On this day 25 years ago, Washington defeated Oregon 29-7. "I said before the game that Washington is the best team I've seen in this league ever," Oregon coach Rich Brooks said. "I still stand by that."

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It wasn’t the Huskies’ best game of the 1991 season.

That didn’t do anything to alter the thinking of Oregon coach Rich Brooks, who gave Washington the ultimate compliment after UW’s 29-7 victory at Husky Stadium on this day 25 years ago.

“I said before the game that Washington is the best team I’ve seen in this league ever,” Brooks said. “I still stand by that.”

As the Huskies’ offense sputtered, the defense held Oregon to 129 total yards and forced four turnovers. Tommie Smith and Chico Fraley each blocked a punt to set up two UW scores.

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Here’s The Seattle Times coverage from that game:

Headline: IN OUR HEARTS, WE ALL WANT WHAT HOBERT WANTS
Published: Oct. 27, 1991

By Steve Kelley
Seattle Times staff reporter

Maybe Billy Joe Hobert failed as a diplomat last week. The politically correct thing to say would have been some cliche about just being happy with the victory, or just looking forward to the challenge of Oregon

But, after last week’s mammoth triumph at California, the Washington quarterback said what many Washingtonians have been saying all season, on talk shows, at coffee breaks, in bars and in cars.

“If it were up to me, I’d dog the Rose Bowl,” Hobert said. “Go find Florida State or Miami and play for No. 1. I wouldn’t care if they’d put us on probation for 100 years.”

It may have been unwise for Hobert to say that, considering his coach avoids controversy like Beno Bryant avoids tacklers. Unwise, but honest.

After Washington beat up on the latest Pac-10 Conference palooka du jour yesterday, 29-7 over Oregon, there is little evidence to dispute the belief the Huskies will be 11-0 on New Year’s Day.

They have passed every test presented them. They are a very good football team. Maybe a great team. But this dominating team may not get a chance to win a national championship.

The winner of the Nov. 16 Florida State-Miami game will get the national championship game on New Year’s Day, probably against Notre Dame. Either Florida State or Miami would have to lose that game and the Huskies would have to win the Rose Bowl for Washington to win a national championship.

Who’s No. 1? We may never know.

Wouldn’t it be nice if Athletic Director Barbara Hedges could consider Hobert’s suggestion? Call former Washington AD Mike Lude, now the director of the Blockbuster Bowl, and tell him the Huskies want Florida State. Get the date and the time and the bountiful guarantee and deliver the Huskies.

It will never happen.

“The Pac-10 Conference has a contract with the Rose Bowl through 1997, so there really isn’t an issue at all,” Hedges said yesterday. “Certainly Billy Joe can speak his mind, if he so chooses. But I don’t think Billy Joe has the correct information.

That’s the unfortunate thing. Had he had the correct information, he probably wouldn’t have said what he said.

“The Rose Bowl, without question, is the biggest and best bowl in the country. Financially, from a visibility standpoint, from a ratings standpoint, it is the very best, and I think it’s in our best interest to want to go to the very best.”

Washington-Michigan would be a memorable Rose Bowl. Many Husky fans would make the New Year’s pilgrimage to Pasadena and begin 1992 in style. But Washington vs. Michigan would only be the second-best matchup possible.

If Washington remains unbeaten, as it should, plowing through Arizona State, USC, Oregon State and Washington State, the country, and certainly the state, would want Miami or Florida State.

These, however, are questions for fans, sports writers and pollsters to ponder. Coaches don’t look into the future. Coaches think week to week. The Rose Bowl? The Fiesta Bowl? The Blockbuster Bowl? Michigan? Florida State? Miami? Don James’ only worry is next Saturday and Arizona State.

“We’re not even thinking about the Rose Bowl. That’s not even a consideration,” Washington coach James said. “We had to play Oregon this week and we’re talking about playing somebody in January when we could end up 6-5?”

How good are the Washington Huskies?

They are staggeringly good. Maybe as good as any team in the country; as good as any Husky team ever. Even on a Saturday when they suffered the inevitable emotional letdown a week after the Cal game, they dominated Oregon.

They outgained Oregon 467 yards to 129. They had 27 first downs to Oregon’s eight. They blocked two punts, intercepted three passes, recovered a fumble. The Huskies did everything but beat the yawning 31-point spread. They won by 22 and yet many probably left Husky Stadium disappointed.

“We’re a dominating team,” offensive tackle Lincoln Kennedy said. “We know it, we just have to show it ourselves again and re-establish our sense of dominance. We’re upset right now, but I think next week will be different.”

The Huskies are so good, their season begs for a game against Florida State, or Miami. The game that never will be played.

“Billy (Hobert) says a lot of things he really doesn’t mean,” Husky cornerback Dana Hall said with a smile. “We’re not even thinking about the Rose Bowl or any bowl right now. The Rose Bowl doesn’t mean anything if we don’t win next week.

“I feel we’re pretty good, but we really haven’t proven anything yet. What I’m saying is that it’s an 11- or 12-game season. I don’t want to hear about any bowls. We don’t even talk about the Rose Bowl or the national championship. We know it’s out there. It’s one of the goals you reach for. It’s in the back of our minds. But I think that’s what happened a little bit last year. We thought ahead and we lost to UCLA.

“You can’t tell me how good I am seven games into the season, because I still have four regular-season games left. I really don’t like to hear how good you are and this and that. We’ll talk about the Rose Bowl when we’re 11-0. I’d rather hear someone at the end of November saying this Husky team is really good.”

But Hall will hear it every day, on campus, in class, in the newspapers, around town. It is the end of October and this Husky team is really good.

“The fans always want to see the best games,” Hall said. “They want to see us play Florida State. They want to see us play Miami.

Whatever happens happens. We just have to play the games and let the chips fall where they may.”

The chips and the Huskies will land in Pasadena. They will play a dramatic game with Michigan, and if they win we will be left to wonder what might have happened if they had played one of those teams from Florida.

Headline: DEFENSE JUST DUCKY FOR UW: Husky offense overshadowed in 29-7 win
Published: Oct. 27, 1991

By Dick Rockne
Seattle Times staff reporter

On a day when the offense failed to answer opportunity’s knock, defense and special teams made up the difference yesterday as unbeaten Washington slipped past stubborn Oregon 29-7 in Husky Stadium.

The defense did nothing to hurt its status as one of the nation’s best, holding the Ducks to 129 total yards and forcing four turnovers. And the special teams produced three field goals and blocked two punts.

With all of that, it could easily have been a blowout, especially considering some impressive numbers posted by the offense:

— The Huskies gained a respectable 467 yards, close to their league-leading average of 490.

— Billy Joe Hobert completed 23 of 36 passes for 256 yards and three touchdowns.

— Mario Bailey caught two of the touchdown passes, setting a UW record for TD receptions in a season, 11. Bailey caught seven passes for 108 yards in all.

— Orlando McKay snapped out of a slump by catching nine passes for 105 yards and a touchdown.

But overall, the chilled crowd of 72,318 was hardly warmed by the Husky offense, which might have put the game out of reach earlier had it, in the words of Coach Don James, “made three sevens instead of three threes.”

Third-ranked Washington, favored by 31 points, opened a 13-0 lead on Hobert-to- Bailey touchdown passes covering 18 and 29 yards.

The latter came on the first play of the second quarter and broke the touchdown record previously held by Dave Williams.

But despite moving the ball well, the Huskies (4-0 in the Pac-10 Conference, 7-0 overall) did not score another touchdown until 6:20 remained in the fourth quarter, when Hobert combined with McKay on a 16-yard scoring play.

In between, Travis Hanson broke out of a two-for-six slump, kicking field goals of 44, 28 and 33 yards. Tommie Smith and Chico Fraley blocked punts, leading to a touchdown and a field goal. And the defense, as usual, got the ball for the offense, coming up with interceptions by Shane Pahukoa, Walter Bailey and Louis Jones, and a fumble recovery by Dana Hall.

“I’m disappointed some things didn’t go right, but the bottom line is we’re still undefeated,” James said.

Despite the effort by the Ducks (3-4, 1-3) – they beat the 31-point spread and became the first team this season to score on the Huskies in the fourth quarter – Coach Rich Brooks reiterated his belief that Washington is the best Pac-10 team he’s ever seen.

“I said before the game that Washington is the best team I’ve seen in this league ever,” Brooks said. “I still stand by that.”

But the best Pac-10 team Brooks has seen struggled with the rules. The Huskies were penalized 13 times for 110 yards. One of the infractions was against Walter Bailey for excessive celebrating after he returned an intercepted pass 31 yards to the Oregon 9 in the second quarter.

Bailey said he doesn’t see how he could have been guilty of celebrating or taunting.

“What I remember is getting up and being mobbed by my team,” Bailey said.

Instead of first and goal at the 9, the Huskies started the series first and goal from the 24 and eventually settled for the second of three Hanson field goals.

It was the first three field-goal game for a Husky kicker since John McCallum booted three against Texas A & M in 1989.

Jason Hanson, the All-America placekicker at Washington State, was able to watch his brother, Travis, because the Cougars had a bye yesterday.

“I was just glad I could help the team on a day when the offense would get inside and then sputter,” Travis said. “I was excited I was able to come through.”

He credited “a lot of prayer and a lot of encouragement” from teammates with helping him beat the slump. Going out for his first attempt yesterday, he said he felt “like it better go in.

“I just tried to calm down. I was ready for a miss, I was ready for a make and whatever happened, I was going to be excited and wait for the next kick.”

He said the swirling wind was significant.

“I was just aiming for the middle,” Travis said. “I wasn’t trying to play the wind at all because it was too hard to judge.”

The blocked punts were the first for Washington since Jay Barry blocked one against Arizona last November. James said that because the Ducks’ No. 1 long-snapper, Matt LaBounty, was injured, a block was considered a possibility.

Smith, coming from the left side of the Husky line, got his block of a Tommy Thompson punt with the Huskies leading 7-0 late in the first quarter.

A shift left Smith man-to-man with an Oregon end. Dana Hall, coming from the other side, almost got the block, too.

“The up back went and blocked Dana, so I had a free rush,” Smith said.

The ball bounced out of bounds on the Oregon 45. From there, the Huskies drove to their second touchdown.

The Ducks’ next series also ended with a blocked punt, by Fraley, who came up the middle.

“It was wide open,” Fraley said.

The ball was recovered by Louis Jones. Because the Huskies were called for a dead-ball personal foul on the play, they were forced to start with first-and-25 on the Oregon 34. Their drive ended with Hanson’s first field goal.

Fraley, senior inside linebacker, said he didn’t feel that the defense was carrying the load because of the possession-time difference. The Huskies had the ball 35:40; the Ducks 24:20.

“The only problem the offense had was they couldn’t punch it in when they needed to,” he said. Tailback Sean Burwell scored the Ducks’ touchdown on a 25-yard run with 4:21 left in the game. It came on the first play after a blocked punt. It ended Washington’s string of fourth quarters without an opponent scoring at 6.