3:30 PM ET, November 11, 2006
Husky Stadium, Seattle, WA
SEATTLE (AP) -- The pressure grew, every day someone new asking Stanford's players if they could avoid becoming a historical footnote as the first Pac-10 Conference team to finish the season 0-12.
Behind a freshman receiver, a stingy defense and big plays lacking all season, the nation's second-longest losing streak ended Saturday.
Bo McNally returned an interception 49 yards for one score and freshman Richard Sherman took a screen pass 74 yards early in the fourth quarter for Stanford's first offensive touchdown in more than a month, capping Stanford's shocking 20-3 win over Washington.
It was Stanford's (1-9 overall, 1-6 Pac-10) first win in 364 days -- since the Nov. 12, 2005, 20-17 win at Oregon State. Stanford's 11-game skid matched the longest in school history -- they lost their final game in 1959 and all 10 in 1960, the school's last winless season.
"I didn't think there was a whole lot of pressure about a winless season before the game, but the way I feel now it's awesome to have that '1' on the board," Stanford quarterback T.C. Ostrander said.
Stanford's players cheered on the sidelines the final 20 minutes of play, after McNally's interception return gave the Cardinal a 10-3 lead midway through the third quarter. It was Stanford's first lead since blowing a 20-point advantage in a 35-34 loss to San Jose State on Sept. 9.
Stanford was led by a defense -- ranked 113th in the country -- that limited Washington to just 97 yards the final three quarters and forced three turnovers. Players were pumping their fists and hopping around with the excitement and confidence absent all season.
"I think our guys were really into it and I think that has been the hardest thing for our team," Stanford coach Walt Harris said. "We have had so much bad luck with the ball bouncing the other way. Today it bounced our way in more situations than it had the entire season."
The loss ended all bowl hopes for the Huskies (4-6, 2-5), who struggled with dropped passes, poor pass protection and an inability to run the ball against a Cardinal unit giving up nearly 240 yards per game.
Washington gained just 39 yards on 28 carries and finished with 161 total yards.
"We just did nothing on offense," Washington coach Tyrone Willingham said.
"Throwing and catching. Blocking and running," Willingham said.
The Cardinal defense allowed time for their tepid offense to find a rhythm. Ostrander completed 11 of 20 passes for 206 yards. Sherman was his favorite target, catching six passes for a career-high 177 yards.
"Our defense played great," Sherman said. "I'm glad we came through for them finally, scoring some points."
Stanford sealed the victory on the first possession of the fourth quarter. Ostrander threw a wide receiver screen to Sherman, who picked up a key block from receiver Marcus McCutcheon and sprinted untouched in front of the Huskies' bench for Stanford's first offensive score since the fourth quarter of its 31-10 loss to Notre Dame on Oct. 7.
Many of the purple-clad Washington fans started filing out, knowing that Willingham's stated preseason goal of reaching a bowl game was now unobtainable.
Washington lost its sixth straight and looked nothing like the resilient squad that nearly upset USC and took both California and Arizona State to overtime before losing.
"This is the lowest of the lows, probably the most devastating loss because of what was at stake and the magnitude of what was at stake," Washington linebacker Scott White said.
Both Washington quarterbacks were banged up. Bonnell left late in the first quarter with a right thigh bruise, but returned in the third quarter after DuRocher was knocked out with a concussion. DuRocher was 1-for-9 with two interceptions and Bonnell was 10-of-35 for 118 yards and an interception.
On DuRocher's final play, he overthrew tight end Robert Lewis and underthrew receiver Sonny Shackelford, hitting McNally in his chest. The safety then sprinted in front of the Washington sideline and dived the final few yards into the end zone.
"It feels amazing," McNally said. "That was a pretty unbelievable feeling to run over there and see everyone going crazy."
Michael Braunstein kicked a 28-yard field goal for Washington's only points. Aaron Zagory kicked field goals of 29 and 37 yards for the Cardinal.