986, he was the permanent starter and the team was all his.

10th-ranked Ohio State came to town, and CBS was broadcasting it nationally with Brent Musberger providing the play-by-play. A standing-room-only crowd of 61,071 jammed into Husky Stadium, and after one quarter, the teams were knotted up at 0-0. Then an eruption on the scale of Mt. Saint Helens occurred, but instead of ash filling the air, it was footballs thrown by Chris Chandler.

To the crowd's great delight, Washington exploded for 24 second-quarter points. Ohio State started coughing up the football, and it seemed to be ground hog day as Washington kept working the short field and scoring touchdowns. Leading 17-0, the Huskies received a gift fumble by an Ohio State receiver; Chandler immediately made the Buckeyes pay. Dropping straight back to pass, enjoying superb protection, Chandler airmailed a deep missile down the left sideline. Lonzell "Mo" Hill made a great catch in stride and stepped out at the 11-yard line, for a 45-yard gain. Two plays later, he scored again, on a zip pass from Chandler, and the Huskies led 24-0 at the half.

The second half was further evidence of Washington's stifling and opportunistic defense. DE Reggie Rogers was harassing the Ohio State QB all day, and LB David Rill was all over the field. The Buckeyes' All-American wide receiver Chris Carter was held to just 5 catches for 60 yards. Tim People's was named the Pac-10's Defensive Player of the week, as he roared in and smothered a Buckeye punt attempt in the end zone. Husky DB Tony Zachary leapt on the ball, and it gave the Dawgs yet another score.

With six minutes left in the game, Chandler connected with Hill again, a 31-yard strike that putting the finishing touches on the 40-7 masterpiece. Said Don James after the game; "I never dreamed that would ever happen to Ohio State anytime. If they played the Chicago Bears you wouldn't think it would happen." But happen it did, and the victory propelled Washington from 17th in the AP polls to #7. The season was off to a fast start.

A similar win over Ohio State this fall, could catapult the Huskies' fortunes in a very quick way- although I suspect that Neuheisel would settle for a one-point victory.
Derek Johnson can be reached at djohnson@Dawgman.com

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