1985 Oregon State vs. Washington football game

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Second Biggest Overcome Point Spread in College Football History
Conference Game
1 2 3 4 Total
Oregon State 7 7 0 7 21
Washington 10 0 7 3 20
Stadium Husky Stadium
Location Seattle, Washington
Favorite Washington by 38
National anthem University of Washington Husky Marching Band
Halftime show University of Washington Husky Marching Band
Attendance 58,771


The 1985 Oregon State vs. Washington football game was a college football game between the Oregon State Beavers and Washington Huskies that took place on October 19, 1985. The game featured the largest overcome point spread in college football history at the time when the Huskies, after being favored by 38 points, lost 21–20 after the Beavers blocked a punt and recovered the ball in the end zone with 1:29 left to play in the fourth quarter. It is considered one of the greatest upsets in college football history.[1][2][3] On October 6, 2007, Stanford achieved the highest point spread upset in college football history when the 41 point underdog Cardinal upset No. 2 USC, 24–23.[4] Oregon State, Stanford, USC, and Washington are all members of the Pacific-12 Conference, thus the two biggest point spread upsets have come in Pac-12 games.

Background[edit]

Prior to the game, the Beavers were coming off four straight losses including back to back blankings against USC and Washington State, where they allowed a total of 97 points. No team in Oregon State history had allowed that many points over back-to-back games. Prior to that, the Beavers lost to Division I-AA team Grambling State 23–6 and to Fresno State 33–24.[5] To make matters worse for Oregon State, starting quarterback Erik Wilhelm was out for the season, and Pac-10 Conference (Pac-10) leading receiver Reggie Bynum was also out due to injury.[1] Additionally, the Beavers had lost the last 10 games played against Washington by an average of 24 points.[6]

The Huskies, on the other hand, were coming off a four-game win streak and were leading the Pac-10.[1] After the betting odds came in to Las Vegas set at -38 for Washington, the Seattle media had a field day insulting the Beavers. One reporter went so far as to say that "Oregon State plays football pretty much the way Barney Fife played a deputy sheriff on Mayberry".[1] In a television interview, Huskies head coach Don James said he expected to give his reserve quarterback Chris Chandler a chance for some playing time.

Oregon State head coach Dave Kragthorpe used the media comments in his pre-game speech to the Beavers in an effort to motivate them to prove critics wrong before they went out on the field.[1]

The game[edit]

Washington put the first points up on the board after a field goal put the Huskies up 3–0 in the first quarter. Oregon State backup quarterback Rich Gonzales responded by stunning the Huskies with a 43-yard touchdown pass to Darvin Malone on the following drive, giving the Beavers the lead. Washington responded with an 80-yard drive and a touchdown of their own, regaining the lead 10–7.[1]

On the next drive, Washington forced Oregon State into a 4th and 20 position on their own 28 yard line. A Husky rush forced the punter to attempt to run for the first down instead of punting the ball, being stopped 10 yards short, turning the ball over on downs to the Huskies on the Beavers' 38 yard line. Washington drove to the 8 yard line, but then threw an interception in the end zone to give possession back to the Beavers. Oregon State then capped off an 80-yard drive with a 20-yard scramble for a touchdown by Gonzales, and the Beavers led 14–10 at halftime.[1]

Washington took the lead again the lead in the third quarter, going up 17–14. With 1:32 left in the quarter, Washington had first and goal at the one-yard line, twice trying to run the ball up the middle and failing to get the score, bringing up third down. On the following play, OSU linebacker Osia Lewis knocked out Washington running back Vance Weathersby with his tackle, causing a fumble that Oregon State recovered.[1]

With 7:59 left, Washington hit another field goal, making it 20–14.

With 1:29 left, Washington was forced to punt from right outside their own end zone. Oregon State's Andre Todd rushed the punter and managed to block the punt, sending the ball flying into Washington's end zone, nearly causing a safety. However, the bounce went Oregon State's way and ended up staying in the end zone, allowing the Beavers to recover it for a touchdown. The extra point was good, giving the Beavers a 21–20 lead, which would prove to be enough for the win, resulting in the biggest overcome point spread in college football history at the time.[1]

Aftermath[edit]

Oregon State players celebrated, shouting "You can blame this one on your media" as they returned to the locker room.[1] The Seattle media did not appear to ask Kragthorpe questions after the game.[1]

Washington finished the Pac-10 season 5–3. Eventual conference champion UCLA, whom Washington had previously defeated, went to the 1986 Rose Bowl with a conference record of 6–2. Washington would have won the tie-breaker and represented the Pac-10 in the Rose Bowl. Oregon State did not win any more games for the rest of the season and finished in 9th place in the Pac-10.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Edmonston. Jr., George. "Eating Crow". OSU Alumni Association. Archived from the original on 2007-06-24. Retrieved 2007-01-03. 
  2. ^ Curtis, Jake (2007-09-03). "Putting Appalachian State's win in perspective". The San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2007-09-04. 
  3. ^ "Biggest upset ever? Take a look at the rest". Archived from the original on 5 September 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-04. 
  4. ^ "Las Vegas Odds Archive". Retrieved 2007-10-07. 
  5. ^ "2006 Football Media Guide - Year-By-Year Results" (PDF0). Oregon State University. Retrieved 2007-01-03. [dead link]
  6. ^ "2006 Football Media Guide - Series History" (PDF). Oregon State University. Retrieved 2007-01-03. [dead link]