Cougars Head South to Face Arizona State
Nov. 10, 2008
PULLMAN, Wash. -
at Arizona State Sun Devils (3-6, 2-4)
November 15 - Sun Devil Stadium
2:30 p.m. (PT)
SATURDAY'S MATCHUP: In the 35th meeting all-time between the two schools, the Washington State Cougars (1-9, 0-7 Pac-10) look to post their first conference win as they face the Arizona State Sun Devils (3-6, 2-4) in Tempe, Saturday at 2:30 p.m. (PT). For the third straight week the Cougars will not be on live television after the first eight contests were shown live either locally or regionally.
WSU-ASU SERIES: Arizona State leads the all-time series by a 20-12-2 margin, including a 12-5-2 advantage when playing in Tempe. The Cougars have dropped the last four meetings in the series after winning the previous three. Last year Thomas Weber kicked a 37-yard field goal with less than one minute remaining to lift ASU to a 23-20 win, a game in which WSU recorded seven sacks. The last time these two teams met in Tempe, ASU came away with a 47-14 win in 2006. WSU's last win in Tempe occured in 2001, a 28-16 victory. This week's game also marks the third straight season the Cougars have faced ASU the week after playing Arizona, and WSU is 0-5 against the Arizona schools in that span.
FIRST STARTS: Through 10 weeks of the 2008 season, 26 WSU players have registered their first collegiate start, 17 on offense and nine on defense. WSU had six offensive players and three defensive players starting for the first time in the opener and since then have had a first-time starter in seven of the following nine weeks. Most recently against Arizona redshirt freshman running back Logwone Mitz as and redshirt sophomore defensive tackle Toby Turbin made their collegiate starting debuts. The first-time starters includes four players on the offensive line, all underclassmen, which has used six different starting units in the first 10 games...the 26 players include punter Dan Wagner and kickers Wade Penner and Nico Grasu.
SCORING DROUGHT ENDS: Dwight Tardy's 18-yard touchdown run in the first quarter against Arizona snapped a 10-quarter scorless streak for WSU dating back to the Oregon State game (Oct. 11). The Cougars added 21 more points in the contest, its second-highest scoring output this season.
LEVENSELLER MAKES NUMBER FIVE: True freshman quarterback J.T. Levenseller saw his first action of the season against Stanford, playing three series and completing 2 of 4 passes for 20 yards. Levenseller is the fifth Cougar quarterback to go under center this season, joining Gary Rogers, Kevin Lopina, Marshall Lobbestael and Dan Wagner. Rogers and Lobbestael have been lost to season-ending injuries while Lopina missed three games after suffering a fracture of the L-4 transverse process of his vertebrae against Portland State.
HANNAM NAMED ALL-ACADEMIC DISTRICT VIII: Washington State University sophomore offensive lineman Micah Hannam has been named to the ESPN The Magazine/CoSIDA Academic All-District VIII First Team. It marks the second straight season Hannam was named to the squad, last year earning second-team honors. Hannam carries a 3.57 grade point average while majoring in civil engineering.
SCORING STREAK ENDS: Following their loss to USC, the Cougars saw their 280-game scoring streak also come to an end. WSU held the nation's second-longest active scoring streak, dating back to early in the 1984 season, before being held scorless against the Trojans Oct. 18. WSU's streak marks the fourth-longest in NCAA Division I history, trailing only BYU (361), Michigan (296, active) and Texas (282). WSU also saw its conference-leading scoring streak end at 258 games as well as its 203-game Martin Stadium scoring streak.
TRENT REACHES 300: Senior linebacker Greg Trent had 10 tackles against Arizona and has a team-best 65 total tackles for the 2008 season. With his final tackle against the Wildcats, Trent became the 10th player in WSU history to record 300 tackles in a career. A four-year starter with 34 consecutive starts, Trent is two tackles shy of Ron Childs (1991-94) in ninth place.
APPLE CUP ON FSN: Next week's Apple Cup will be televised by FSN with a noon start time from Martin Stadium. It will mark the 101st meeting between Washington State and Washington, with the Cougars having won three of the last four meetings.
INJURY BUG HITS COUGARS: Through 10 games of the 2008 season, the Cougars have not been able to avoid the injury bug on either side of the ball. 25 of WSU's 45 players to start a game in 2008 have combined to miss 53 games this season due to injuries. That includes an injury-riddled offensive line, which has used six different lineups, and eight different starting players, through the 10 games. WSU has also used three different starting quarterbacks, four running backs, five cornernbacks and two punters.
ARIZONA NOTABLES: Sophomore defensive tackle Toby Turpin and redshirt freshman running back Logwone Mitz each made their first career starts against Arizona...running back Dwight Tardy's 18-yard first quarter touchdown run ended a scoring drought that lasted a total of 159-minutes, 18 seconds of game time...the touchdown gave the Cougars their first lead of the season against a Pacific-10 Conference school...WSU's first quarter touchdown were the first points off of a turnover since Louis Bland's 16-yard interception return for a touchdown against Oregon State...Cougars added a touchdown after recovering a third quarter fumbled punt...WSU has now scored 37 points off turnovers this season...cornerback Romeo Pellum's first quarter interception was the first of his career...Pellum's 32-yard return was the longest by a Cougar this season...safety Chima Nwachukwu recorded 13 tackles against Arizona to tie his career high...first double-digit tackling performance since he set a career high with 13 tackles against USC in 2007...Pellum also recorded 10 tackles for the second time in his career to tie his career high...Logwone Mitz's 42-yard run at the end of the first quarter was the longest rush by a Cougar in 2008...quarterback Kevin Lopina's four-yard second quarter touchdown and six-yard fourth quarter score were his second and third rushing touchdowns of the season, respectively...Lopina is the first Cougar quarterback to rush for two touchdowns in a single game since Ryan Leaf did it against Washington in 1995...WSU's four rushing touchdowns were the most since the second game of the 2006 season (Idaho)...defensive tackle A'i Ahmu's third quarter sack was the first by a Cougar since Kendrick Dunn recorded a sack against Oregon earlier this season.
THOMPSON-LEVENSELLER CONNECTION, PART II: Freshman quarterback J.T. Levenseller's first pass completion of his career went to tight end Tony Thompson in the second quarter against Stanford. If the Thompson-Levenseller connection sounds familiar to Cougar fans, it should. Tony's father is legendary Cougar quarterback Jack Thompson while J.T.'s dad is Mike Levenseller, current WSU assistant coach and one of WSU's all-time best receivers. The original Thompson-Levenseller duo connected 97 times from 1975-77 and the pair remains close to this day, so much so that J.T., whose real name is Michael Jack Thomas Levenseller, was named after the elder Thompson.
WHO'S YOUR DRADDY: Senior offensive lineman Vaughn Lesuma was named a semifinalist for the Draddy Trophy, the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame recently announced...the Draddy Trophy recognizes the best and brightest in college football, as nominees must have at least a 3.2 GPA, must be a first team player or significant contributor and must demonstrate strong leadership and citizenship...former WSU quarterback Alex Brink was a finalist for the award in 2007.
YOUTH IS SERVED: While the Cougars have had a number of first-time starters this season (26), they have also had an abundant number of underclassmen starting. Through 10 games this season, the Cougars have started 22 different underclassmen, 13 on offense and nine on defense, including punters and kickers. Five true freshmen have seen action this season: wide receivers Jared Karstetter and Kevin Norrell, linebackers Mike Ledgerwood and Louis Bland and safety Tyree Toomer.