UW Football concludes their memorable season

UW students celebrate a touchdown at a watch party for the national championship game. The watch party was held at Local Point, a restaurant on campus in Seattle.
UW students celebrate a touchdown at a watch party for the national championship game. The watch party was held at Local Point, a restaurant on campus in Seattle.
Daniel Su (he/him)

This season, the Washington Huskies football team boasted a 14-1 record and the team’s highest win percentage since they were last crowned national champions in 1992. With key players such as Inglemoor alumnus Quentin Moore, UW was particularly successful in close games, setting an all-time college football record of 10 consecutive games won within a 10-point margin, starting with a win against the University of Arizona on Sept. 30. Those 10 games were a part of a 21-game winning streak, which continued through the penultimate game of the season: a Sugar Bowl win against Texas.

To end the regular season, Washington annually plays Washington State in a game dubbed the Apple Cup. This season, on Nov. 25, the Huskies won 24-21 with a 42-yard field goal by Grady Gross in the final five seconds of the game.

“Thanksgiving weekend, and I’m thankful for Grady Gross,” head coach Kalen DeBoer said to his team in the locker room after the game. “And you know what I hope Grady Gross is thankful for? The scholarship he’s earned.”

The walk-on kicker finished the season with a perfect 63 for 63 on extra points and led the conference in total points scored with 117.

Washington and Washington State came to an agreement on a five-year extension of the Apple Cup following the game, with the hopes of maintaining the in-state rivalry. This was significant because UW is leaving the Pac-12 — the athletic conference that UW and WSU have competed in since 1917 — to join the Big Ten Conference alongside other Pac-12 members USC, UCLA and the University of Oregon. Washington State and Oregon State are the only schools that were a part of the Pac-12 this year that will remain in the conference, with all 10 others joining either the Big 12, the Big Ten or the ACC, which is another collegiate athletic conference. 

Washington’s last game against a Pac-12 opponent was the conference championship game against Oregon. The Huskies were up 27-24 in the fourth quarter, looking to extend their lead. Moore caught a two-yard touchdown pass with two minutes and 44 seconds remaining, leading to a UW win.

After a playoff win against Texas, Washington advanced to the National Championship game against the University of Michigan. Junior Braeden Howe (he/him) attended the game, held in Houston at NRG Stadium, a neutral site in which neither team would have a home field advantage.

“The crowd was really loud for both teams,” Howe said. “It got the blood flowing.”

Michigan was crowned national champion after a 13-34 win, putting a somber end to Washington’s otherwise phenomenal season.

Shortly after the conclusion of the season, UW started a reconstruction of their roster, losing dozens of players for a variety of reasons. Quarterback Michael Penix Jr. will head to the NFL after an outstanding season, finishing as runner up for the Heisman Trophy — an award given to the most outstanding player in college football. Many of UW’s other players declared for the NFL Draft: wide receivers Rome Odunze, Ja’Lynn Polk and Jalen McMillan; running back Dillon Johnson; defensive end Bralen Trice; and offensive linemen Roger Rosengarten and Troy Fautanu. Odunze, Penix, Fautanu and Trice are all currently projected to be selected in the first two rounds of the NFL Draft, according to ESPN. Moore is likely to have a larger role next season as senior tight ends Devin Culp and Jack Westover have both exhausted their college eligibility. 

Coach DeBoer shocked Husky fans on Jan. 12 when he announced that he would be leaving the University of Washington to coach Alabama’s football program. He will replace the recently retired Nick Saban, who coached Alabama to six national championships in his 16-year tenure with the program. Washington’s offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb will follow DeBoer to Alabama, despite expectations to take over as the head coach for the Huskies.

“Though I wanted to be, I will not be the next head coach at the University of Washington,” Grubb said in a statement on X, formerly known as Twitter. “With tears in my eyes, I know my last day in Husky Stadium has come.”

Washington replaced DeBoer’s vacancy with Jedd Fisch, a former University of Arizona coach who led his team to a record of 10-3 this season, finishing 11th in the nation, according to the end of season Associated Press poll. Fisch will be accompanied in his move by many members of Arizona’s program, including running back Jonah Coleman, who rushed for 871 yards. Quarterback Demond Williams Jr. who is currently attending high school in Arizona chose to change his commitment from Arizona to follow Fisch in his move to the northwest to compete for a starting spot. Former UW assistant coaches Jimmie Dougherty and Jordan Paopao have worked with Fisch at Arizona and are expected to join the Huskies, along with offensive coordinator Brennan Carroll, son of long-time Seahawks coach Pete Carroll.

The new Huskies will look to remain successful as they prepare for the challenges of a new conference. Now with 18 member schools, the Big Ten will include five teams ranked in the top 10 of the end-of-season poll. The Big Ten has also never had a team from the West. Since its creation in 1896, it has consisted entirely of teams in the Midwest and New England. This will lead to increased travel time for UW and may eliminate West Coast rivalries that formed in the Pac-12. 

“I’m excited,” Howe said. “But I’d rather be playing in the West, with all the teams from the West.”

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About the Contributors
Daniel Su (he/him), News Editor, Senior PR Manager
Junior Daniel Su is hyped for his second year on Nordic as news editor and Senior PR Manager. This year, he is looking to improve his writing and reporting skills while making sure every student at IHS is represented in Nordic’s stories. Outside of Nordic, Daniel runs XC and plays soccer for the school. He is also involved in a lot of interesting clubs, such as DECA, MUN, and Chess club. He hopes you find our issues interesting and helpful. Happy reading Viks!
Junior Charlie Haug is beginning his first year on the Nordic staff as a reporter. He is looking forward to putting together articles with a goal of keeping his fellow Inglemoor students in the loop. Outside of Nordic, he is usually watching basketball or staying active. He has also spent the last three years rowing for Inglemoor’s crew team.

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