Hawaii made the trip to Seattle for the season opener for what then was a rare visit by the Rainbows to the mainland. Hawaii at the time was an independent team that typically played at home. They would come to the mainland for just a couple games.
The game at Washington was part of Hawaii’s attempt to begin upgrading its schedule a bit — Hawaii had lost 34-2 at Tennessee the year before.
But few thought Hawaii had a chance against UW — the school’s official history shows Hawaii as a 50 point underdog.
UW made one touchdown and never scored again, in large part due to five turnovers and two missed field goals, indicative of a sloppy effort throughout.
Hawaii grabbed a 10-7 lead in the third quarter, but Washington drove inside Hawaii’s 23-yard line three times in the fourth quarter.
Twice, the Huskies lost fumbles, the other time — with less than four minutes left — they went for a first down rather than try a tying field goal and were intercepted.
“Personally, I’d rather tie than lose,” said a surprised Hawaii coach Dave Holmes afterward.
Hawaii’s media notes this week refer to the game as “one of the biggest upsets in school history.”