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Moment of the year: On national TV, Huskies knock off Pac-12 champs

It’s been a great year for Husky sports. The successes of the volleyball, soccer, and softball teams, to name a few, have helped make it a spectacular season for Washington athletics.

But the single best moment of the year comes from the gridiron. 

While the 2012 season may understandably be remembered by Husky fans mostly for a collapse in Pullman, the Huskies’ upset win over then-No. 8 Stanford on Sept. 27 put the program back on the college football map. 

Two weeks earlier, the Huskies had a chance to make a statement on a big stage when they faced LSU in primetime. After forcing a turnover and kicking a field goal, the Huskies gave up 41 straight points. They got destroyed.

A win over Portland State the next week set the Huskies up for a difficult game with the undefeated Cardinal, who were coming off a win over then-No. 2 USC. 

In a nationally televised game, the UW defense held strong early, but the offense failed to make an appearance in the first half. A late field goal allowed Stanford to go into the break with a 6-3 lead, and they extended that lead to 10 points on an interception return by Trent Murphy with less than three minutes remaining in the third quarter.

And then, suddenly, everything changed.

The UW had fourth and one at its own 39. Keith Price hurried the team to the line and handed it off to Bishop Sankey, who raced up the middle for a 61-yard touchdown.

Momentum was fully with the Huskies throughout the fourth quarter. Kasen Williams scored on a screen pass with just less than five minutes to play, and Desmond Trufant sealed the 17-13 win with an interception.

In the span of 15 minutes, the Huskies had made up a 10-point deficit against a top-10 team. And they sent the student section into pandemonium.

CenturyLink Field was rocking with noise. The proclaimed “Blackout of the Century” saw one of the biggest upsets of the Steve Sarkisian era. The fans were loud and helped rattle Stanford all night. They played a huge role in the win.

As students streamed onto the field in droves, ESPN was taking notice. The win vaulted the Huskies into the national spotlight as a dangerous team who could play physical and win with defense. 

Justin Wilcox and his defense had shut down a good Stanford offense with their pressure. While they didn’t exactly come to play in other games (against Oregon, Arizona, and Washington State), the defense proved itself against eventual conference champion Stanford.

The Stanford win was the defining moment for UW athletics this year. It put the team and the students under college football’s bright lights. Campus became alive with Husky Fever.

In the national spotlight, the UW student section rushed the field. It was the best Husky sports moment in a year filled with good ones.

Reach reporter Daniel Rubens at sports@dailyuw.com. Twitter: @Drubens12

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