SEATTLE - Bulldozers will pull into Husky Stadium on Nov. 6, rev their engines and strike, turning the lower bowl of one of the Pac-12's football cathedrals into a heaping mound of concrete, steel and dirt.
Maybe the demotion will serve as an exorcism, cleansing Husky Stadium of the seemingly malevolent force that has haunted the Arizona Wildcats with wild finishes, horrendous calls and flukey plays seemingly every time they've dared to visit the Pacific Northwest.
Washington running back Chris Polk put up 244 total yards and scored five touchdowns, including two decisive scores in the fourth quarter, and the Huskies prevailed tonight with a 42-31 win in front of 59,825 fans. The game was marred by enough video reviews, questionable calls an improbable plays to earn the game a spot on the SyFy Channel. Arizona gained 424 yards against a porous UW defense but was done in by turnovers; quarterback Nick Foles was intercepted three times, and Juron Criner coughed up a key fumble in the fourth quarter.
Maybe the ending wasn't surprising. After all, tonight's game played out like your typical horror flick.
Arizona scored 10 points in the first 8 minutes 31 seconds, getting on the board when John Bonano hit a 36-yard field goal and Criner caught a 24-yard touchdown pass. Bonano added a 47-yard field goal in the second quarter.
Just when Arizona felt safe, things got strange - and a bit spooky.
Trailing in the second quarter, the Huskies executed a double pass - Keith Price to Devin Aguilar to Chris Polk - for 31 yards even though the UA's Tra'Mayne Bondurant appeared the wrestle the ball away at the last minutes. Video review upheld the play.
Polk had a 4-yard touchdown run overturned by video review, and Arizona's defense held - until Robert Golden was flagged for pass interference as he deflected a pass on third-and-goal. The Huskies' offense stalled inside the 5 before Polk gave them a lead with a 1-yard run on fourth-and-goal.
Washington's lead ballooned to 8 points in the third quarter, when - moments after a Golden interception was overturned because of pass interference - Price found Polk for a 17-yard touchdown.
Then Golden pulled off biggest play of his career.
The Huskies were driving to put the game midway through the third quarter away when quarterback Keith Price found James Johnson open at Arizona's 9-yard line. Washington's receiver caught it, took a step, juggled it - and Golden pounced. He intercepted the pass, juked six UW chasers, found blockers and ran - well, half-walked, gassed from the effort - 91 yards the end zone. Foles' 2-point conversion pass to David Douglas was good, and the game was tied.
The teams traded scores in the quarter, with Polk adding a 1-yard touchdown run and Criner catching a 9-yard pass. Bonano made it 31-28 with a chip-shot field goal with 14 minutes 11 seconds remaining in the game and Trevin Wade intercepted Price, and the Wildcats appeared headed for a victory.
But then, again, trouble. The UA went three-and-out, punted, and watched as Price and the Huskies drove deep into their territory. Price found Kasen Williams for a 47-yard touchdown pass to move to the Wildcats' 20. Price then found Kevin Smith, and the Huskies moved to Arizona's 5.
Polk, the Huskies' star tailback, then gave them the lead with a 5-yard score. He finished with 144 rushing yards, his school-record 18th game with 100 yards or more, and caught four passes for 100 yards.
Along the way, Polk added another chapter to a series that's been marked by the ridiculous - UA quarterback Ortege Jenkins' "Leap at the Lake" in 1998 - to the wacky. Mason Foster's interception of a Foles pass that bounced off a receiver's foot (or was it the turf?) gave the Huskies a win in 2009.
The game ended not with an "inaccurate deflection", but with a simple fumble. Arizona was crossing midfield with 7:14 remaining when Foles found Criner for a 6-yard pass. Huskies saferty Will Shamburger forced the ball loose, and linebacker Princeton Fuimaono recovered.The Huskies then drove and scored with - who else? - Polk putting the game away.
Arizona (2-6, 1-5) will return home next week to face Utah, then finish its season with games against Colorado, Arizona State and Louisiana Lafayette. The Wildcats must win out to have any hope of making the postseason. Washington (6-2, 2-3) clinched another bowl game with tonight's win.