No. 16 Huskies Set To Face No. 9 WSU

Nov. 12, 2001

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The Game: The Washington football team (7-2 overall, 5-2 in the Pac-10), ranked No. 16 in this week's Associated Press rankings and No. 14 the ESPN/USA Today coaches' poll, takes on Washington State (9-1, 6-1) in one of the biggest Apple Cup games in history. The Cougars are ranked No. 9 by the AP and No. 10 by the coaches. Game time on Saturday, Nov. 17, is set for 12:30 p.m. Despite the Huskies' loss at Oregon State last weekend, there are still Pac-10 title hopes on the line for both teams (see below). The game also marks the final home game of the 2001 season and will be the first time that the Huskies have played WSU in something other than the last game of the season since 1948. November 24, the Huskies close out the campaign at No. 1 Miami.

Rescheduling: Washington's game at Miami, originally scheduled for September 15, was postponed due to the Sept. 11 incidents. The game has been rescheduled for November 24 at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time (5:00 p.m. Pacific). It will air live on ABC-TV.

The Series: The Washington-Washington State series dates back to 1900, when the teams played to a 5-5 tie in Seattle, but only since 1962 has the winner been awarded the Apple Cup trophy. Washington holds a commanding 60-27-6 edge in the 93-game series, including a 28-10 record in Apple Cup games. The Huskies are 34-13-5 all-time against the Cougars in Seattle, including 27-11-3 vs. WSU at Husky Stadium. In perhaps an ominous note for the Huskies, neither team has won more than three consecutive games in the series since Washington's eight-game winning streak from 1974-1981. The Huskies' streak is currently at exactly three games, dating back to a 1997 loss at Husky Stadium. That 41-35 loss, the Cougars' only win in Seattle in the past 15 years, spurred a Ryan Leaf-led squad to its first Rose Bowl trip in 67 years. Husky head coach Rick Neuheisel is a perfect 3-0 against the Cougars in his career, having won two consecutive Apple Cup games, and one game as coach at Colorado. Cougars coach Mike Price is 3-9 all-time against Washington, 1-5 in Husky Stadium. Saturday's game will mark just the fifth time in series history that both teams have entered the contest in the top-20 of the national rankings, and if history is correct, the results could be unpredictable. In those previous four games, each team is 2-2, including identical 1-1 records as the higher-ranked team. In 1981, with a trip to Pasadena on the line for both teams, the 17th-ranked Huskies upset the 14th-ranked Cougars 23-10 to earn the Rose Bowl berth. A 2-7-1 WSU team paid back a 9-1 Husky squad the following season, downing Washington 24-20 in Martin Stadium for perhaps the series' biggest upset.

Still on the Line: Despite the fact that Washington can no longer win an outright Pac-10 title, a win over Washington State would nonetheless allow the Huskies a chance at a Pac-10 co-championship should Oregon State beat Oregon on Dec. 1. Washington State, with a win in the Apple Cup, would ensure itself of at least a co-championship with Oregon (though the Ducks would win the tie-breaker with a win over OSU). WSU could lose the Apple Cup and still earn a share of the crown with an OSU win over Oregon.

After A Loss: Washington enters this week's game vs. Washington State coming off a loss at Oregon State last week. The Huskies, however, haven't lost back-to-back games under coach Rick Neuheisel since the first two games of Neuheisel's tenure (losses to Brigham Young and Air Force at the start of the 1999 season). Playing at home the week after a road loss, the Huskies have won 13 of the last 16 times, dating back to 1989, and including a win over Arizona this year (following the UCLA loss).

Television: The Washington-Washington State game will air on ABC-TV with Keith Jackson (play-by-play), Tim Brant (color) and Todd Harris (sidelines) 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 25-8 overall mark and an 18-5 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 58-22 (.725). 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.Washington-WSU Ties: Considering that we're dealing with an in-state rivalry, it's surprising that there aren't more connections between the Washington and Washington State teams, at least among the coaches. None of the coaches on the two staffs have ever served together as coaches on a coaching staff at any college. Several of the coaches have coached at the same schools as one another, but not at the same time. However, WSU head coach Mike Price graduated from Everett High School in 1964, two years before Husky offensive coordinator Keith Gilbertson graduated from rival Snohomish High. Cougar defensive tackle Ing Aleaga is the younger brother of former Husky standout linebacker Ink Aleaga. There are seven Huskies this year that hail from east of the Cascades: tackle Ryan Brooks (Richland), tailback Braxton Cleman (Oroville), tight end Joe Collier (Spokane), kicker Ricardo DoValle (Richland), punter Garth Erickson (Spokane), center Jonathan Kovis (Pasco) and fullback Dan McCourtie (Othello). Washington State's media guide roster includes 38 players from the western part of the state of Washington.

UW-OSU Redux: Washington suffered one of its worst losses in years last Saturday in Corvallis, falling 49-24 to the Beavers. The loss marked the Beavers first win over Washington since 1985 and the first in Corvallis since 1974. OSU quarterback Jonathan Smith, who has had several of the best games of his career against Washington, had another fine game, throwing for 317 yards and two touchdowns on 18-of-28 passing. Tailback Ken Simonton ran for three touchdowns and 107 yards as OSU scored five TDs on the ground. The Huskies' offense struggled as well, rushing for a total of only 88 yards and passing for 193. The game appeared close in the early-going, but a huge turnover turned the tide. The Huskies were driving, down 21-10, when OSU cornerback Dennis Weathersby picked off a Pickett pass and returned it 73 yards to set up another Beaver touchdown. Pickett finished 13-for-32 for 160 yards and Taylor Barton mopped up, going 4-for-9 for 33 yards and one touchdown

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 played OSU last week and get the Cougars this week. 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 85 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 55-27-4. Combined, Washington has a 171-87-15 (.654) record against its northwest rivals.

Both Teams Ranked: This week's Apple Cup will mark only the fifth time in history that both the Huskies and Cougars have been ranked in the Associated Press poll at the time of the game. The first such meeting came back in 1936, when the No. 6 Huskies routed No. 20 WSU, 40-0, at Husky Stadium. It wouldn't be until 1972 when both teams were ranked again. That year, the 17th-ranked Huskies traveled to Pullman and lost to No. 20 WSU, 27-10. In 1981, the last time that a conference title was on the line for both teams, No. 17 UW beat the Cougars, ranked No. 14, 23-10 at Husky Stadium. Finally, the fourth and most recent such meeting was in 1997, when the No. 11 Cougars earned a trip to the Rose Bowl with a 41-35 win over No. 17 Washington, at Husky Stadium. To summarize, when both teams are ranked, the Huskies and Cougars have both gone 2-2. When the Huskies are ranked and WSU is not, Washington is 14-4. In games in which WSU is ranked and the Huskies aren't, WSU is 0-1-1 (a 0-0 tie in 1942 and a 27-25 loss in 1951).

Passing Fancy: Washington is currently averaging 278.8 passing yards per game, which, if it holds up would break the old school of 272.1 (1970) by more than six 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, more than 80 fewer than this season.

Turnovers No Problem: Washington has turned the ball over 17 times in nine games this season. However, opponents have managed to convert only five of those 17 turnovers into points, scoring five touchdowns and no field goals for a total of 35 points off of turnovers. The Huskies have done only slightly better than their opposition, converting 18 turnovers into seven TDs and two field goals, good for 55 points.

One Remaining Streak: Washington had its 12-game winning streak broken in its loss at UCLA. That streak was, going into that game, the third longest in the nation. Coach Rick Neuheisel's 12-game win streak was also the second-longest among Division I-A coaches and the Huskies' nine straight wins in conference had marked the longest in the conference. The Huskies still have one winning streak alive: the Huskies have won 13 consecutive home games, dating back to a loss to Arizona State in 1999. The Huskies' home win streak is the Pac-10 longest.

Almost Fumble Free: Husky running backs went through the first seven games of this season without losing a fumble. When Rich Alexis lost a fumble to Stanford, it marked the first (and still only) time this year that that had happened. It's a stat that may very well have to be attributed to first-year running backs coach Tony Alford. Last year at Iowa State, where Alford coached the backs, the Cyclones did not have a running back lose a fumble all season.

Last Year vs. WSU: Washington's widest margin of victory of the season came in the last game of the regular season as the Huskies beat Washington State, 51-3, in the widest margin of victory in Apple Cup history. Marques Tuiasosopo threw first-quarter TD passes to Wilbur Hooks and Justin Robbins to take a 13-0 lead after one period. In the second quarter, Pat Conniff rushed for a six-yard score and Tuiasosopo hit Robbins with a 35-yard pass to send the Huskies to the locker room with a 27-0 edge. That lead increased to 37-0 on a John Anderson field goal and a Rich Alexis run before the Cougars got a field goal from Drew Dunning late in the third quarter to account for their only score. Alexis rushed for 134 yards and Braxton Cleman got 105 as the Huskies compiled a total of 336 rushing yards to the cougar's 88. Dave Minnich ran for 113 yards for the Cougars, but was the only WSU runner with positive yardage. The win, combined with Oregon State's win over Oregon, propelled the Huskies into the Rose Bowl.

Winning the Close Ones: In 32 games under coach Rick Neuheisel, the winning margin (for either side) has been seven points or fewer 19 times. In those 19 games decided by a touchdown or less, Washington is 15-4 and has won 10 straight.

The Shutout Streak: Washington's game at Oregon State marked the 237th consecutive game in which Washington has not been shut out. That's the best streak among Pac-10 schools. BYU has the nation's longest streak at 332 games (NCAA record), while Texas is second with 247 games. The last opponent to hold the Huskies scoreless was UCLA (31-0) on Nov. 7, 1981. Washington has played 159 Pac-10 games since then without a shutout -- the second best current streak among Pac-10 schools.

Fourth-Quarter Comebacks: Under Rick Neuheisel, Washington has had to come from behind in 19 of its 25 wins. That total includes eight such wins last year (all but Miami, WSU and Purdue). Of those 19 come-from-behind wins, Washington has trailed in the fourth quarter and won 13 times, including five of seven wins this year. In last year's Arizona win, the Huskies took the lead in the fourth, then gave it up again before taking it back for good on their last drive.

'Special' Indeed: Washington's special teams appear in the NCAA Division I-A rankings in a number of places. The Huskies are sixth in the nation in punt returns with their 13.94-yard average and 13th in kick returns (24.19) and have three individuals in the top 20 in different categories: Charles Frederick (3rd in punt returns with 15.58-yard average), Roc Alexander (9th in kick returns with 29.20-yard average), and John Anderson (20th in field goals with 1.33 per game).

Top 20 Streak: The Huskies, who opened the 2000 season ranked No. 14 in the nation, hadn't been ranked out of the Associated Press' top 20 since the end of the 1999 season. This week's game vs. Washington State will mark the 21st straight game that the Huskies have entered ranked in the top 20. Washington has been ranked in the top 10 heading into nine of those games, including eight during the 2000 season.

The 100-Yard Factor: Since the 1947 season, Washington is 153-34-3 (.813) when a Husky player rushes for 100 yards in a game. Last year, the Huskies had four games with a 100-yard rusher. This season, Willie Hurst has passed the century mark three times in Husky wins.

History Lesson: Successfully rushing the football and winning go hand-in-hand for the Huskies. Since 1990, Washington has rushed for 200 yards in a game 56 times. The Huskies' record stands at 51-4-1 (.920) in those contests. Since the 1995 season, Washington is 26-1-1 (.946) when rushing for 200 yards.

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.

Historic Husky Stadium: The 2001 season marks the 82nd season of play in Husky Stadium. Original construction on the facility was completed in 1920 when Washington played one game in the new campus facility. Thanks to several major renovations, Husky Stadium's seating capacity has increased to its current total of 72,500. That makes Husky Stadium the 24th-largest college football venue in the nation. It is the 20th-largest on-campus facility in the country. UW's all-time record in Husky Stadium currently stands at 326-133-21.

Dialing Long Distance: Washington has shown a penchant for big plays in 2001, with 16 pass completions of 30 yards or more through the first nine games of the season. By comparison, the Huskies only had 11 such plays in all of the 2000 season in a total of 12 games. Six of the Huskies' long passes have come on the arm of quarterback Taylor Barton while 10 have been from Cody Pickett. Freshman wide receiver Reggie Williams has been on the receiving end of six such passes, including a 74-yarder against Michigan. Paul Arnold has caught five long passes, while Patrick Reddick has three and Willie Hurst and Todd Elstrom one each. Ironically, only five of UW's 16 30-yard passes this season have gone for touchdowns, including three long scores by Arnold.

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 25 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 25-for-57 (.439) ... junior kicker John Anderson has connected on nine of his 12 career field-goal attempts in the month of November, going 6-for-7 from 40 or more yards out.

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