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Road to 1991 Perfection: Bridge Remembers Nebraska Wake-Up Call

A leader stepped up on the Husky sideline and let everyone have it in a blunt manner, and everything changed.
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As deeply talented as the University of Washington football team was in 1991, the Huskies were still human. 

They still needed a moment — make that a couple of quarters — to settle in and find their comfort zone at Nebraska.  

"That was the first time I was ever in awe of college football," UW All-America offensive tackle Lincoln Kennedy said. "I'd played at Husky Stadium, but I'd never seen a sight such as Lincoln, Nebraska. Pulling through the city, the stadium was the tallest building in Lincoln. It was a sea of red and white, with a sliver of purple.

"That was the most intimidating site I'd ever experienced."

Midway through the third quarter, the Huskies found themselves trailing 21-9 and seemingly on the verge of becoming another victim to this storied football program in the middle of America.

All they needed was a wake-up from the front desk. 

Todd Bridge, a UW reserve offensive lineman and now the Montesano High School football coach, remembers when it came and who delivered it. The Huskies' starting center took the initiative.

"Ed Cunningham was a leader and he taught me a lot about leadership, and I still use it today as a football a coach," Bridge said. "Ed had a point of moment where he challenged the manhood of the offensive linemen and anyone who was standing around. We went on a scoring spree after that."

By the time the Huskies were done, they had rolled up a near school-record 618 yards of total offense, an astonishing amount coming against any opponent, and they had gone on a 27-0 run to finish the game. 

Every one of them, from Kennedy to Bridge, not matter their role up front, rose up and finished off one of the greatest victories in UW football annals.

"Nebraska was that notable name and we didn't know what we were walking into," Kennedy said. "Feeling the crowd energy was intimidating and invigorating. We just adjusted the game plan."

And, thanks to Ed Cunningham, the mindset got an overhaul, too.

This is another in a series of articles and videos that will replay the UW's 1991 national championship season, which is the apex of Husky football. We don't have a 2020 season yet, so we'll use '91 as a conversation piece.

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Click the "follow" button in the top right corner to join the conversation on Husky Maven. Access and comment on featured stories and start your own conversations and post external links on our community page.Especially after the Huskies fell behind by 12 points during the third quarter of the nationally televised game, seemingly on the verge of becoming another hapless victim to this storied football program.