Take a dive into The Seattle Times archives from UW's championship season. That October marked the return of Gary Pinkel with his Toledo Rockets, who said UW is "No. 1 by far."

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The Huskies entered Week 5 of the 1991 season ranked No. 3 in the polls, No. 1 the nation in rushing defense (44 yards per game) and No. 2 in total defense (235.3).

They were average 47 points per game (No. 3 in the country) and were allowing 7.8 points per game (No. 3).

So what happened next was completely expected — a 48-0 rout of Toledo on this day 25 year ago — but noteworthy nonetheless because of Gary Pinkel‘s return to Husky Stadium. Pinkel had spent the previous 12 years as a UW assistant coach and was the offensive coordinator on the 1990 Rose Bowl team.

“I hope he remembers to turn right coming out of the tunnel,” Don James had quipped.

Because it was expected to be such a blowout, Vegas didn’t have a line on the game, and there was no live TV broadcast.

The Rockets finished with a 5-5-1 record that season and Pinkel compiled a 73-37-3 record at Toledo from 1991-2000 before becoming the head coach at Missouri. He retired from coaching in 2015 amid health concerns. He’s now a fundraiser for Missouri.

Here, again, is a dive into The Seattle Times archives from UW’s 1991 championship season:

Published: October 13, 1991
By Bob Sherwin
Seattle Times staff reporter

Toledo came into its football game against Washington with at least three objectives: 1, Don’t give up any big plays; 2, Try to limit the Husky offense, and 3, Don’t get anyone hurt.

The goals, as it turned out, were a bit too lofty for the Rockets, who were such decided underdogs that oddsmakers wouldn’t put a line on the game.

Toledo gave up a half dozen big plays, most by wide receiver Mario Bailey, who caught three first-half touchdowns and had all his 170 yards by halftime. The 48-0 Husky victory wasn’t as competitive as Toledo Coach Gary Pinkel had anticipated.

And the Rockets had as least three players who “are very, very questionable” for their game next week, according to Pinkel.

“They are an amazingly difficult team to prepare for,” said Pinkel, who took over at Toledo this season after 12 seasons as a Washington assistant. “You’re not sure you want to play the best team in the country. The concern is always injuries.”

They way the Rockets talked, you would have thought that had just played against the U.S. Olympic sprint team.

“They have a big defensive line, but the biggest difference (from other teams) is that group of guys is so fast,” Rocket junior quarterback Kevin Meger said. “How do you prepare for speed like that when your scout team doesn’t have it? You can prepare against certain defenses but there’s nothing you can do (to prepare) against speed.”

Center Albert Thigpen, who had massive tackle Steve Emtman in his face all afternoon, added, “There’s no way your scout team can simulate that kind of speed. It took us a half to adjust.

“We looked at film from their game against Nebraska, which is another high-speed team,” Thigpen said, “And both teams looked like they had mediocre speed. But that was because they both were at a higher level. It’s different in person.

“Every time we ran the ball, they had man (passing coverage) and had eight guys in the box. We had only six or seven guys blocking, which isn’t enough against eight. You couldn’t get off the quick pass because their defensive backs had 4.4 speed or better.”

Thigpen added that Husky fans can forget next Saturday’s game against California (5-0). The Huskies “aren’t going to lose all year, guaranteed,” he said.

“They’re No. 1, by far. I don’t care who they play. Their defense is awesome. Their offense is well balanced, they had 260 (259) on the ground against us and 270 (289) in the air. What defense can defend that?”

Pinkel, who helped recruit many of those players who dusted his Rockets yesterday, said, “I believe Washington is the best team in the nation. I think their defense is better than Florida State’s.”

The Huskies offense didn’t exactly shrink. Bailey, the former Franklin High star, set the school record for touchdown receptions with 17. All three were thrown by Billy Joe Hobert and “defended” by Rocket free safety Al Baker.

“I’ve faced a lot of quick receivers, but he (Bailey) runs so well after the catch,” Baker said. “Plus, he’s real strong and tough to bring down.”

He found that out twice in the first quarter, as did the 72,266 who watched the one-on-one duels between No. 5 (Bailey) and No. 44 (Baker). On Washington’s opening drive Bailey caught his first touchdown pass, a 28-yarder, near the right sidelines. Baker hit him high and tried to wrestle him down or out of bounds but Bailey ducked and slipped into the end zone. Four minutes later, Bailey, isolated again with Baker near the goal line, put nearly the same move on him for a 4-yard touchdown.

“You think you have him pinned down, then he ducks around me. I’ve got to work on my open-field tackles this week.”

In the past two weeks in particular Bailey has made the kind of telegenic receptions that can dazzle Heisman Trophy voters. Baker thinks he deserves consideration, but, he adds, “the problem is they have so many athletes as good, like Beno Bryant, Napoleon Kaufman, Mark Brunell, Billy Joe Hobert, that No. 4 (Orlando McKay, who didn’t play) and that defense. With so many, it’s hard to pick just one player.”

Toledo also has a crucial Mid-American Conference game Saturday against Bowling Green. Meger said the lopsided loss actually helped.

“We learned a lot today,” Meger said. “We opened the season with a 30-7 loss to Kansas, which also is the fast team. The next week we played Western Michigan and it was like they were in slow motion. They were late getting to the holes and it was like we were really in sync.”

Thigpen agreed, adding, “there’s no way Bowling Green has the same speed.” In fact, there’s no team that can compare to Washington.

Published: Oct. 13, 1991
By Dick Rockne
Seattle Times staff reporter

Just before going out of bounds, Mario Bailey caught a cross-field pass at the right sideline, spun back to his left around free safety Al Baker and dashed five yards into the end zone to complete a 28-yard touchdown play

Washington 7, Toledo 0.

Little more than 4 minutes later, Bailey caught another pass at the right sideline, put a spin move on Baker behind the line of scrimmage and dashed six yards to complete a 4-yard touchdown play.

Washington 14, Toledo 0.

After Washington had gone on to beat Toledo 48-0 yesterday in Husky Stadium, Baker said of Bailey: “I’ve seen a lot of receivers who are real fast, but he runs so well after the catch.”


Bailey, a sprite-like split end, was the offensive star of Washington’s victory, the latest in a sequence of weekly blowouts for the unbeaten (5-0), No. 3-ranked Huskies, who completed their first five series by scoring touchdowns to the delight of 72,266 fans.

After Bailey’s first-quarter antics, the 165-pound senior came up with the coup de grace early in the second period when he tipped an over-the-middle throw from Billy Joe Hobert and eluded two defenders before collecting the ball en route to a record-setting 70-yard touchdown scamper.

Bailey’s three TD catches equaled Washington’s single-game record and gave him a UW career record of 17, bettering the 16 of Spider Gaines, Brian Slater and Lonzell “Mo” Hill.

Bailey had six receptions for 170 yards, Hobert completed 12 of his last 16 passes for 220 yards (his first throw of the game was intercepted) and Beno Bryant averaged 9.8 yards on 12 carries, getting 117 of Washington’s 259 yards rushing against the undermanned Rockets.

The well-balanced offense was complemented nicely by another exceptional defensive effort that extended to 21 the number of days it has been since the Huskies have yielded a touchdown. Since Nebraska scored with 5:42 to play in the third quarter Sept. 21, UW opponents have gone 13 quarters – 200 minutes, 42 seconds – without finding the end zone.

Washington has won five straight this season, eight straight going back to last season and 18 of its last 20 games going into a key Pac-10 Conference battle with unbeaten California Saturday in Berkeley.

“I’m so happy they’re winning,” outside linebacker Donald Jones said of the Golden Bears. “It’s been getting kind of boring playing teams that can’t compete with you. But Cal is definitely going to be a challenge. That’s what we’re looking for. That’s what college football is all about – playing the best.”

Toledo had such an experience yesterday, playing a team Gary Pinkel said has “the best defense in America” after it held the Rockets to 48 yards rushing and 160 total.

Pinkel, in his first season as head coach at Toledo after spending 12 years as a Husky assistant, came away impressed with the Huskies, including many he helped recruit to Washington.

“They are as physically strong as anybody,” Pinkel said. “They have great all-around speed.”

But, he also liked the way his players stuck around for the finish.

“If we’re going to be competitive, we’re not going to quit,” Pinkel said. “I saw no one quitting out there and that’s just going to make us better.”

Husky Coach Don James was pleased with his team’s performance.

“We were supposed to be better than they were,” James said.

“And it looked like our players respected them and went out and got ready to play and went out and did a pretty good job.”


“There’s no question about it, between Hobert and Bailey it just looked like a clinic out there,” James said. “Mario not only has the ability to go out and make tough catches, but he can break a tackle.”

Bailey said the moves he made to get around Baker in scoring his first two touchdowns were dictated by where he was in relation to the sideline.

“On both touchdowns, the situation was that I was on the boundary,” Bailey said. “So I couldn’t go to the right. I had to spin back to get into the end zone just to break a tackle.”

Bailey was penalized for taunting after the second touchdown, a situation he regrets.

“I feel kind of bad because I pointed,” Bailey said. “There were a few words exchanged on the field and I kind of got a little too excited. So I apologize to Toledo for that.”

Words first were heard by Bailey after Hobert’s first pass of the game was intercepted.

“There were a few words said to my ear,” Bailey said. “That kind of pumped me up. After the interception the guy kind of ragged on me and said a few things I didn’t like.”

Bailey couldn’t identify who had done the talking but that he thought it was a linebacker.

“He was just pumped up,” Bailey said.

Bailey said his third touchdown reception capped a down-the-middle “seam route.” He said he at first “short-armed” the ball “because I thought I was going to get hit. It just tipped right to me and I just ran from there.”

Bailey made the catch about the Toledo 40 and ran untouched from to complete the 70-yard play.

Bailey said it meant a lot to him to pass Slater, Gaines and his long-time friend and idol, Hill, in the Husky record book.

“He was one of the reasons I came here,” Bailey said. “We’re good friends and now I can go talk a little mess to him after this.”