The Buckeye BrewAdd three Buckeyes and two
By Richard Linde, Posted 14 January 2003
Returning 16 of 22 position players, the Washington
Huskies are on the verge of having an outstanding season in 2003. With
improvements in the running game and on defense, the Dawgs could go all the way
next season, winning the conference title and appearing in the Bowl
However, because of the disheartening loss to Purdue in
the Sun Bowl, some fans do not share this optimism. Many of them bolted the
Husky bandwagon after the loss to UCLA last season. They then re-boarded when the Huskies
conquered the northwest but exited again after the loss to Purdue in the Sun
I, for one, am optimistic about next season’s fortunes
because the signs are all there, ready to knock your socks off.
I'm into signs and other harbingers of upcoming events
that herald Husky happiness, for they are sprinkled throughout Husky history;
you just have to ferret them out, put them together, mix yourself a brew, and
then pour it into a glass that's always half full.
I call the brew I'm concocting for next season the Buckeye
Brew. Why? Well, because Washington opens with Ohio State and because
that game could well be a transitional one in Husky lore.
Although Washington has played many remarkable football
games in the history of Dawgdom, some of the games can be described as prophetic
or apocalyptic—a portent of events to unfold.
Even one play can serve as a football forecaster.
Hugh McElhenny’s 97-yard kickoff return for a touchdown
against Minnesota in 1949 was a template for many of his electrifying runs to
follow--his 100-yard punt return against USC in 1951 being one such example.
Frank Gifford, who punted the ball to him, called it cornball run out of a B
movie, only it was for real.
His run against Minnesota was the predictor for his
outstanding career at Washington and for the successes of the 1950 season.
With McElhenny, the leg, and Don Heinrich, the arm, in the same backfield,
Washington posted an 8-2 season in 1950.
There's one example. Add the King's run to my pharmacopeia
for next season, the first part of the Buckeye Brew.
How about Marques Tuiasosopo’s 300/200 game against
Stanford in 1999 that silenced his critics—especially those who said he couldn’t pass? It served as
an oracle for the 2000 season and is the second part of the brew. In that season, Tuiasosopo averaged 195 yards
passing per game and rushed for 394 total yards. He finished the season third
in total offense behind Joey Harrington and Carson Palmer and led the Huskies
to a win over Purdue in the Rose Bowl, 34-24.
Napolean Kaufman’s sensational kickoff returns as a freshman in 1991
were previews of his career at Washington and of one of the Dawgs' greatest
Nip went on to be the Dawgs' career rushing leader,
amassing 4041 net
yards. During his four-year career, he averaged 91.8 yards
per game, while averaging 5.7 yards per carry, both Husky records.
In 1994, Kaufman ran for 211 yards against Ohio State, and
the Huskies beat the Buckeyes at home, 25-16. That game--the third part of the
Buckeye Brew--previewed the next game, when the Huskies took to the road and
upset the mighty Miami Hurricanes 38-20, snapping the ‘Canes 58-game home
winning streak. The "Whammy in Miami," as it has been called, is a legendary
win in Husky history.
Another game against Ohio State harbingered the future,
but we have to go back a few years.
During the 1958 season, Coach Jim Owens played mostly
sophomores, and his team won just 3 games while losing 7.
However, two of his games, a loss and win, were portents
of victories to come. In October of that year, the Huskies traveled to
Columbus, Ohio to play the seventh-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes. In the game the
whole way, the Huskies lost a heart stopper, 12-7, proving Owens' Dawgs were
far better than the "Big Fella" could have imagined. The preceding week, the Huskies had
upset Minnesota, 24-21, at Seattle.
Those two games served as oracles for the next season,
predictors for one of the best seasons in Husky history. In 1959, the Huskies posted a
10-1 record and beat Wisconsin, a two touchdown favorite, in the 1960 Rose
So, what does all of this have to do with next season?
This last season, on the eve of the Oregon State game and
a losing record of 4-5-1, the Huskies were poised for a disastrous finish. They
would be underdogs in their next three games to close the season. Conquering
the northwest, the Dawgs ended the regular season by upsetting Oregon State,
Oregon and Washington State.
And, although they lost to Purdue in the Sun Bowl, the
late season heroics are a barometer of events to enfold in 2003, the fourth part of the Buckeye
That's why I'm predicting that the Dawgs will beat Ohio
State to open this next season. Another reason the Dawgs will win is that they're due for a pivotal
game, one that marks a transition from A to B, one that marks a transition from
a light rain to a category six Hurricane--like the one that stormed
Minnesota in '49.
And, of course, there is the Miami connection, the fifth
part of the brew.
Like the Huskies in 1994, the Buckeyes snapped a Miami winning
streak by winning the Fiesta bowl, savoring a moment of Husky happiness and ending a winning streak that had lasted for 34-straight
games. Book ending the streak, the Huskies had been the last team to beat the
‘Canes--in the 2000 season, 34-29.
The Bucks' win over the 'Canes ensured that Gil Dobie's
39-straight wins remains intact; it's the second longest winning streak in
college football, and one that all Husky fans should be proud of.
And, of course, the Huskies tied Miami for the national
championship in 1991. Subsequent to the championship year, both teams were
sanctioned by the NCAA, Washington in 1992 and Miami in 1995. The two teams are
historically connected by periods of agony, ecstasy and winning streaks.
The game against Ohio State to start the 2003 season, like
the ones against the Buckeyes in 1958 and 1994, could well be another historic
game in Husky history, an oracle of an unfolding drama.
As a fortune teller, who has created a brew of
three parts Buckeye and two parts Hurricane, I say that somehow the Miami
Hurricanes will be a part of next
season's exotic concoction, even though the Dawgs don't play them.
And they did call Hugh McElhenny "Hurricane Hugh," didn't
they? As I said, I'm into signs, and they all look positive.