Sept. 9 was the first home game in Husky Stadium, facing the Montana Grizzlies. While most people believed the Huskies would dominate based on their rankings and stats, there was no lack of Husky pride. Enthusiasts of all ages, from little babies dressed in Husky onesies to long time ticket holders, celebrated the season kickoff with hopes of maintaining our National Championship dream.
This sure-fire win didn’t stop the anticipation and excitement leading up to our first home game. Even before noon, the tailgating parking lots had a steady stream of people coming in — more than five hours before kickoff. Purple and gold banners filled the lot, and you would be hard pressed to find a space not filled with excited students, proud alumni and loyal Washingtonian fans.
The effect Husky football has on Washington’s community can be seen in families like Michael Marchetti’s. As a long time Husky fan and 17 year season ticket holder, he remembers his first Husky game in 1970 where the Huskies made a comeback against Michigan State thanks to quarterback Alex L. “Sonny” Sixkiller.
Marchetti says that his whole family is involved in the Husky football experience.
“[We get] excited about it, watch the games together, [and go] to the games together,” Marchetti said. “So it’s sort of a family event.”
The question of whether we would win or lose didn’t stop the crowd full of families and students from maintaining the loud-during-football Seattle stereotype. When the Huskies needed to distract the Grizzlies, the deafening roar of fans came from all sides of the field. When a Husky touchdown was made, hands would fly up and Husky praise was shouted down to the players.
Three Washington touchdowns secured a solid lead during the first quarter, making the score a comfortable 21-7. By the second, we were well on our way to maintaining our No. 6 ranking. The Grizzlies didn’t make any big moves, but instead focused on trying to fend off the Husky offense. By the third quarter, it was evident that the Huskies would win by a mile.
Halfway through the third, Head Coach Chris Peterson decided to give lower string players valuable play time and mitigate injury risk for starters.
“It was good to see some young guys play [and] it was good to see some old guys play,” Peterson said.
While it was expected the Huskies would control the field, there were still some kinks that needed to be worked out. Yes, we ended up having a 56 (yes, 56) point lead; however, there’s always improvement to be made.
Peterson mentioned needing to work on a more efficient offence and starting faster than the Huskies offence did against Montana.
“Our special teams did a great job … so there was some good football there,” Peterson said. “[But] we’ve still got a ton to clean up — we’ve got to start faster [and] we’ve got to tackle better.”
Overall, Peterson believed it to be an acceptable start to the Husky season — and most fans would agree. Currently, Husky wide receiver Dante Pettis is close to breaking a Pac-12 career punt return record, quarterback Jake Browning is well on his way to a Heisman Trophy, and our defensive line could probably lift a semi-truck. We have a major shot at a National Championship win, which we haven’t done since 1991.
Even after the game, fans were still celebrating our victory and shot at the national title. The tailgate party raged on and UW fans continued to party until it was pitch black out. The night neared its end as the band continued to meander around the parking lot, pumping up the remaining Huskies still beaming with Dawg pride.