In 2004 the Huskies had a 1–10 season. Their lone victory over San Jose State led to Head CoachKeith Gilbertson leaving the team. Tyrone Willingham was hired after being dismissed from Notre Dame to lead the Huskies. While Washington saw an overall improvement on the team, they still struggled to win games, finishing with a 2–9 record. Some highlights of the 2005 season were victories over Idaho and Pac-10 foe Arizona, and holding USC to 390 yards, their lowest offensive total of the year.
Head Coach Tyrone Willingham returns for his second year at the helm of the program. RedshirtFreshman J.R. Hasty (TB) was expected to have a big impact on the offensive line before being declared academically ineligible. Senior Isaiah Stanback and Sophomore Johnny Durocher are both challenging for the starting quarterback position. Incoming Junior College transfers are Anthony Atkins (DE), Jason Wells (S), and Jordan Murchison (CB). All are expected to fill holes in the team.
Washington does not appear in any pre-season rankings and was predicted to finish in 10th place in the Pac-10 Conference Media Poll.
In the fourth quarter, with 2 seconds left on the game clock, the Huskies moved the ball 15 yards shy of the end zone, stopping the clock by getting a first down. Before Isaiah Stanback could hike the ball, the clock ran out and they were unable to get off a final play. It was a controversial moment that many blamed on miscommunication from the officials regarding when the clock would start again.
Linebacker Scott White intercepted two passes in the first half, setting up two touchdowns and giving Washington a 17–10 lead by halftime. However, the Huskies struggled in the second half both offensively and defensively. Oregon State quarterback Matt Moore connected with wide receiver Sammie Stroughter to give OSU a 27–17 lead. Late in the fourth quarter, Washington quarterback Isaiah Stanback suffered a Lisfranc fracture in his right foot; the injury requires surgery and Stanback will miss the remainder of the 2006 season.
Back-up quarterback Carl Bonnell made his first start of the season filling in for the injured Isaiah Stanback. In his first start he threw two touchdown passes including a 40 yard hail mary pass to Marlon Wood to send the game into over time. However, Bonnell also threw five interceptions in regulation, and one in over time.