Sun Devils Return To Husky Stadium
Oct. 27, 2006
SEATTLE (AP) - Defensive back Dashon Goldson was in the Washington film room, getting an early jump on scouting Arizona State when Todd Turner came strolling by for a look.
Even the Huskies athletic director knows Saturday's matchup between the Huskies and Sun Devils is critical for each school's bowl hopes.
'It's extremely vital, but I'd say that no matter who we'replaying. They're all vital this time of year,' Arizona State coachDirk Koetter said. 'There is a bunch of teams sitting there withfour wins. They'll be fighting for conference positioning and forgetting to six wins.'
Tickets to Saturday's game against Arizona State or the season finale on Nov. 11 against Stanford are available by calling 206/543-2200.
For the Huskies, sitting at 4-1 a month ago, six wins lookedeasy. That was before excruciating road losses at Pac-10 Conferencepowers USC and California, sandwiching a disappointing 27-17 lossat home to Oregon State in a game where quarterback Isaiah Stanbackwas lost for the season with a foot injury.
Now, Washington is 4-4 (2-3 conference) and needing a split inits final four games to become bowl eligible for the first timesince 2003.
'Everybody has to keep their focus and everyone has to do whatthey did in the first few games,' Goldson said. 'It's important.We're coming off three straight losses.'
Since being routed by Cal and Oregon late last month, the SunDevils (4-3, 1-3) have rebounded well, playing USC close on theroad before routing Stanford 38-3 last Saturday. Thanks to a quirkin Pac-10 scheduling, Arizona State will be playing in Seattle forthe first time since 1999.
Most notable for the Sun Devils is the recent improved play ofsophomore quarterback Rudy Carpenter. Against Cal and Oregon,Carpenter threw five interceptions and completed just 40 percent ofhis passes -- the two worst performances of his young career.
Carpenter was efficient against the Trojans, then picked apartthe Stanford secondary last week. Carpenter missed on just onepass, completing 14-of-15 throws against the Cardinal, includinghis 13th TD pass of the season. Now, he gets to face a similarHuskies defense that he picked apart for 401 yards and threetouchdowns in his first career start last year.
'To be honest with you, I was so nervous in the hotel. I wasnervous the whole week. I was scared, I didn't know what to do withmyself,' Carpenter said about his first start last year. 'It wasa great game. I'll always remember that.'
Carpenter's been helped by the emergence of running back RyanTorain, who is fifth in the conference in rushing. The talent ofthe 6-foot, 216-pound junior is creating a change in Koetter'soffensive attack. He's known as a coach who likes to throw theball, but the Sun Devils' offense is now taking a running tone.
Arizona State has run 262 times versus just 186 passes thisseason.
'It's different for me. The last five years here plus the threeI was coach at Boise State we were definitely a pass first team,'Koetter said. 'But you have to build it around the team youhave.'
Washington's concern is avoiding the letdown that happenedagainst Oregon State. The Huskies stayed with USC down to the finalsnap, then played lethargic and lackluster, getting dominated bythe then-struggling Beavers.
A similar scenario has played out again.
With Carl Bonnell starting his first game in two years, theHuskies took Cal to overtime when Marlon Wood caught a deflectedpass for a 40-yard touchdown on the final play of regulation. Inthe extra session, Cal's Marshawn Lynch scored on a 22-yard run,and then Bonnell threw his fifth interception to clinch the Bears'victory.
Coach Tyrone Willingham said he was made aware -- by the media --of the Huskies' tendency to play up to highly regarded opponentsand play down to lesser foes. Trying to avoid any letdown,Willingham addressed his players the day after the Cal loss.
'He said, the main thing to do is if you know your history, youshouldn't repeat it,' offensive guard Stanley Daniels said. 'Weknow we're not going to underestimate anybody.'