Road to 1991 Perfection: Mario Bailey Wasn't Happy With Cal Game

The All-American wide receiver got neutralized that day and it had more to do with his quarterback than the Bears defense.
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The 1991 University of Washington football team brought a surplus of talent, coaching genius and a real desire to beat everyone it played. And not just defeat these opponents, but destroy them.

The Huskies held everyone on the team accountable to the task at hand, from the first game to the last.

When Washington performance levels weren't met, players such as All-American wide receiver Mario Bailey were hardly shy about pointing out who or what was deficient.

Take the UW-California game for instance. 

Bailey caught just one pass that day, a 35-yard touchdown throw from Billy Joe Hobert early on. A single reception. He wasn't happy about that. 

He had no problem zeroing in on what didn't work. 

"Bill didn't play well," Bailey said. "He overthrew me a lot. He was panicking. Thank god for Beno Bryant and his competitive spirit. That game was a lot closer than it should have been. When we went to California, Bill was a little nervous."

Bryant, who'd been sick much of the week and passed out in Thursday's practice, broke a 65-yard touchdown run three plays into the fourth quarter that decided the Huskies' 24-17 victory. 

Hobert made no bones about his struggles against the Bears. He hit on just 15 of 34 passes for 189 yards and threw an interception. He just wasn't very good that day. 

But in the end, it didn't matter. Others stepped and kept the national championship momentum going.  

"I remember talking to the coach and being a little frustrated," Bailey said. "But that was just another thing of having a great team."

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. We turn to week 7 against the Oregon Ducks next.

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