December 6, 2010 in Sports

Huskies head to Holiday

UW gets rematch with Nebraska

PULLMAN – Mason Foster sat in the same locker room two years earlier, crying as Washington’s seniors tried consoling the young sophomore despondent about the thought of going an entire season winless.

If there were any tears Saturday night, they were for revival.

“It’s gone from being one of the lowest lows in my life to one of my highest highs in my life,” Foster said. “Sitting here two years ago, crying my eyes out … we pushed through it, and now we’re sitting here celebrating.”

On a frigid Saturday night on the Palouse, Washington (6-6, 5-4 Pac-10) celebrated its return to respectability. The Huskies’ 35-28 win over rival Washington State in the 103rd Apple Cup sent the Huskies to the postseason for the first time since 2002.

Their destination is the Holiday Bowl and a rematch with No. 17 Nebraska, which pounded the Huskies 56-21 in September.

But more importantly, the victory over the Cougars finally brought the Huskies full circle from two years ago when a 16-13 double overtime loss to Washington State was the bottom moment in Washington’s 0-12 season.

“I wasn’t proud at that time to wear the purple and gold. But now even when we do lose and when we win I’m the proudest guy ever to wear the purple and the gold. I will wear it with my chest out everywhere I go,” Washington safety Nate Williams said.

Washington hasn’t been to a bowl game since the 2002 Sun Bowl when Rick Neuheisel was coach. Neuheisel’s ugly divorce from the school followed that bowl trip and the Huskies won just 18 games over the next six seasons.

This season, it appeared Washington was bound to add another year to its bowl drought before making a dramatic closing charge with three straight wins.

“I can’t be more proud of this football team,” coach Steve Sarkisian said. “Two years ago Monday I met them for the first time. There wasn’t a lot of school spirit, lots of heads down. We are proud Huskies, and we are proud to represent the University of Washington.”

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