Road to 1991 Perfection: It was a Time When a 22-Point Victory Was Disappointing

The University of Washington football team had won games 56-3, 54-0 and 48-0 during the national championship season. Fans became to expect nothing less.
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Some people might look at a 22-point victory as fairly one-sided, as something to celebrate.

Yet in 1991, when the University of Washington football team handed Oregon a 29-7 setback at Husky Stadium, plenty of people weren't satisfied.

The common refrain: Why so close?

While the Huskies moved to 7-0 without much trouble, they didn't leave the Ducks, 31-point underdogs, in a smoldering ruin.

The fans, and the players, expected a much more unforgiving beatdown.

"A great player is a guy who can win a game you're not supposed to win and save a game that you should win, that's on the rocks," former Husky linebackers coach Chris Tormey pointed out. "We had enough great players on our team that we were able to rise up and meet that challenge against Oregon. It certainly wasn't our best game."

This is another in series of vignettes about the UW 1991 national championship football team, filling in the conversation before the pandemic-delayed season begins next month. This is week 7 of a perfect 12-0 run.

The UW was dominant in many ways against the Ducks, blocking two punts, intercepting three passes and recovering a fumble. The Huskies just weren't in a different stratosphere on the scoreboard that day.

Imagine having a team that was so powerful, people were disappointed when it left a carcass behind only half eaten.

"We were just that good," Tormey said. "There was a tremendous amount of confidence from what we'd accomplished the year before and all the great players we had back. The guys believed, almost to the point of arrogance, that they were not only going to win but dominate every game."

The UW's 1991 national championship team, in fact, was so exceptional, coach Don James told his guys to measure themselves not against the Ducks or the Bears or the Trojans, but just themselves.

"It wasn't only about winning the game, it was about playing at our level," Tormey said. "That's what coach James would talk about -- it's the Huskies playing the Huskies."

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