How UW won perhaps the loudest college football game ever played

Editor’s word: This is the first of a two-part sequence exploring what Washington’s home-field benefit is able to being, and what UW is doing to regain the goose bumps inside Husky Stadium.

Three a long time later, Walter Bailey nonetheless sees the sky.

James Clifford hears the hum inside Husky Stadium, a roar so unrelenting it barely appears actual.

Dave Hoffmann feels his organs shake inside his pores and skin, dancing at a celebration with 73,333 pals.

On Sept. 19, 1992, no. 2 Washington hosted No. 12 Nebraska in Husky Stadium’s first night time game since 1985. The yr earlier than, a red-clad crowd in Lincoln, Nebraska, had watched Washington rating 27 unanswered factors in the second half of a 36-21 win, then saluted the Huskies with a standing ovation upon their exit.

Now, the stage was set at a sold-out Husky Stadium, as the reigning nationwide champions stormed out of the northwest tunnel — embarking on perhaps the loudest college football game ever played.

“Welcome to Husky Stadium in Seattle, Washington,” bellowed play-by-play broadcaster Ron Franklin on ESPN. “They are standing and chanting and cheering. They’ve been doing that for a few hours now, Mike Gottfried.”

“Both these groups are actually fired up,” answered Gottfried, his shade commentator. “The crowd is simply unbelievable, with the noise right here in the stadium.”

On the north and south sides, purple and crimson stretched to the sky.

And the sky adopted swimsuit, a Montlake mirror.

“When the solar began to set, I swear to you, it was like a purple haze over the stadium,” recalled Bailey, then UW’s senior cornerback who snared an interception in the second quarter. “It had this little reddish-purple sky. It was simply type of freaky-eerie lovely, prepared for Husky football to totally show a particular second in time for us as a group.

“I would not say I used to be star gazing. I simply do not forget that, the approach the solar set and the approach it regarded. Before we actually bought going, there was simply this lovely atmosphere throughout the stadium. It was lovely, and it was thrilling, man. It was electrical.”

There’s proof. Midway by way of the first quarter of Washington’s 29-14 win, Franklin launched reporter Adrian Karsten — who was sporting headphones and holding a black “Realistic Sound Level Meter” alongside the sideline.

“Forget about jet engines,” Karsten mentioned. “We’re getting up near 120 decibels. That’s in the danger-of-impairment space.”

The meter topped out at 133.6 decibels — the highest quantity ever recorded at a college-football game.

It was an setting that nearly defies description.

” ‘Deafening’ is just not the phrase. It was virtually so loud that there was this ominous feeling,” mentioned Clifford, UW’s former linebacker and present Mariners director of energy and conditioning who contributed 13 tackles and two tackles for loss that day. “There was a play — I’ll always remember it — I stripped the ball and the ball got here out, and I dove on it and recovered the fumble. But no person even knew there was a fumble.

“Normally everyone’s yelling, ‘Ball out! Ball out!’ Thank goodness considered one of the officers noticed it, as a result of no person might hear something in any respect.”

Home-field Huskies

As we discover what Washington’s home-field benefit is able to being, here is a have a look at the Huskies’ residence vs. street data, in addition to attendance numbers over the previous decade.

That goes for fellow Huskies linebacker Dave Hoffmann, who developed hand indicators the earlier season “as a result of there was no approach [teammates] might hear me do audibles with the crowd that loud.” It additionally goes for Nebraska quarterback Mike Grant, who was sacked by Tommie Smith in the finish zone for a security and the game’s first factors.

That play mercilessly adopted an illegal-procedure penalty, a delay-of-game penalty and a Cornhuskers timeout.

“Where do you begin explaining Washington’s victory? The crowd,” wrote The Seattle Times’ Blaine Newnham. “As robust as the Huskies had been a yr in the past in Lincoln, they had been simply as robust — if not spectacular — in the din of Husky Stadium, the place Nebraska quarterback Mike Grant regarded as if he had been directing site visitors on the flight deck of the plane service Nimitz as a substitute of his group.”

Likewise, Gene Wojciechowski of the Los Angeles Times known as Washington’s crowd noise “one thing of a novelty right here. Cornhusker quarterback Mike Grant was so flustered by the noise, that he used two timeouts in the first 4 minutes of the second half. He could not hear a factor.”

It’s unsurprising, then, that Grant surrendered two interceptions, a fumble and a security in a crowd-coaxed implosion inside Husky Stadium. His Huskers, who averaged 558 yards of offense of their first two wins, had been held to 309 yards by a protection that honored its coordinator’s request.

“Some of the guys would exit for kickoff and lift their fingers to get the crowd going, and [defensive coordinator Jim Lambright] mentioned, ‘No. Give them a motive. Go mild your hair on fireplace and do one thing particular.’

“We had been simply on fireplace, man — nice gamers, nice coaches. Everybody cared about one another, and had been actually caring for enterprise and having enjoyable. The followers noticed that and felt it. It simply went by way of everyone. I do not forget that game specifically, my organs had been shaking inside my physique, you understand what I imply?”

In all, Washington won 18 consecutive video games inside Husky Stadium, from 1990-93. The Huskies reached three consecutive Rose Bowls (1990-92) and averaged near-sellouts alongside the approach (70,986 in 1990, 72,284 in 1991, and 72,071 in 1992). In his 18 seasons in Seattle, coach Don James compiled a 99-23-1 (.805) file at residence and a 52-34-1 (.598) tally away from Husky Stadium.

According to Hoffmann the Huskies thought-about Saturdays “an enormous get together.”

And after the get together, got here the after-party.

“After our residence video games had been over, we walked out to the place we parked at the 75-cent lot at the time,” Clifford recalled. “All the RVs had been parked on the market. They’d invite us in, give us sizzling canines or barbecue and we might grasp with them for a bit and say, ‘Hey, how’s it going?’ We’d hang around with the followers.

“I’ll always remember it. It was a few of the finest days. It was actually cool, and it wasn’t by design. It was a lot enjoyable speaking to folks you’d by no means even met earlier than.”

On Saturday — two days earlier than the 30-year anniversary of the Nebraska game — Washington (2-0) will host No. 11 Michigan State (2-0) inside Husky Stadium. After averaging 56,815 followers of their first two video games, UW coach Kalen DeBoer hopes the get together returns to capability.

“We want Husky Nation out right here in an enormous approach on Saturday,” DeBoer mentioned this week. “We’ve been attempting to show that we will be enjoyable to look at and enjoyable to be there at the stadium for and to help, and we admire everybody that is been to our video games. It’s been a enjoyable setting, however I do know there’s nonetheless much more that we are able to have.

“‘No Limits’ is our motto for this season for our group. I suppose the restrict [for fans] could be the capability, proper? I might simply problem the fan base, ‘Husky Nation: let’s not have any limits to what this may very well be this season. Let’s not sit and wait round to see what might occur. Let’s put the pedal down, and let’s go get this.’ “

Three a long time in the past, the sky was the restrict; Bailey might see it.

But what is going to we see Saturday?

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