SEATTLE (AP) -- The pressure grew, every day someone new asking
Stanford's players if they could avoid becoming a historical
footnote as the first Pac-10 Conference team to finish the season
Behind a freshman receiver, a stingy defense and big plays
lacking all season, the nation's second-longest losing streak ended
Bo McNally returned an interception 49 yards for one score and
freshman Richard Sherman took a screen pass 74 yards early in the
fourth quarter for Stanford's first offensive touchdown in more
than a month, capping Stanford's shocking 20-3 win over Washington.
It was Stanford's (1-9 overall, 1-6 Pac-10) first win in 364
days -- since the Nov. 12, 2005, 20-17 win at Oregon State.
Stanford's 11-game skid matched the longest in school history --
they lost their final game in 1959 and all 10 in 1960, the school's
last winless season.
"I didn't think there was a whole lot of pressure about a
winless season before the game, but the way I feel now it's awesome
to have that '1' on the board," Stanford quarterback T.C.
Stanford's players cheered on the sidelines the final 20 minutes
of play, after McNally's interception return gave the Cardinal a
10-3 lead midway through the third quarter. It was Stanford's first
lead since blowing a 20-point advantage in a 35-34 loss to San Jose
State on Sept. 9.
Stanford was led by a defense -- ranked 113th in the country --
that limited Washington to just 97 yards the final three quarters
and forced three turnovers. Players were pumping their fists and
hopping around with the excitement and confidence absent all
"I think our guys were really into it and I think that has been
the hardest thing for our team," Stanford coach Walt Harris said.
"We have had so much bad luck with the ball bouncing the other
way. Today it bounced our way in more situations than it had the
The loss ended all bowl hopes for the Huskies (4-6, 2-5), who
struggled with dropped passes, poor pass protection and an
inability to run the ball against a Cardinal unit giving up nearly
240 yards per game.
Washington gained just 39 yards on 28 carries and finished with
161 total yards.
"We just did nothing on offense," Washington coach Tyrone
"Throwing and catching. Blocking and running," Willingham
The Cardinal defense allowed time for their tepid offense to
find a rhythm. Ostrander completed 11 of 20 passes for 206 yards.
Sherman was his favorite target, catching six passes for a
career-high 177 yards.
"Our defense played great," Sherman said. "I'm glad we came
through for them finally, scoring some points."
Stanford sealed the victory on the first possession of the
fourth quarter. Ostrander threw a wide receiver screen to Sherman,
who picked up a key block from receiver Marcus McCutcheon and
sprinted untouched in front of the Huskies' bench for Stanford's
first offensive score since the fourth quarter of its 31-10 loss to
Notre Dame on Oct. 7.
Many of the purple-clad Washington fans started filing out,
knowing that Willingham's stated preseason goal of reaching a bowl
game was now unobtainable.
Washington lost its sixth straight and looked nothing like the
resilient squad that nearly upset USC and took both California and
Arizona State to overtime before losing.
"This is the lowest of the lows, probably the most devastating
loss because of what was at stake and the magnitude of what was at
stake," Washington linebacker Scott White said.
Both Washington quarterbacks were banged up. Bonnell left late
in the first quarter with a right thigh bruise, but returned in the
third quarter after DuRocher was knocked out with a concussion.
DuRocher was 1-for-9 with two interceptions and Bonnell was
10-of-35 for 118 yards and an interception.
On DuRocher's final play, he overthrew tight end Robert Lewis
and underthrew receiver Sonny Shackelford, hitting McNally in his
chest. The safety then sprinted in front of the Washington sideline
and dived the final few yards into the end zone.
"It feels amazing," McNally said. "That was a pretty
unbelievable feeling to run over there and see everyone going
Michael Braunstein kicked a 28-yard field goal for Washington's
only points. Aaron Zagory kicked field goals of 29 and 37 yards for
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If Clemson loses to North Carolina in the ACC title game, does it still have a shot at making the playoff? David Hale explores in the ACC mailbag.