2008 Washington Huskies football team
The 2008 Washington Huskies football team represented the University of Washington in the 2008 NCAA Division I FBS football season. Led by fourth-year head coach Tyrone Willingham, the team played its home games at Husky Stadium in Seattle. The Huskies were winless at 0–12, the worst record in the program's history.
|2008 Washington Huskies football|
|2008 record||0–12 (0–9 Pac-10)|
|Head coach||Tyrone Willingham|
|Offensive coordinator||Tim Lappano (4th season)|
|Defensive coordinator||Ed Donatell (1st season)|
|MVP||D'Andre Goodwin (O)|
|MVP||Mason Foster (D)|
|Home stadium||Husky Stadium|
|2008 Pacific-10 Conference football standings|
|No. 3 USC $||8||–||1||12||–||1|
|No. 10 Oregon||7||–||2||10||–||3|
|No. 19 Oregon State||7||–||2||9||–||4|
Rankings from AP Poll
On October 27, the Monday after a 33–7 home loss to Notre Dame, it was announced that Willingham would step down as head coach at the end of the season. UW president Mark Emmert indicated the decision to fire Willingham had been made shortly after the prior week's game against Oregon State. Athletic Director Scott Woodward said the announcement ended speculation of what was going to happen with Willingham, who had a year remaining on his contract.
"It became quite obvious that the performance on the football field wasn't up to what we talked about at the beginning of the season and previous to the season and it became more obvious as time went on," Woodward said in explaining his decision to make the move.
|August 30||7:00 p.m.||at No. 21 Oregon||FSN||L 10–44||58,778|
|September 6||12:00 p.m.||No. 15 BYU*||FSN||L 27–28||64,611|
|September 13||4:45 p.m.||No. 3 Oklahoma*||ESPN||L 14–55||67,716|
|September 27||7:00 p.m.||Stanford||FSNNW||L 28–35||61,968|
|October 4||4:30 p.m.||at Arizona||Versus||L 14–48||55,624|
|October 18||4:00 p.m.||Oregon State||Versus||L 13–34||63,996|
|October 25||5:00 p.m.||Notre Dame*||ESPN2||L 7–33||70,437|
|November 1||3:30 p.m.||at No. 6 USC||FSN||L 0–56||80,216|
|November 8||4:00 p.m.||Arizona State||FSNNW||L 19–39||57,013|
|November 15||7:15 p.m.||UCLA||FSN||L 7–27||59,738|
|November 22||12:00 p.m.||at Washington State||FSN||L 13–16 2OT||32,211|
|December 6||12:00 p.m.||at No. 22 California||FSN||L 7–48||50,038|
Washington opened the season with a game versus the Oregon Ducks at Autzen Stadium. It was the first time Washington opened the season with a conference opponent since 1998, when they defeated Arizona State, 42–38 in Tempe, Arizona.
Oregon crushed the Huskies, 44–10. Washington averaged a mere 2.2 rushing yards per carry, and was held scoreless in the second half.
"We just couldn't run the ball", coach Tyrone Willingham said.
The win was the 5th straight for the Ducks against the Huskies, which marks the first time Oregon has accomplished that feat since the series began in 1900.
The Huskies and Cougars met for the seventh time, with #15 BYU avoiding the upset in front of 64,611 fans at Husky Stadium.
A late Washington rally fell short and the game ended in controversy. Quarterback Jake Locker scored on a 3-yard touchdown run with 2 seconds remaining in the game, cutting BYU's lead to 28–27. But Locker was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct, and the extra point attempt was moved back 15 yards. The ensuing PAT try was blocked, BYU players rushed the field, and a chorus of boos rained down from the Husky faithful.
"After scoring the touchdown, the player threw the ball into the air and we are required, by rule, to assess a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty", Referee Larry Farina said in a statement given to Washington officials. "It is a celebration rule that we are required to call. It was not a judgment call."
Locker finished 17-for-32 passing for 204 yards and added 62 yards rushing on 18 carries.
Washington safety Nate Williams had a game-high 13 tackles. He also put the hit on BYU tailback Harvey Unga that forced a touchdown-saving fumble that UW's Tripper Johnson recovered in the end zone in the 4th quarter.
Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford completed 18 of 21 passes for 304 yards, matched his career high with five touchdown passes and ran for a sixth score to lead the Sooners in a rout against the overmatched Huskies, 55–14.
The Sooners scored their most points on the road against a school from a BCS conference since a 56–25 win at Texas Tech on November 22, 2003. They also handed Washington its largest margin of defeat at home since October 12, 1929, when it lost 48–0 to Southern California, a scant two weeks before the Wall Street Crash of 1929.
Washington lost three fumbles, missed two field goals and punted three times in the first half. The Huskies went into the locker room down 34–0 and didn't get on the board until Jake Locker scored on a 15-yard touchdown run with 5:37 remaining in the 3rd quarter.
Oklahoma, the highest-ranked nonconference team to visit Husky Stadium since 1969, gained 591 yards of total offense on the day.
The Huskies fell to 0–4 (0–2 in the Pac-10) with a 35–28 loss to Stanford, and also lost quarterback Jake Locker for the rest of the season when he broke his right thumb in the second quarter while blocking downfield.
The Huskies' defense gave up 466 yards – and 244 of those came on the ground, despite Washington's agreement all week that its top defensive priority was stopping the run.
The Huskies were trailing 14–7 when Locker was hurt, and while replacement Ronnie Fouch injected some enthusiasm with some accurate passing, the Dawgs ultimately couldn't overcome another porous performance from its defense.
Just about the time Locker emerged from the locker room in the third quarter, Stanford's Anthony Kimble ran 83 yards for a touchdown with 9:35 left in the third quarter to put Stanford ahead 28–14, and all hope seemed to be gone.
Willingham opened his postgame news conference by saying it was "very difficult for me to stand before you...I felt like we could win the football game."
On a breezy night in the Tucson desert, Arizona wasted little time putting away the Huskies. Arizona took a 17–0 lead after the first quarter and never looked back.
Facing the nation's second-ranked defense, Washington struggled behind quarterback Ronnie Fouch, a redshirt freshman making his first college start. Fouch completed 12 of 28 passes for 181 yards and one touchdown, a 20-yarder to Michael Gottlieb midway through the fourth quarter. Fouch also threw an interception.
"We played a complete game on offense, defense and special teams", Arizona coach Mike Stoops said. "We were very efficient and balanced. Our running backs were strong. (Quarterback) Willie Tuitama was excellent."
It was the Huskies' fifth loss of the season and seventh straight dating back to last season, giving the Dawgs the dubious distinction of having the longest losing streak in major college football.
Washington athletic director Scott Woodward met with reporters after the game to say that he stands by the position he has held all along – he does not intend to fire head coach Tyrone Willingham midseason.
"I stick with what I said last week", he said. "I told you last week that I was less happy than I was the week before. Well, I'm even less happy than I was. But we have seven games, and we are going to play those seven games and no, there is not going to be a change this week. We will look at the whole body of work of the season and assess it at the end of the season."
Oregon State's James Rodgers zipped through Washington's defense for 216 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns as the Beavers won their fifth straight over Washington for the first time in the series' history.
James' brother, Jacquizz Rodgers, did his part too: 94 yards rushing on 20 carries and a touchdown.
The Beavers ran for 230 yards and the Huskies turned the ball over four times in front of a disappointed homecoming crowd at Husky Stadium. The biggest cheers of the night were for former Husky head coach Don James and the 1977 Washington team that won the Rose Bowl when they were honored on the field after the third quarter.
The Huskies dropped their eighth straight dating back to last season, tied with North Texas for the longest losing streak in the country.
Washington took a rare lead on Jared Ballman's 45-yard field goal early in the first quarter. The Huskies had not led since the third quarter against BYU on September 6, and it was only their second lead of the entire season.
With under 3 minutes to go in the first quarter, Oregon State coach Mike Riley took a chance by going for it on fourth-and-1 at his own 43, and converted with Jacquizz Rodgers going for five yards. On the next play, the Beavers faked a dive to Jacquizz and handed instead to James Rodgers on a reverse, then watched him dash in front of the Beavers' bench for a 52-yard touchdown.
Later in the half, after Fouch was sacked and fumbled near midfield, James Rodgers struck again. Rodgers found space in the middle of Washington interior on a middle screen, then sprinted away from three Huskies for a 33-yard scoring pass to make it 17–3.
The Huskies were 3 of 12 on 3rd down conversions.
Washington's offense, with redshirt freshman quarterback Ronnie Fouch making his third career start, did not cross midfield until 6 minutes remained in the game. The Huskies had just 51 total yards on 35 plays entering the fourth quarter. They had 5 yards passing at halftime, when the game was essentially over with Notre Dame up 17–0.
"I feel like we could have scored more, but we never want to embarrass a team", said Notre Dame wide receiver Golden Tate, who ran 21 yards for his first career touchdown on an end around in the opening quarter. "I think we let up once we had them 14–0."
Washington finished with 124 total yards against a defense that was allowing an average of 368 yards, 75th nationally.
"There was nothing that we did well tonight", a solemn Willingham said after the game.
Mark Sanchez completed 15 of 19 passes for 167 yards and two touchdowns to Patrick Turner before coming out early in the third quarter, and Southern California scored TDs on its first six possessions in a 56–0 rout of Washington.
USC led 42–0 at the half.
The win before a crowd of 80,216 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum was the 42nd in the last 43 home games for the Trojans.
The victory was the most lopsided in the history of the 78-game series, surpassing USC's 48–0 triumph in 1929. The Trojans have won the last seven games between the teams, but their margin of victory was just six points in 2006 and three points last season.
Washington moved to the Trojans' 6-yard line early in the fourth quarter, but Chris Galippo intercepted a pass by Fouch on second-and-goal and returned it 50 yards to the Huskies' 49.
The Huskies would threaten again later, getting to the USC 25 before Drew McAllister's interception turned them away to preserve the shutout.
It was the Huskies' first shutout loss since falling to USC 38–0 in 2004, their worst loss since a 65–7 decision at Miami in 2001, and their worst shutout loss since a 58–0 beating at Oregon in 1973.
Quarterback Rudy Carpenter rallied Arizona State with a pair of second half touchdowns to Michael Jones, and the Sun Devils kept their slim bowl hopes alive by pulling away for a 39–19 win over winless Washington on Saturday night in Seattle.
Washington opened the playbook in this game. The Huskies used reverses, direct snaps, and even a double pass that ended with quarterback Ronnie Fouch catching a second-quarter touchdown.
With the game tied at 16 in the third quarter, Washington's Chris Stevens blocked a punt and the Huskies took over at the Arizona State 14. But the Sun Devils defense held the Huskies to a second consecutive field goal inside the 10-yard line, and while it gave Washington a 19–16 lead, it would be the last points the Huskies scored.
Carpenter quickly led the Sun Devils down the field, capped by his 6-yard toss to Jones in the back of the end zone to give Arizona State a 23–19 lead. On their next possession, Carpenter hit Jones on a 2-yard fade to push the advantage to 30–19.
Carpenter hit seven straight passes during the two decisive scoring drives. He finished 22 of 31 for 218 yards.
Washington was 4–15 on 3rd down conversions, and ran for a meager 52 yards, 39 of which came on a late 4th quarter carry, after the game had already been decided.
Fouch finished 13 of 40 for 192 yards, with two interceptions.
The Huskies were held scoreless in the 4th quarter for the second consecutive game. The second half continues to be dreadful for the Dawgs: In the past 5 games, UW has managed to score a mere 27 second half points.
Huskies head coach Tyrone Willingham already had been fired from his position. On October 27, 2008, the University of Washington announced that he will not be retained as head coach after the completion of Washington's 2008 football season. Willingham becomes the third Washington coach to be fired (out of the last four) since Hall of Fame coach Don James resigned in 1993 because of pending NCAA and Pac-10 sanctions against his team where his players were determined to have "accepted substantial and illegal benefits under James, likely with his knowledge".
UCLA coach Neuheisel had been fired in the summer of 2003 from the University of Washington in relation to his participation in a neighborhood pool for the 2003 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament and lies he told about his actions. The University of Washington had its probation extended for failing to monitor its football program. This was Neuheisel's first return to Husky Stadium following the firing. There was some booing, but not a significant amount. The Huskies had been on a winless streak all season, and were at 0–9.
The day was sunny and dry, so weather was not a factor as can often be the case in Seattle in November. Under the direction of quarterback Kevin Craft, the Bruins drove 80 yards in 12 plays. Running back Derrick Coleman rushed for a touchdown in the first half. In the second half, the Bruins launched a ninety-two-yard drive. Backed up against the goal line, running back Kahlil Bell ran four straight times, and Craft followed with several key pass completions. UCLA finally scored on a run by Bell, taking the 24–7 lead.
On November 21, 2008, the 1–10 Washington State Cougars met the 0–10 Huskies in Pullman for the 101st Apple Cup. The media joked that the game was the "Crapple Cup" and "full of worms". The Huskies led for most of the game, until the Cougars forced their way into overtime with a fourth-quarter field goal by kicker Nico Grasu. Grasu hit two more field goals in the two overtime periods to lead the Cougars to their second straight Apple Cup victory, and fourth win in the teams' last five meetings. The win was the Cougars' lone victory over a Football Bowl Subdivision team in 2008 and assured the Huskies' place at the bottom of the Pac-10 standings.
The Bears' victory made their record at home perfect at 7–0 and made the Huskies the first 0–12 team in PAC-10 conference history and the only team in the country to finish the 2008 season without a victory. During the game Cal running back Jahvid Best set a school record for most rushing yards in a game at 311. The Huskies finished the season on a 14-game losing streak, as the team's last win had been against Cal at home in 2007.
No Huskies were selected in the 2009 NFL Draft, which lasted seven rounds (256 selections).
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