No. 8 Husky Football Begins Home Stretch
Nov. 5, 2001
The Game: The Washington football team (7-1 overall, 5-1 in the Pac-10), ranked No. 8 in this week's Associated Press rankings and in the ESPN/USA Today coaches' poll, will hope to maintain its position as one of the Pac-10's first-place teams this Saturday when it travels to face Oregon State (3-5, 2-4) in a conference game at Reser Stadium. Kickoff is set for 12:30 p.m. The Huskies, with their 5-1 league mark, are currently tied atop the Pac-10 standings alongside Northwest rivals Oregon and Washington State. The Ducks travel to face UCLA this Saturday while the Cougars go to Tempe to play Arizona State. Last week, Washington broke a string of last-minute league victories by beating 10th-ranked Stanford, 42-28. The score, however, was tied at 28-28 in the fourth until a UW TD with 3:48 remaining made it 35-28.
The Series: Washington holds a commanding 55-26-4 record in the all-time series against Oregon State, having won the last 13 meetings and 23 of the last 24, dating back to 1975. The series against the Beavers is the second -longest (to Stanford) active series in Washington football history in terms of years and third-longest in terms of total meetings (to Oregon and Washington State) The teams first met on Dec. 4, 1897, with Oregon State earning a 16-0 home win. That game was Washington's second-ever against a major college. The next OSU-UW game didn't come until 1902, a 16-6 UW win . From 1924 to 1964, the annual UW-OSU game was played either at Husky Stadium or Multnomah (Civic) Stadium in Portland. Since 1966, the OSU home games have been played in Corvallis. The Huskies are 14-3 all-time at Reser (Parker) Stadium and 17-6 all-time in Corvallis. In games played in the state of Oregon (Corvallis, Portland and Albany (1914)), the Huskies are 24-11-2. While the Huskies' last trip to Corvallis resulted in a relatively easy 47-21 win, the last two games at Husky Stadium have come down to the last play of the game. In 1998, the Beavs stormed back from a 28-7 deficit, but a two-point conversion try with no time left in the game was batted away in a 35-34 UW win. In last year's game, Ryan Cesca missed a 46-yard field goal with 14 seconds left. A made field goal would have sent the game into overtime, but the result was a 33-30 Husky victory. Husky head coach Rick Neuheisel is 2-0 against Oregon State and 2-0 in head-to-head meetings with Dennis Erickson. As Beaver head coach, Erickson is 0-2 against UW, but in two seasons as Washington State's head coach, went 1-1 against the Huskies.
Last-Second Magic: Four of Washington's five Pac-10 victories this season have come down to the wire. The Huskies have beaten California by three points (31-28), USC by three (27-24), Arizona by three (31-28) and Arizona State by two (33-31). Washingtontrailed in the fourth quarter in each of those games but came back to win. In both the USC and the Arizona State games, Washington got a field goal from John Anderson with no time left on the clock to get the victory. The Huskies hadn't previously won a game on the final play since Chuck Nelson kicked a field goal to beat Stanford, 27-24, in 1980. In the win over Arizona, quarterback Cody Pickett closed out a record-setting passing day by scoring on a three-yard run with only 13 seconds remaining. Against ASU, the Huskies took the ball on their own 10-yard line and used up the final 7:12 of the game, driving for the winning field goal in 18 plays. The Cal win wasn't nearly so close, by comparison. The Huskies entered the fourth quarter trailing 21-17, but scored two touchdowns to take a 31-21 lead before Cal scored to close the gap with 3:23 remaining. The win over Stanford was comfortable by comparison. However, the score was tied at 28-28 until Willie Hurst scored with 3:48 left in the game to give the Huskies a lead. Hurst tacked on the final TD with only four seconds on the clock.
Television: The Washington-Oregon State game will air on Fox Sports Net with Steve Physioc, Tom Ramsey and Lewis Johnson calling the action. The game will also air on tape-delay Sunday on Fox Sports Northwest at 3:00 p.m. All Husky games are shown on tape delay the Sunday after the game, with all remaining replays scheduled to start at 3 p.m.
Radio: KOMO AM-1000 broadcasts all of the Husky games, serving as the flagship of the 21-station Husky Football Radio Network, which covers nearly all of Washington and parts of Alaska, Oregon and Nevada. Bob Rondeau (play-by-play), Chuck Nelson (color) and Bill Swartz (sidelines) provide the call.
The Coach: Husky head coach Rick Neuheisel is in his third year at the helm of the Washington program. In two-plus seasons, Neuheisel has led the Huskies to an 25-7 overall mark and an 18-4 record in Pac-10 play. Last season, Washington posted an 11-1 overall record, a 7-1 conference mark and shared the Pac-10 Championship. After beating Purdue, 34-24, in the Rose Bowl, the Huskies finished with a No. 3 ranking in the final national polls. In his first season at Washington (1999), Neuheisel led the Huskies to a 7-5 overall mark, a second-place tie (6-2) in the Pac-10 and a trip to the Culligan Holiday Bowl. Neuheisel became the first Husky coach in history to lead the UW to a bowl game in his first season as head coach. Prior to coming to Washington, Neuheisel served four seasons as the head coach at Colorado, posting a 33-14 (.702) overall mark with the Buffaloes. His career record, in six-plus seasons, is 58-21 (.734). Neuheisel worked for six seasons as an assistant coach at his alma mater, UCLA, before joining Bill McCartney's Colorado staff in 1994 as the quarterbacks coach. Originally a walkon at UCLA, Neuheisel won the starting quarterback position as a senior and led the Bruins to the 1983 Pac-10 championship. He was named the MVP of the 1984 Rose Bowl that saw UCLA defeat Illinois, 45-9. Washington fans remember Neuheisel's tremendous performance when he completed 25 of 27 passes to set an NCAA record that was only recently broken by Tennessee's Tee Martin. Neuheisel, a member of the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame, still holds the Bruins' single-season (69.3) and career (68.3) completion percentage records.
UW-Oregon State Ties: As one might imagine with two Northwest schools, there's some crossover between the UW and Oregon State programs, especially within the coaching staffs. In 1982, when OSU head coach Dennis Erickson was head coach at Idaho, Keith Gilbertson was the offensive coordinator. After two years in the USFL, Gilbertson came back to Idaho as Erickson's coordinator in 1985, then took over as the Vandals' head coach in 1986 when Erickson left for Wyoming. Gilbertson also worked on Erickson's Seattle Seahawks staff from 1996 to 1998. Gilbertson, in his three stints working with Erickson, also worked alongside current OSU assistant coaches Gregg Smith, Tim Lappano, Craig Bray and Eric Yarber. Lappano was running backs coach at California when Gilbertson was the Bears' head coach (1992-95). Current OSU running backs coach Dan Cozzetto was on the same staff at Arizona State as Husky graduate assistant and receivers coach John Pettas for several years. Finally, Husky defensive coordinator Tim Hundley spent eight season (1982-89) as a defensive assistant at Oregon State, coaching under Joe Avezzano and Dave Kragthorpe. Washington's roster includes only two Oregonians: quarterback Taylor Barton (Beaverton) and defensive lineman Spencer Marona (Lake Oswego). Barton and OSU linebacker Erik Tuma were classmates at Beaverton High. The OSU roster only has four players from the state of Washington: linebacker Trent Bray (Pullman), quarterback Ryan Kanekeberg (Everett), tight end Pat Loney (Everett) and punter Carl Tobey (Chehalis).
UW-Stanford Redux: The Huskies kept pace with the Pac-10 frontrunners with a 42-28 win over 10th-ranked Stanford. Washington rushed for five touchdowns on the day, including three from Willie Hurst. While the Huskies didn't require a fourth-quarter comeback, they did have to rally from a fourth-quarter tie. With the game tied at 28-28 in the fourth, the Huskies went 77 yards on 14 plays over six minutes and 13 seconds to score the go-ahead touchdown on a Hurst two-yar d run. With time running out in the game and the Huskies on the 15-yard line on fourth down and one, Hurst ran 15 yards for a score to ice the game with four seconds left. Hurst finished the day with 108 yards and three TDs on 22 carries, his second straight 100-yard outing and the first three-TD effort by a Husky runner since 1996. Husky quartetback Cody Pickett had another strong game as well, throwing for 291 yards and one TD on 15-of-28 passing. He had no interceptions and also ran for one TD. Brian Allen, who's 80-yard TD run in the third quarter closed the Husky lead to 28-20, ran for 138 yards on 23 carries to lead the Cardinal. Chris Lewis, Stanford's sophomore QB, completed 19-of-34 for 231 yards.
Dawgs and the Northwest: Washington compiled a 2-1 record against its Northwest Pac-10 rivals last year, beating Oregon State and Washington State while falling to Oregon. While the Huskies don't play Oregon this season, they do play the other two over the next two weeks. Washington's oldest and longest rivalries are against the other three other northwest Pac-10 schools. The Huskies have faced Oregon 94 times, Washington State in 93 games and Oregon State on 84 occasions. Washington owns the advantage in all three series. The Huskies lead the Ducks 56-33-5, Washington State 60-27-6 and Oregon State 55-26-4. Combined, Washington has a 171-86-15 (.656) record against its northwest rivals.
Passing Fancy: Washington is currently averaging 289.5 passing yards per game, which, if it holds up would break the old school of 272.1 (1970) by more than 17 yards per game. The Huskies have averaged more than 250 yards passing only twice in their history. The only other time beside 1970 when the UW threw for 250 or more per game was 1997, when the Huskies averaged 253.6 per game. Last season, the Huskies averaged only 196.2 passing yards per game, nearly 100 fewer than this season.
Turnovers No Problem: Washington has turned the ball over 15 times in eight games this season. However, opponents have managed to convert only four of those 15 turnovers into points, scoring four touchdowns and no field goals for a total of 28 points off of turnovers. After getting a touchdown and a field goal off of two turnovers at Arizona State, the Huskies have done only slightly better than their opposition, converting 15 turnovers into five TDs and two field goals, good for 41 points.
Last Year vs. Oregon State: Washington tallied one of its many fourth-quarter comebacks in a 33-30 win over the Beavers last Oct. 7 at Husky Stadium. The game ended up as the Beavers' only loss of the 2001 season. The teams traded leads through the first three quarter and entered the fourth with OSU in front, 21-20. Rich Alexis scored on a one-yard run to put the Huskies in front, 26-21, but the two-point conversion attempt was fumbled and ran back for two OSU points. After a Marques Tuiasospo TD run made it 33-23 Huskies, Jonathan Smith hit Chad Johnson with an 80-yard pass to close the gap to 33-30. The Beavers' final drive began on their own 15-yard line with just over five minutes left. Behind the running of Ken Simonton, OSU marched to the UW 25-yard ine with under a minute to play. On second-and-one, Simonton was hit in the backfield by Larry Tripplett for a three-yard loss, forcing the Beavers to spike the ball sto stop the clock on third down and setting up a 46-yard field goal try by Ryan Cesca. Cesca's attempt to send the game into overtime fell short with only 14 seconds on the clock and the Huskies survived. Both Alexis (107 yards) and Paul Arnold (102) broke the century mark in rushing for the Huskies while Simonton carried for 104 yards on 23 carries. Tuiasosopo was 20-for-32 for 223 yards while Smith finished 13-for-24 for 314 yards and three TDs.
Top 15 Streak: The Huskies, who opened the 2000 season ranked No. 14 in the nation, haven't been ranked out of the Associated Press' top 15 since the end of the 1999 season. This week's game at Oregon State will mark the 20th straight game that the Huskies have entered ranked in the top 15. Washington has been ranked in the top 10 heading into nine of those games, including eight during the 2000 season.
Playing at Home: The Huskies finished the home slate with a spotless 6-0 record in 2000, marking the 12th time ever and the fifth time in the last 10 seasons that the Dawgs have played perfect at home (1991, 1992, 1994, 1996, 2000). Washington has won 61 of its last 73 (.842) games at Husky Stadium with one tie (61-11-1). Since 1980, the Huskies stand 109-23-2 (.821) at home. Since 1990, the Huskies are 40-7-1 (.844) at Husky Stadium vs. Pac-10 opponents.
Pickett Shines: One of the Huskies' biggest concerns heading into the 2001 season was inexperience at quarterback as Cody Pickett had thrown only six regular-season passes in his career. Those fears seem to have been unfounded as Pickett has performed like a veteran so far. Through eight games, Pickett has completed 117-of-202 (.579) of his passes for 1,715 yards. He has nine TD passes and eight interceptions. He has single-game passing yardages of 455 (Arizona), 291 (California) and 291 again (Stanford). Against USC, Pickett suffered a separated shoulder and missed all but one series of the second half.
Pickett's Pace: In just his first season as starting quarterback at Washington, Husky sophomore quarterback Cody Pickett is already threatening many of the UW's single-season records for passing and total offense. At his current pace of 245 passing yards per game, Pickett is on pace to shatter Cary Conklin's record of 233.5, and is on track to post the second-most passing yards in school history, trailing only Conklin's 2,569 yards in 1989. Other records being threatened by Pickett include Marques Tuiasosopo's records for total offense, and total offense per game. More remarkable is the fact that Pickett, who will play a maximum of only 10 games this season after missing the UCLA game, is pursuing the passing and total offense records despite a completely separated shoulder suffered in the second quarter vs. USC, on Oct. 6. In the six games's he's completed (taking out a 70-yard effort vs. USC), Pickett is averaging 274.2 passing yards per game. Below is a list of each of Washington's season records in danger of falling to Pickett in 2001. 'UW Record' refers to the school record in that category, while 'Pickett in 2001' is Pickett's current season total or average, and 'Pickett's Pace' reflects how his current numbers project over 10 games. Numbers in parentheses refer to where Pickett's projected totals would rank in Washington's all-time top-10:
UW Pickett in Pickett's Record 2001 PacePassing Yards 2,569 1,715 2,450 (2nd)Passing Yards by a Sophomore 2,303 1,715 2,450 (1st)Passing Yards Per Game 233.5 245.0 245.0 (1st)Passing Yards Per Attempt 8.77 8.49 8.49 (2nd)Most 50+ yard passes 4 4 5 or 6 (1st)Total Offense Yards 2,762 1,816 2,594 (2nd)Total Offense Per Game 251.1 259.4 259.4 (1st)Total Offense Per Attempt 7.48 7.24 7.24 (2nd)
Cody's Bombs: With three passes of over 70 yards this season (78 to Paul Arnold, 75 to Patrick Reddick, 74 to Reggie Williams), Cody Pickett is the only Husky QB ever to throw three 70-plus-yard passes in a career. Only Damon Huard, Tom Porras and Billy Joe Hobert had ever thrown two 70-yard passes.
Strong-Legged Frosh: Husky freshman punter Derek McLaughlin is having one of the best seasons ever by a Husky punter. McLaughlin's current punting average of 41.7 yards per punt would rank fourth all-time in school history. In Washington's 31-28 win over Cal, McLaughlin set a school record with a 74-yard punt. Of McLaughlin's 40 punts this season, 15 have been downed inside the 20-yard line, and only two have gone for touchbacks.
Hurst So Good: Senior tailback Willie Hurst didn't start a game in 2000. However, that didn't stop him from turning in several star performances, including carrying for 53 yards and a touchdown in the Rose Bowl. Against Arizona, Hurst carried the ball only eight times, but tallied 116 yards, two TDs and scored the Huskies' only two-point conversion of the year. He had scoring runs of 23 and 65 yards, both in the fourth quarter. His 23-yard run was named the college play of the week by CNNSI.com. Hurst also posted a strong day in the comeback win over Stanford, rushing for 96 yards and two TDs on 14 carries. Against UCLA, Hurst ran for 99 yards on only 11 carries, but broke his collarbone at the end of his 62-yard run on the first play of the second half. In 2001, Hurst has been the Huskies' top rusher in four games, most notably the win at Arizona State, when he rushed for a career-high 185 yards on 21 carries. He also had a 100-yard day in the win over USC, rushing for 102 yards on 19 rushes and passed the century mark again in the Stanford game, going for 108 on 22 carries. Against Stanford, Hurst ran for three touchdowns, the first time a UW runner has scored three TDs in a game since Corey Dillon in the 1996 Apple Cup.
Willie Cracking Top 10s: Senior tailback Willie Hurst has recently made his way on to several different UW top 10 lists, most recently moving past Toussaint Tyler (1977-80) into ninth place on the career rushing yardage list. With 1,938 career rushing yards, Hurst is 212 yards behind Rashaan Shehee (1994-97) for eighth place. Here are three other top 10 lists on which Hurst already ranks:
fifth (tied) in career rushing touchdowns with 24
eighth in career rushing attempts with 431
ninth in career rushing yards per game with 55.4
Random Notes: The usual UW schedule calls for two non-conference home games and one non-league road game, this year that road game is at Miami ... during the last 11 seasons, Washington has gone only 5-5 in such games (there was no non-conference road game in '92), but the list of opponents is a strong one: Purdue (1990 win), Nebraska (1991 win and 1998 loss), Ohio State (1993 loss and 1995 loss), Miami (1994 win), Notre Dame (1996 loss), Brigham Young (1997 win and 1999 loss) and Colorado (2000 win) ... Washington has lost only six games under coach Rick Neuheisel, with four of those losses coming by a touchdown or less: BYU (35-28), UCLA (23-20), Kansas State (24-20) and Oregon (23-16) ... redshirt-freshman outside linebacker Zach Tuiasosopo's family ties continue ... Zach is the younger brother of former UW quarterback Marques Tuiasosopo, but after losing him to the Oakland Raiders, the Huskies got another Tuiasosopo back as former UW volleyball star Leslie Tuiasosopo was hired as an assistant volleyball coach under new head man Jim McLaughlin ... Jamaun Willis, despite starting only one game in all of 2000, was the Huskies' seventh-leading tackler last year with 32 total tackles ... The Sporting News ranked the nation's top 'Saturday Cathedrals' and listed Husky Stadium as the No. 5 stadium in the country, behind those at Tennessee, Notre Dame, Florida and Texas A&M ... Husky Stadium was also No. 1 in the Pac-10 ... former Washington quarterback Warren Moon, who led the Huskies to the 1978 Rose Bowl, winning the MVP in that game, is one of five inductees into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame this year ... Moon won five Grey Cups in his six seasons in the Edmonton Eskimos of the CFL before playing 17 seasons in the NFL ... Washington scored five rushing touchdowns in the Stanford game, matching their total number of rushing touchdowns from their other five Pac-10 games combined ... over the last two seasons (2000-01), Washington has out-scored its opponents by 50 points total over the first three quarters and by 115 in the fourth quarter alone ... 16 different Huskies have caught a pass in 2001, most since 1992 (also 16) ... three Huskies have caught 30 or more passes already this season ... that hasn't happened since 1989, when four players (Orlando McKay, Bill Ames, Greg Lewis and Andre Riley) all caught 30 or more ... in Washington's first three Pac-10 games, the Huskies converted only 14-of-50 (.280) of its third downs while, over the last three, they've gone 22-for-42 (.512).