Conference Opener Pits Huskies Vs. No. 3 USC
Sept. 14, 2009
THE GAME: Washington's rugged, season-opening, three-game homestand continues this Saturday as third-ranked USC comes to Seattle for a 12:30 p.m. Saturday at Husky Stadium. The game will air to a regional audience on ABC television. The Huskies (1-1) have lost (31-23) to LSU and won vs. Idaho (42-23) in their first two games of the season while the Trojans have beaten San Jose State (56-3) at home and Ohio State (18-15) on the road in their two games. First-year UW head coach Steve Sarkisian, of course, came to Montlake after having spent seven of the last eight seasons on Pete Carroll's staff at USC, helping Carroll and the Trojans to six Pac-10 titles in those seven seasons.
GAME THEMES: Obviously, much will be made this week of the mentor/pupil matchup between USC head coach Pete Carroll and Husky head man Steve Sarkisian, who spent seven seasons with the Trojans in various roles: as an offensive assistant, quarterbacks coach, offensive coordinator and eventually assistant head coach ... Sarkisian brought USC defensive coordinator Nick Holt with him, but those are the only two football coaches who were on USC's staff last year and UW's this year ... Husky CBs coach Demetrice Martin was a grad assistant at USC for two years, but spent the 2008 season at Mt. San Antonio College ... also coming to Seattle from USC were head strength coach Ivan Lewis, assistant AD and director of football operations Dennis Slutak and director of player personnel Jared Blank ... other notes: Washington easily leads the Pac-10 in third-down efficiency with a 66.7 percent rate (22 of 33) ... the Huskies are also atop the Pac-10 in passing offense, and quarterback Jake Locker leads the league in both total offense and passing yards per game ... freshman WR James Johnson is the first true freshman wideout in UW history to score a TD in each of the first two games of his freshman year.
TELEVISION: The Washington-USC game will air live to a regional audience on ABC television with Terry Gannon and David Norrie providing the commentary. You can also watch the game on ESPN360.com. Additionally, 'Huskies All-Access' airs each Wednesday evening on FSN. The program is an up-close look at each Husky game, with features, one-on-one interviews and sideline video.
RADIO: The Washington ISP Sports Network, with its flagship station KJR 950-AM, will carry the live broadcast of every football game on 15 Northwest radio stations. Longtime play-by-play man Bob Rondeau and color analyst Chuck Nelson are joined by sideline reporter Elise Woodward. Many game broadcasts will also be carried on XM Satellite Radio on channel 193, 194 or 195 and can be heard over the internet via the Dawg Channel at gohuskies.com.
HUSKIES vs. TROJANS HISTORY: Washington and USC have played one another 79 times since the series began in 1923. The Trojans hold a 49-26-4 series advantage, although the Huskies have gone a closer 7-9-1 over the last 17. Washington won its first-ever meeting against the Trojans, beating USC, 22-0, in Seattle in 1923. When the series re-started in 1927, USC handed the Huskies six straight defeats before Washington reeled off five in a row. The longest streak either way in the series began in 1965, when the Trojans beat Washington for the first time of 10 straight wins. The Huskies are 16-19-4 in the 39 games played in Husky Stadium and 10-29-0 against the Trojans in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Last season, USC blanked the Dawgs, 56-0, as then-coordinator Steve Sarkisian's offense racked up 488 yards while then USC defensive coordinator Nick Holt held the Huskies off the scoreboard. Two seasons ago, the No. 1 Trojans escaped Seattle with a 27-24 win, the second of two straight close matchups. USC overcame three turnovers and 16 penalties. USC out-gained Washington with 460 yards of total offense to the Huskies' 190, but only won the game by three points. In 2006 in L.A., the Huskies dropped a 26-20 heartbreaker to the No. 3 Trojans as time ran out with the Huskies' on the Trojans' 15-yard line. The year before in Seattle, the No. 1 Trojans used a 23-point second quarter to break open a previously close game in a 51-24 win. In 2004, the top-ranked Trojans handed the UW a 38-0 loss, breaking the Huskies' 271-game scoring streak, the longest in Division I-A at the time. The most recent Husky win over the Trojans came in 2001, when Husky kicker John Anderson booted a 32-yard field goal with no time remaining for a 27-24 Husky victory. In that game, backup QB Taylor Barton came on in place of injured starter Cody Pickett to lead the visitors to the win. Ninth-year USC coach Pete Carroll is 7-1 as the Trojan's head man vs. Washington.
WASHINGTON-USC TIES: Washington's coaching staff ties to USC are obvious as Husky head coach Steve Sarkisian was hired away from the Trojans, where he spent seven of the last eight season (all but 2004). Washington also hired defensive coordinator Nick Holt from Pete Carroll's USC staff and Husky cornerbacks coach Demetrice Martin was a former staff member under Carroll at USC. Finally, Husky head strength coach Ivan Lewis, director of football operations Dennis Slutak and director of player personnel Jared Blank all worked for the Trojans before being hired by Sarkisian. As far as players go, long snapper Danny Morovick's father, Dan, played at USC in the late `70s. Conversely, `SC safety Taylor Mays, from Seattle's O'Dea High, is the son of former Husky defensive lineman Stafford Mays, who lettered in 1978 and 1979. Mays is the only player on the USC roster from the state of Washington, and he went to the same high school (O'Dea) as five current Huskies: Johri Fogerson, Ben Hayes, Daniel Kanczugowski, Quinton Richardson and Fred Wiggs. As is the case each year, a good deal of UW and USC players have played with or against one another in high school due to the number of Huskies from the L.A. area. The Huskies roster includes 29 players from (loosely-defined) southern California: OL Mark Armelin (Canoga Park), TE Marlion Barnett (Corona), WR Anthony Boyles (Compton), C Greg Christine (Camarillo), DE Talia Crichton (Lakewood), DL Tyrone Duncan (Westlake Village), OL Skyler Fancher (Costa Mesa), PK Erik Folk (Woodland Hills), QB Ronnie Fouch (Redlands), LB Joshua Gage (Huntington Beach), WR D'Andre Goodwin (Pacoima), LB Matt Houston (Goleta), WR James Johnson (Valley Center), LB Darrion Jones (Lynwood), CB Adam Long (Los Angeles), P Will Mahan (Bakersfield), LS Danny Morovick (Mission Viejo), OG Craig Noble (Los Angeles), OT Ben Ossai (Bakersfield), CB Marquis Persley (Redlands), TB Chris Polk (Redlands), QB Keith Price (Compton), DL Chris Robinson (Tustin), OT Morgan Rosborough (Long Beach), S Will Shamburger (Compton), LB Tim Tucker (Harbor City), S Greg Walker (Bellflower), FS Jason Wells (LaVerne) and OG Nick Wood (Poway).
vs. LOS ANGELES SCHOOLS: Washington has a combined record of 55-86-6 (.395) against the two Pac-10 schools from Los Angeles: 29-37-2 vs. UCLA and 26-49-4 against USC. While that combined record may not sound that successful, it's worth noting that no team in the Pac-10 has a winning record against either one of the two L.A. schools (other than USC's record vs. UCLA). In fact, Washington has more wins against the Trojans and Bruins (combined) than every conference school except Cal (58-110-6 (.351) combined record), and has a better winning percentage against the two than every team in the league. The next closest is Arizona State, which has totaled a combined mark of 18-31-1 (.370) against the Bruins and Trojans.
FACING HIS FORMER TEAM: Steve Sarkisian will be the third Husky head coach in the last four to face the team he coached the previous year in his first season at UW this Saturday when USC comes to town. Tyrone Willingham lost to Notre Dame, 36-17, in 2005, his first year here. Rick Neuheisel beat Colorado, 31-24, in 1999, his first campaign with the Huskies. Additionally, former UW head man Keith Gilbertson faced both Idaho (a win) and California (a loss) in 2003. He'd been head coach at both places, though not in the season prior to 2003.
CAPTAINS: At the 'Raise the Woof!' kickoff celebration held on Aug. 28, the four captains for the 2009 season, as voted by their teammates, were revealed. They are senior LB Donald Butler (Sacramento, Calif.), junior QB Jake Locker (Ferndale, Wash.), senior DE Daniel Te'o-Nesheim (Waikoloa, Hawai'i) and junior C Ryan Tolar (Pasco, Wash.). Te'o-Nesheim was also voted as a season captain at the end of last season.