UW Heads To No. 1 Miami For Season Finale
Nov. 19, 2001
The Game: The Washington football team (8-2 overall, 6-2 in the Pac-10), ranked No. 12 in this week's Associated Press rankings and also in the ESPN/USA Today coaches' poll, takes on Miami (Fla.) (9-0) at the Orange Bowl, Saturday, Nov. 24, at 8:00 p.m. EST (5:00 p.m. PST). The Hurricanes are ranked No. 1 in both polls. The game was originally set for Sept. 15, but was re-scheduled due to the Sept. 11 incidents. The game will mark the first time since 1948 that Washington has finished a regular season against a team other than Washington State. The Huskies still don't know their bowl plans. A win over Miami could vault the Huskies into a BCS at-large berth, and the outcome of the Oregon State-Oregon game on Dec. 1 could also figure in.
Finishing First or Second: Washington can finish no lower than in a tie for second place in this year's final Pac-10 standings. The Huskies could earn a share of the Pac-10 championship if Oregon State beats Oregon on Dec. 1. If that happens, Washington would tie with Oregon, Stanford and Washington State. Washington has become a regular fixture at or near the top of the Pac-10 standings over the last quarter of a century as the Huskies have finished either first or second (including ties) in 18 of the last 25 seasons, dating back to a fourth-place finish in 1976. Over that span, Washington has won the championship (outright or shared) eight times -- 1977, 1980, 1981, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1995 and 2000 -- while finishing second nine other times. This year will mark either the Huskies' ninth championship during that time, or its 10th second-place finish.
The Series: Washington has played Miami only twice, winning both contests. The series between the two teams was begun after they split the 1991 national championship. That off-season, a deal was struck to play four games, though the 1998 game at Husky Stadium was changed. In the first meeting (1994), one of the UW's most historic wins in recent history, the Huskies went to the Orange Bowl and broke Miami's NCAA-record 58-game home win streak with a 38-20 victory. Miami took a 14-3 lead in the game before UW fullback Richard Thomas took a screen pass 75 yards for a TD. Shortly thereafter, Russell Hairston returned a Frank Costa interception 34 yards for a score and Bob Sapp recovered a Miami fumble in the endzone to put the Dawgs ahead, 25-15. In that game, Napoleon Kaufman surpassed Joe Steele as the UW's top career rusher. Last year, the 15th-ranked Huskies took on No. 4 Miami in the second game of the season for both teams. The Dawgs jumped to a 21-3 halftime lead, thanks to touchdown runs by tailback Braxton Cleman and quarterback Marques Tuiasosopo, and a 23-yard scoring pass from Tuiasosopo to tight end Jerramy Stevens. Miami's Reggie Wayne opened the second half with a TD catch from Ken Dorsey, but UW freshman tailback Rich Alexis broke a 50-yard run for a score, the first of his career. Two UM scores closed the gap to 27-22 before fullback Pat Conniff scored for Washington. However, Tuiasosopo threw two late interceptions to keep the game in doubt. The first led to a one-yard James Jackson run, but after the second, Dorsey was unable to complete any of his last -gasp attempts as the UW hung on for a 34-29 victory.
Memorials: The Washington football players are wearing several commerative or memorial insignia on their uniforms this season. The Huskies are wearing a black patch on their jersey. That patch is in memory of the 16 Husky fans that lost their lives in a plane crash in Mexico on Sept. 12, 2001. Those fans were on a side-trip of a Husky fan cruise to the Miami game. On the helmet, the Huskies wear a 'CW' sticker, in tribute to former safety Curtis Williams, who last season suffered a spinal cord injury that has left him paralyzed from the neck down. Lastly, like all Division I football teams in America, Washington is wearing an American flag on the helmet to remember the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks.
Television: The Washington-Miami game will air to a split-national audience on ABC-TV with Brad Nessler (play-by-play), Bob Griese (color) and Lynn Swann (sidelines) calling the action. The game will also air on tape-delay Sunday on Fox Sports Northwest at 3:00 p.m. with Tod Pickett (play-by-play) and Husky Hall of Fame quarterback Sonny Sixkiller (color) providing the commentary.
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 game will also air on the Pacific West Sports network with Larry Kahn calling the action.
Washington-Miami Ties: Seeing as Washington and Miami are farther apart from one another than any two Division I-A schools in the continental United States (officially 3,303 miles), it's no surprise that there aren't many ties between the two teams and their coaching staffs. The Huskies, of course, have three Floridians on their roster -- kicker John Anderson, tailback Rich Alexis and receiver Charles Frederick -- all from Pope John Paul II High School, located about an hour's drive north of Miami in Boca Raton, Fla. The Miami roster doesn't include any Washingtonians, but LB D.J. Williams went to powerful De La Salle High in Concord, Calif., same as Husky freshman tackle Robin Meadow. UM freshman Robert Bergman attended the same high school (Bakersfield, Calif.) as UW junior Elliott Zajac. As far as the coaching staffs go, Miami WR coach Curtis Johnson, a former player at Idaho, coached receivers under UW offensive coordinator Keith Gilbertson in 1987-88, when Gilbertson was the UI head coach and also coached one year under Gilbertson at California (1995). Also, longtime UW head coach Don James played quarterback for the 'Canes (1952-53), setting five school passing records (all since broken) before graduating in 1954. James is a member of the Miami Hall of Fame.
Apple Cup Redux: Washington handed No. 9 Washington State a 26-14 defeat in last week's Apple Cup, marking the Huskies' fourth straight win in the series. True freshman receiver Reggie Williams set Apple Cup records with 11 receptions for 203 yards and quarterback Cody Pickett set a series record with 371 yards on 25-of-38 passing. Washington was helped by four WSU turnovers, including two on goal-to-go situations. The Cougars had first-and-goal three times without scoring, including a first-quarter goal-line stand when Washington kept Cougar tailback Dave Minnich out of the endzone on fourth down from inside the one. With the game tied at 7-7 near the end of the first half, Washington kicked a field goal, and then recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff with only one second left, setting up another FG. One minute and one second in the third quarter, the Huskies scored on a one-yard touchdown run by Willie Hurst after recovering a Cougar fumble and returning it to the one.
UW Against No. 1: Washington has played seven games against No. 1 teams, as ranked by the Associated Press. The Huskies have posted only a 1-5-1 record in such games, with the lone victory coming over top-ranked Minnesota in the 1961 Rose Bowl. The Huskies' first-ever game against a No. 1 team had to have been considered an upset as an unranked UW team travelled to Berkeley and held top-ranked California to a 0-0 tie. Of the seven No. 1 teams the Huskies have played, only the '60 Michigan team, the '67 USC team and the '72 USC team went on to win the AP national title, though the '37 Cal, '39 USC, and '69 Ohio State each won minor poll championships. Here are Washington's seven all-time games against No. 1-ranked (AP only) teams:
Nov. 6, 1937 at California T, 0-0Dec. 2, 1939 at USC L, 7-9Jan. 2, 1961 vs. Minnesota (Rose Bowl) W, 17-7Oct. 21, 1967 USC L, 6-23Oct. 19, 1968 at USC L, 7-14Sept. 27, 1969 Ohio State L, 14-41Oct. 21, 1972 at USC L, 7-34
Last Time vs. No. 1: No surprise that the last time that Washington played a No. 1 team, none of the currently Husky players had been born. In fact, Husky head coach Rick Neuheisel was only 11 years old on Oct. 21, 1972, when the UW fell to powerhouse No. 1 USC, 34-7. On the day of that UW-USC game, Richard Nixon was nearing the end of his first term as President and the Oakland A's won their first World Series championship. 'The Man of La Mancha' closed on Broadway while 'Pippin' opened. Rock band Creedence Clearwater Revival broke up and the NBA's Atlanta Hawks opened the Omni with a win over the Knicks. Chuck Berry's 'My Ding-a-ling' was the nation's No. 1 song, gasoline was 39 cents a gallon and minimum wage was $1.60 an hour.
Huskies vs. Ranked 'Canes: The Hurricanes have been ranked in the Associated Press top five prior to each of its games against Washington. In fact, the Huskies' two wins over Miami are their only two wins against top-five teams since winning a share of the 1991 national championship with a win over No. 4 Michigan in the Rose Bowl. Miami was ranked No. 5 when the Huskies beat them 38-20 in 1994. Last season, the Hurricanes came to Husky Stadium ranked fourth before falling, 34-29, to the UW. Since sharing the national title with Miami in 1991, the Huskies have played four games against top-five teams, winning both vs. Miami and losing to No. 2 Nebraska (1998), and No. 3 UCLA (also 1998). Since 1991, the Huskies have played a top-10 team 13 times and are 5-8 in such games, including wins over Stanford and Washington State this year.
Breaking the Streak: Washington's 1994 win at Miami (38-20) broke the Hurricane's 58-game home winning streak, still the longest in the history of Division I-A. A game prior, the 'Canes had broken the old record of 57, set by Alabama between 1963 and 1982. Miami had gone nine seasons (since 1985) since losing in the Orange Bowl before the Dawgs pulled out a win. Washington had a 44-game home winning streak (once the NCAA record) from 1908-16.
Don't Forget the Orange Bowl: Washington has actually had two big wins in the Orange Bowl Stadium. Aside from the streak-breaking win in 1994, the Huskies also handed Oklahoma a 28-17 loss in the 1985 Orange Bowl. That game featured the infamous 'Sooner Schooner' incident when Oklahoma was called for a 15-yard penalty when its mascot took the field to early after a field goal (on which another penalty had been called). The 20 yards in penalties pushed the field goal try back and Tim Peoples blocked it to keep the score tied at 14-14. After a successful field goal, the Huskies trailed 17-14 before Hugh Millen hit Mike Pattison with a 12-yard TD pass and Rick Fenney ran for a six-yard score, both in the fourth quarter, to secure the win.
Passing Fancy: Washington is currently averaging 288.0 passing yards per game, which, if it holds up would break the old school of 272.1 (1970) by nearly 16 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 90 fewer than this season.
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 at Miami will mark the 22nd 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.
Dialing Long Distance: Washington has shown a penchant for big plays in 2001, with 18 pass completions of 30 yards or more through the first 10 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 12 have been from Cody Pickett. Freshman wide receiver Reggie Williams has been on the receiving end of seven such passes, including a 74-yarder against Michigan. Paul Arnold has caught five long passes, while Patrick Reddick has three, Todd Elstrom two and Willie Hurst one . Ironically, only five of UW's 18 30-yard passes this season have gone for touchdowns, including three long scores by Arnold.
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 10games, Pickett has completed 155-of-272 (.570) of his passes for 2,246 yards. He has nine TD passes and eight interceptions. He has single-game passing yardages of 455 (Arizona), 371 (WSU), 291 (California) and 291 again (Stanford). Against USC, Pickett suffered a separated shoulder and missed all but one series of the second half.
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 37 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 ... junior kicker John Anderson has connected on 11 of his 15 career field-goal attempts in the month of November, going 6-for-7 from 40 or more yards out ... with 11 catches for 203 yards, freshman receiver Reggie Williams set new records for the UW-WSU series last week ... he also became the first Husky since 1989 to catch passes for 200 or more yards, the first since Andre Riley amassed 223 vs. Arizona State on Nov. 4, 1989 ... Williams' 11 catches were second-most in Husky history and his 203 yards were fourth ... both numbers were tops by a Pac-10 player this season.