This Week In Cougar Football
Oct. 4, 2004
The Washington State Cougar football team begins preparation Monday for its Oct. 9 battle with the Oregon Ducks at 2 p.m. in Martin Stadium.
The Ducks, 1-3 overall and 0-1 in Pacific-10 Conference play, are coming off a loss to Arizona State last weekend, while the Cougars did not play. WSU's last action was two weeks ago at Arizona, where the Cougars squeezed out a 20-19 win in the last minute. WSU enters Saturday's game with a 3-1 mark and is 1-0 in league action.
Oregon is one of WSU's oldest rivals, with the first game played in 1901. Over the years the two teams have played 81 games, with each team winning 37. There have been seven ties. The Cougars have won the last two games between the two rivals, 55-16 last year in Eugene and 32-21 in Pullman two years ago.
Several players injured against Arizona are doubtful for the Oregon game, including tight ends Troy Bienemann (lower leg) and Cody Boyd (shoulder, out for a month) and wide receiver Marty Martin (shoulder). Defensive tackles Steve Cook (knee) and Ropati Pitoitua (ankle), both injured against Colorado, still have not returned to practice.
NEXT THREE WSU GAMES SOLD OUT: Dan Meyer, director of ticket operation and sales for the Cougars, said Monday WSU's next three games have been sold out. They include the Oct. 9 game with Oregon, WSU's Homecoming battle with Stanford Oct. 16, and the USC contest Oct. 30. Meyer said the only tickets not sold are for WSU students and a few tickets to the Apple Cup against Washington, which were made available to the public through on-line purchases only Monday, Oct. 4, at www.ticketswest.com.
BASLER EARNS SECOND PAC-10 AWARD: WSU punter Kyle Basler was named the Pacific-10 Conference Special Teams Player of the Week following his performance at Arizona...he also won the award following WSU's win at New Mexico...against the Wildcats, the Cougar junior punter set two school records, averaged 53.4 yards with seven punts, including an 87-yarder...Jason Hanson held the previous record with a 52.0 average in 1990 at Wyoming and Gavin Hedrick boomed an 83-yarder against California in 1975...Basler's 87-yarder is the second longest listed by the Pac-10 Conference.
LAST MINUTE WINS: Since 1986, WSU has been involved in seven games won or lost in the last minute and three have involved Arizona...four times since 1986 WSU has won in the last minute, twice over Arizona, while three have been losses, once to Arizona...five years ago in Pullman the Wildcats pulled out an improbable win when a last second 42-yard pass bounced off a receiver and a couple of defenders in the end zone and ended in the hands of Arizona's Bobby Wade with no time remaining as Arizona won 30-24...in 1992 kicker Aaron Price hit a 47-yard field goal with 31 seconds to play to give WSU a 23-20 win in Tucson.
ONE POINT DECISIONS: The Cougars have been involved in 36 football games since 1892 that were determined by one point, with 18 wins and 18 losses...prior to their 20-19 victories over Arizona, the Cougars' last one-point win was 32-31 over Washington in 1988...WSU has won 18 of their 28 one-point victories on the road and 10 either in Pullman or Spokane...WSU and Arizona have never played to a one-point decision prior to this year...of the 18 losses 13 have been on the road and 15 in Pullman or Spokane...Oregon State and Stanford have been victims of one-point WSU wins four times each, while Oregon State has downed the Cougars four times with one-point wins.
2004 CAPTAINS: WSU - QB Josh Swogger (9), OL Sam Lightbody (75), FS Hamza Abdullah (28), LB Will Derting (51), P Kyle Basler (8). OREGON: WR Keith Allen (8), FS J.D. Nelson (28), OL Robin Knebel (79), DE Devan Long (92).
DOBA'S TEAMS SHUT DOWN FOES: Bill Doba has been WSU's head coach for 17 games and he has won 13 times...in those 17 games, his Cougar teams have held the opponents without a TD in the first half nine times...in 2003 WSU blanked Idaho, Arizona and Stanford in the first half and held Notre Dame to a field goal, Oregon to a safety and UCLA to a pair of field goals...this year New Mexico didn't score until the third quarter, Colorado had one first half field goal, Idaho was shutout until the fourth quarter and Arizona had one first half touchdown.
COUG D-TACKLES: WSU has been forced to play the last 2.5 games without starting defensive tackles Steve Cook (knee) and Ropati Pitoitua (ankle)...freshman Aaron Johnson, who came to WSU as a tight end, and sophomore Odell Howard have filled in admirably, allowing just 258 rushing yards in the last three games, including just 80 by run-oriented Arizona.
COUG DEFENSE TOUGH: WSU's defense may be young, but the Cougars have proven able to hold their own in the first four games:
COUGS 5-1 AFTER A BYE: Since 2000, WSU is 5-1 in games played after a week off...in 2000, WSU beat Utah after a bye week, while in 2001 WSU defeated California...the lone loss was in 2002 when the Cougars lost to Washington...WSU also beat both Arizona and UCLA in 2002 after not playing the previous week...in 2003 WSU beat Stanford.
TOP DOESN'T MEAN WINS: If recent WSU games are an indication, winning the battle of the clock (time of possession) doesn't mean a win...the winning team in each of WSU's last five games and in eight of the last nine games did not win the TOP...in the last five games Arizona lost and led 34:29-25:21, Idaho lost and led 33:13-26:47, Colorado won and trailed 32:18-27:42, New Mexico lost and led 30:27-29:33 and Texas lost and led 39:19-20:41.
WINNING AT ARIZONA: WSU has gone to a bowl game after each of its last four wins at Arizona - 1981 Holiday Bowl, 1992 Copper Bowl, 2001 Sun Bowl, 2003 Rose Bowl.
FOURTH QUARTER COMEBACKS: Since 2001, WSU has recorded six come-from-behind wins in the fourth quarter...this year WSU trailed both New Mexico and Arizona in the final quarter and won...WSU beat Oregon State in 2003, Oregon and USC in 2002 and Stanford in 2001 after trailing in the fourth quarter of each game...the biggest comeback was against OSU when WSU trailed 28-16 and won 36-30...WSU also beat California 48-38 in 2002 after breaking a 38-38 tie in the fourth quarter.
COUGS 33-9 THE LAST FOUR SEASONS: Since 2001, WSU has won 33 of 42 games and is tied for eighth among D-I teams the past three years: Miami 39-3, Oklahoma 39-6, Boise State 38-6, Texas 36-7, Georgia 36-8, Ohio State 35-8, Maryland 34-9, WSU 33-9 , USC 33-9, LSU 34-11, Tennessee 32-11 and Michigan 32-11.
COUGS LEAD PAC-10 LAST FOUR YEARS: The WSU Cougars boast the best record among Pacific-10 Conference schools over the past four years...both WSU and USC are 33-9 overall and 20-5 in league play.
NO PICKS FOR SWOGGER: Josh Swogger has not thrown an interception since the fourth quarter of the New Mexico opener...he has, completed 36 of his last 84 passes for 555 yards, six touchdowns and no interceptions.
SWOGGER GOES DISTANCE FOUR TIMES: Josh Swogger threw four TD passes in the first half against Idaho, the first time a Cougar QB had done that since Jason Gesser had four scoring passes against Utah in 2002...it was the 19th time a WSU QB had four TD passes in a game.
HILL TIES RECORD: Sophomore Jason Hill is WSU's hot receiver...in his last three games he has 13 receptions for 385 yards and six touchdowns...he caught six passes for 206 yards against Colorado, the seventh best game on WSU's all-time list of reception yards...he caught three passes against Idaho, all for touchdowns, including a 76-yarder...he caught four passes at Arizona, the last two for crucial fourth-quarter touchdowns....his two-game total of 311 receiving yards was the most in back-to-back games since Nakoa McElrath had 373 against Boise State and California in 2001.
WSU SCORING STREAK FOURTH: Here are the longest current scoring streaks among NCAA Div. I teams: Texas 282, Washington 269, Michigan 243, WSU 231.
NOTHING LIKE HOME: WSU performs better at home than on the road, as do most schools:
PENALTIES DOWN: Through four games, WSU has 27 (6.8) penalties for 218 (54.5) yards, including just one against Idaho...the last time WSU had one penalty was 1986 against Arizona...opponents have 29 (7.3) penalties for 220 (55.0) yards this year...last year WSU averaged 11.5 penalties per game and 94.6 yards per game.
WSU WINS IN MT. TIME ZONE: WSU has now won eight straight games in the Mountain Time Zone, following its 20-19 victory over Arizona in Tucson.
WSU JUMPS TO EARLY LEADS: WSU has outscored opponents this year 21-3 in the first quarter and 17-7 in the second quarter, resulting in a 38-10 advantage in the first half...Colorado, with an early field goal, is the only team to score first on WSU this season...Arizona, with a second quarter TD, is the only team to dent WSU's end zone in the first half...in 2003 WSU outscored opponents 123-25 in the first quarter and 218-104 in the first half...WSU held a 95-79 second quarter scoring advantage, a 84-67 lead in the third quarter and 92-83 in the fourth quarter...the only first quarter points allowed by the Cougs in 2003 were touchdowns by Colorado, Oregon State (interception return) and ASU, a safety by Oregon, and a field goal by USC.
COUGS LIMIT THIRD DOWNS: WSU is continuing to be tough on third down plays by the opponents...so far through four games opponents have made 20-of-68 third down conversions...last year WSU foes converted 25.1% of their third down opportunities, including just 16.3% in the first quarter and 20.7% in the first half.
WSU NATIONAL LEADER IN TAKEAWAYS: WSU led the nation in 2003 in forced turnovers with 48, just ahead of Nebraska's 47 and 42 by USC...the Cougars also led the nation with 24 fumble recoveries and the team's 24 interceptions ranked second nationally to Nebraska's 32...this year WSU has picked off five passes and recovered eight opponent fumbles.
WHEN DEFENSE SCORES, WSU WINS: WSU has won 16 of its last 17 regular season games when the defense or special team units score...the exception was in 2003 at Notre Dame when the defense scored and WSU lost.
MULTIPLE RECEIVERS: The Cougars like to use numerous receivers...eight players caught passes against Arizona, seven had receptions against New Mexico and Idaho and six caught passes against Colorado ...last year at least seven WSU players caught passes in each of the Cougars' first nine games and in 10 of the 13 games.
BLOCK THOSE KICKS: WSU has nine blocked kicks in two years, five placement kicks and four punts:
COUG TD STREAK: WSU quarterbacks threw touchdown passes in 40 of its last 42 games, every game during the 2001 (12) and 2002 (13) seasons and in 11 of 13 games in 2003, plus all four games this year:
STREAKING COUGARS: WSU has won seven of its last nine and 11 of its last 14 Pac-10 road games, seven of its last eight Pac-10 games in California, 11 of its last 12 games against California schools and eight of its last 10 league games...WSU closed out the end of the 2000 season with a win at USC...in 2001 the Cougars defeated Arizona, Stanford and ASU on the road before a loss at Washington, while in 2002 WSU defeated California, Stanford, Arizona and UCLA in Pac-10 action...in 2003 WSU won at Oregon and Stanford and lost at USC and Washington.
COUGS BOASTED STARTING EXPERIENCE: This year, while many of the Cougars have been on the field, few have significant starting experience...there are 143 starts among the offensive players and combined they have played in 329 games...on the defensive side there are 87 starts among the starters and they have combined to play in 329 games.
COUGS AMONG SACK LEADERS: The Cougars started the season at New Mexico with three sacks and had two more against Colorado, then three against Idaho and two at Arizona...last year WSU finished the regular season with 50 sacks, second to USC's 55 in the Pac-10...WSU had seven sacks against both Oregon State and Texas last year marking the sixth time in the past two years the Cougar defense has recorded six or more sacks in a game...the Cougars recorded a sack in 22 straight games between 2001 and the Arizona game in 2003.
FEW FIRST QUARTER TDs: WSU has not allowed a first quarter touchdown in 14 of the last 17 games (since the start of the 2003 season)...the only teams with TDs in the first quarter are Colorado, Oregon State and Arizona State last year...the streak is currently at five games.