"It's been real weird, because we've been coming out flat and still winning," said Husky Linebacker and Defensive Captain Mark Stewart before taking on the Golden Bears. Added senior Split End Anthony Allen, "The main difference between this year and last is that now we're Number One and we're supposed to beat teams by 30 or 40. Last year we only had to play well enough to win, which is all you're supposed to have to do in football or any other sport. We've all been around so long, we kind of forget how to be emotional, so maybe we get behind and then get emotional for a quarter and beat them like we should beat them. I don't think we're the Number One team. It's hard to say who is."
Thus in the days leading up to Saturday's game a reversal of roles unfolded: Here came Cal and the mystical Kapp, a confident, newly minted juggernaut riding a crest, and there was highly ranked Washington believing Cal was for real and a little bit scared itself. That touch of fear was just the sort of thing James felt his team needed.
Kapp also had an extra incentive to win. He has been facing a good deal of resentment from coaches who don't like the fact that he got the head coaching job at Cal without ever having coached a down. "Does this mean Johnny Unitas gets the next job?" one noted coach had asked Maggard. James, realizing that Cal needed no more in the way of pregame motivation, tiptoed around the question of Kapp's credentials all week and instead lauded Cal Assistant Ron Lynn, who had been on James's staff at Kent State in 1974. "Ron's a great defensive coordinator, and I understand that Joe is letting him run the defense with no interference," said James. Lynn, far and away the most experienced of Kapp's aides, with eight years of major-college experience, is the sole full-time holdover from the regime of Roger Theder that fell at the end of last season. Kapp practically had to beg Lynn to stay, and he did, while others fled.
The Huskies regarded Cal as the first good team they would play this year; by winning big they could confirm to themselves that they deserved their lofty ranking. Said Pelluer early in the week, "We've been a little complacent. A little overconfident. I think as early as last year we all looked ahead and realized that we would be capable of dominating most of our schedule this year. Cal is much better than we thought they'd be. Practice this week has been fun. The hitting has been hard. There's excitement in the air."
Yes, there was, and who knew what to expect? Why Washington was made a 13-point favorite no one in Husky Stadium could figure out. But someone sure knew something.
Once the game got going, Washington looked as though it was going to continue its complacent ways. Cal's offense couldn't make a dent, but for most of the first half the Huskies would march the ball into Cal territory, cross the 30 and then take a nap. This type of lapse had become a source of some concern to James, because he feared the Huskies had become overly dependent on one of those fifth-year seniors, Chuck Nelson, who came into the game as the nation's second-leading scorer, having kicked an NCAA-record 19 straight field goals, going back to last season's 10th game. On three of Washington's first five possessions against the Golden Bears he ran his string to 20, 21 and 22, with kicks from 32, 36 and 20 yards, respectively. For all its work, Washington led just 9-0 midway through the second quarter.
"The thing that really worried me was starting out with those threes again," said James afterward. "You go down the field twice and get threes, and they go down the field once and get a seven, they're ahead. There came a time when we needed a seven."
The time came with 48 seconds remaining in the half, when on the Huskies' fourth try from inside the Cal two. Fullback Chris James barely bulled his way across from an inch out. But during the previous series Pelluer had had his bell rung by Roverback Richard Rodgers and had suffered the concussion. He had taken himself-out of the game when he couldn't remember the play he'd just called. Pelluer had completed six of nine passes up to that point, and his replacement, Tim Cowan, had thrown only 12 this season and 20 last year. On Cowan's first play, he was thrown for a nine-yard loss by Golden Bear Tackle Reggie Camp. "I was pretty damn scared after that," he said. "I thought, 'Oh no!' "
For the rest of the game Cowan was merely magnificent, completing 13 of 17 passes for 197 yards and three touchdowns. He became the director of the rout, which was to commence as soon as the Washington band cleared the field after halftime. First he fired an 18-yard bullet to Split End Aaron Williams to ease the Huskies across mid-field, and then he let loose a 41-yard bomb to Williams, who pulled down the pass in the right corner of the end zone, the first of his two TD catches. Tequila! Williams' second TD came 6½ minutes later on a 12-yarder. Tequila! In between Williams' TDs, Tailback Dennis Brown swept right for a touchdown set up by a 16-yard pass from Cowan to Flanker Paul Skansi, who only three plays earlier had become the Huskies' alltime pass reception leader, with 112. Along the way, Nelson, who now has a run of 49 straight extra points to go along with his field-goal string, tied Hugh McElhenny as Washington's alltime leading scorer, with 233 points. Tequila! Late in the fourth quarter Cowan threw his third TD pass on a roll-out to the right and a cross-field burner to Allen, who was streaking to the left flag. Tequila!
It was getting monotonous, but the crowd savored every drop. As for Cal, well, the first three of Washington's second-half touchdowns came after punts of 15, 19 and 28 yards by Kriss Heisinger, filling in not so ably for the regular punter, Mike Ahr, who was back in Berkeley nursing a leg injury.