Throughout its history, Washington has had its fair share of long streaks.
During the late-1900s and early-1910s under head coach Gil Dobie, Washington put together a 40-game winning streak and a 64-game unbeaten streak. Those are the second-longest and longest streaks, respectively, in college football history.
Since then, the longest such streak for the Huskies came under Don James. That streak ended on this day 30 years ago as Arizona scored the final 13 points to top Washington, 16-3.
Setting the Stage
The reigning Coaches Poll national champion, Washington was 8-0, ranked No. 1 and riding a 22-game winning streak as it arrived in Tucson on Nov. 7, 1992. To that point, Washington had already knocked off four ranked opponents, but played just one game decided by fewer than 15 points.
Under sixth-year head coach Dick Tomey, No. 12 Arizona was 5-2-1 and on a 4-game winning streak. The Wildcats had already knocked off ranked Stanford and UCLA teams and hung tough with another No. 1 and reigning national champion in Miami.
Wildcats Wear Down the Huskies
The contest in Tucson was never a thing of beauty, but Arizona stuck to its game plan of playing sound defense and running the football. For the day, the Wildcats amassed 197 yards rushing. Defensively, they forced four turnovers.
With quarterback Billy Joe Hobert out, Washington turned to lefty Mark Brunell. The Huskies finished with 333 yards, but only 98 rushing. They also missed opportunities deep in Arizona territory.
Despite managing just a field goal for the day, Washington was in it until the final minutes. Three Steve McLaughlin field goals were all that Arizona could muster before quarterback George Malauulu finally found the end zone on a 1-yard keeper late in the game.
While McLaughlin was money in the kicking game, punter Josh Miller also played a valuable role. He averaged better than 47 yards per punt and often kept Washington pinned deep.
Los Angeles Times
At the time, the Arizona upset looked as though it could sway the Pac-10 race. From there on, however, the teams combined for just one win.
After ascending to No. 9, the Wildcats closed the year with three straight losses — by a combined 13 points. Arizona closed the year with a loss to Baylor in the John Hancock Bowl.
Washington split its final two games to win a share of the Pac-10 and a Rose Bowl berth. After losing to Michigan in Pasadena, the Huskies finished 9-3 and No. 11 in the final polls.
After coming up one point short against No. 1 Miami earlier in the year, the victory over Washington served as Arizona’s first ever over a top-ranked team. It ended a 22-game winning streak and came on this day three decades ago.
Featured image courtesy of YouTube/ABC broadcast
Mike Ferguson is the managing editor for Fifth Quarter. Be sure to follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeWFerguson. Follow all of Mike’s work by liking his Facebook page.