Don James (17th year)
| No. 1|
12–0 (8–0 Pac-10)
| Keith Gilbertson (1st year)|
The 1991 Washington Huskies football team represented the University of Washington in the 1991 NCAA Division I-A football season. Head coach Don James, in this 17th season at Washington, was assisted by coordinators Keith Gilbertson (offense) and Jim Lambright (defense), both head coaches themselves within two years.
The 1991 team was arguably the finest team in school history and split the national championship with the Miami Hurricanes, who were also 12–0, and won the AP Poll by four votes, while Washington took the coaches' poll by nine. Washington could not have played Miami in a bowl game because the Pac-10 champion was bound by contract to play in the Rose Bowl against the Big Ten champion. The Huskies soundly defeated no. 4 Michigan 34–14 in the 1992 Rose Bowl; the final score differential was narrowed by a late touchdown by Tyrone Wheatley of Michigan. With a minute remaining in the game, Washington was on the Michigan five-yard line, but opted to stay on the ground and run out the clock with the third-string quarterback leading the offense.
Eleven Huskies were selected in the 1992 NFL Draft, led by Steve Emtman, a dominating yet under-recruited defensive tackle from Cheney. Emtman won both the Lombardi Award and the Outland Trophy, and finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy balloting, won by Desmond Howard of Michigan. Defensive back Dana Hall was also selected in the first round.
A fantasy article in Sports Illustrated titled "The Dream Game" had the Huskies narrowly defeat Miami in a playoff.
1991 Washington Huskies football team Wikipedia
The Huskies were ranked fourth in the 1991 pre-season. They dominated their six home games within the friendly raucous confines of Husky Stadium, which included two lopsided shutouts. The Dawgs' three closest games in 1991 were on the road: against Nebraska, California, and USC.
Behind 14–6 at halftime in Lincoln on ABC to no. 9 Nebraska in the second game of the season, UW rallied to outscore NU in Lincoln 30–7 in the second half to win by 15, and were graciously applauded at game-end by the Cornhusker fans. In mid-October, the no. 7 Cal Bears were the next-best team in the Pac-10 in 1991; the Huskies won by a touchdown in Berkeley to go to 6–0. In November in Los Angeles, the Huskies entered the game against USC undefeated at 8–0 and won a 14–3 defensive struggle, a second-straight victory over the previously-dominant Trojans.
Many of the points scored against the 1991 Huskies in their other games, including the last touchdown in the Rose Bowl, came in the fourth quarter against the reserves, as head coach Don James was concerned more about meaningful game-time experience for underclassman, rather than victory margins and/or shutouts.
Like the rest of the Pac-10 in 1991, the Huskies played just eight Pac-10 conference games, missing one opponent; they did not play UCLA in 1991 or 1992. The 1991 Bruins finished at 9–3 (6–2 in conference), in the top twenty in both polls (no. 18 and no. 19). UCLA lost to Tennessee of the SEC and both Bay Area teams, Cal and Stanford, but won their bowl game.
The following Washington players were selected in the 1992 NFL Draft:
Source:Both 1991 UW quarterbacks were selected in the following year's 1993 NFL Draft: '91 soph. starter Billy Joe Hobert by the Oakland Raiders (3rd rd., 58th) and junior Mark Brunell ('90 soph. starter, injured in spring '91 practice, '92 senior starter) by the Green Bay Packers (5th rd., 118th); where he was a reserve for two seasons behind Brett Favre, then led the expansion Jacksonville Jaguars in 1995.
Steve Emtman, Lombardi Award
Steve Emtman, Outland Trophy
Don James, FWAA Coach of the Year