Football Returns Home To Face Arizona
Oct. 15, 2001
The Game: The Washington football team (4-1 overall, 2-1 in the Pac-10) takes on unranked Arizona (3-3, 0-3) in a Pacific-10 Conference game this Saturday, Oct. 20, at Husky Stadium. Game time has been re-scheduled for 3:30 p.m. PDT. Washington is ranked No. 15 in the latest Associated Press poll and is the No. 12 team in the ESPN/USA Today coaches' poll. The Huskies are looking to rebound from a 35-13 loss at UCLA last week, a loss that broke the UW's 12-game winning streak.
Rescheduling: Washington's game at Miami, originally scheduled for September 15, was postponed due Sept. 11 incidents. The game has been rescheduled for November 24, though no game time has yet been determined.
The Series: Washington holds a commanding 12-4-1 edge in the series against Arizona, with the Huskies taking five of the last six. Overall, the Huskies are 26-12-1 all-time against the Arizona schools (Arizona and Arizona State), including a 14-5 record at Husky Stadium. The last three games in the Huskies' series with Arizona have been decided by a total of 14 points, including Washington's come-from-behind, 35-32 win last year in Seattle. The Huskies have amassed a 7-2 record at Husky Stadium and have also won three straight in Tuscon since 1992. The Wildcats' last win at Husky Stadium may be the most memorable game in the series' history. Trailing 28-24 to Washington with under a minute to play, Arizona quarterback Ortege Jenkins flipped head over heels over three Husky defenders, landing on his feet in the end zone for the winning score. Close wins for Arizona are the rule in this series. Three of the Wildcats' four wins in the series have come by three points, including Arizona's first-ever win over Washington in 1988, snapping the Huskies' six-game unbeaten streak in the series. The Wildcats overcame two 10-point deficits, but still appeared headed for a tie before Washington quarterback Cary Conklin fumbled in the final minute, setting up Doug Pfaff's game-winning 22-yard field goal with five seconds left. The Wildcats won again by a field goal the following year, marking their longest winning streak (two games) in series history. Washington also holds history in the series, as the last team to shut out Arizona, blanking the Wildcats 54-0 en route to a National Championship in 1991. Husky head coach Rick Neuheisel has not lost to Arizona since arriving at Washington in 1999, amassing a 2-0 record, while Arizona head coach John Mackovic has never faced Washington. Neuheisel's Colorado team beat Mackovic's Texas Longhorns in both meetings when the two coaches were at their respective former posts. Colorado beat Texas 28-24 in Boulder in 1996 and 47-30 in Austin in 1997.
After Losses: Washington enters this week's game vs. Arizona coming off a loss at UCLA last week. That loss broke the Huskies' 12-game winning streak. The Huskies, however, haven't lost back-to-back games under Coach Rick Neuheisel since the first two games of Neuheisel's tenure (losses to BYU and Air Force). Playing in a home game the week after a road loss, the Huskies have won 12 of the last 15 times, dating back to 1989.
Television: The Washington-Arizona game will be broadcast on the Fox Sports syndicated package on television stations throughout the West Coast (see below for a full list of stations). Barry Tompkins (play-by-play), former Husky quarterback Warren Moon (color) and John Jackson (sidelines) will call the action. The game will also be replayed Sunday on Fox Sports Northwest at 4:15 p.m. All Husky games are shown on tape delay the Sunday after the game, with all subsequent replays scheduled to start at 3 p.m.
Fox Sports Syndicated Package Stations: The following west coast stations will carry this week's Arizona-Washington game:
Seattle/KTWB/WB/Channel 22 (10 on most cable systems)
Los Angeles/KCAL/Independent/Channel 9
San Francisco/KICU/Independent/Channel 36
San Diego/KUSI/Independent/Channel 51
Santa Barbara/KKFX/Fox/Channel 11
Palm Springs/KPSE/UPN/Channel 13
Santa Rosa, California/KFTY/Independent/Channel 50
Yuma, Arizona/KECY/Fox/Channel 9
Las Vegas, Nevada/KVWB/Independent/Channel 21
Honolulu, HI/KWHE/Independent/Channel 14
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 Coach: Husky head coach Rick Neuheisel is in his third year at the helm of the Washington program. In two-plus seasons, Neuheisel has led the Huskies to an 22-7 overall mark and a 15-4 record in Pac-10 play. Last season, Washington posted an 11-1 overall record, a 7-1 conference mark and shared the Pac-10 Championship. After beating Purdue, 34-24, in the Rose Bowl, the Huskies finished with a No. 3 ranking in the final national polls. In his first season at Washington (1999), Neuheisel led the Huskies to a 7-5 overall mark, a second-place tie (6-2) in the Pac-10 and a trip to the Culligan Holiday Bowl. Neuheisel became the first Husky coach in history to lead the UW to a bowl game in his first season as head coach. Prior to coming to Washington, Neuheisel served four seasons as the head coach at Colorado, posting a 33-14 (.702) overall mark with the Buffaloes. His career record, in six-plus seasons, is 55-21 (.724). Neuheisel worked for six seasons as an assistant coach at his alma mater, UCLA, before joining Bill McCartney's Colorado staff in 1994 as the quarterbacks coach. Originally a walkon at UCLA, Neuheisel won the starting quarterback position as a senior and led the Bruins to the 1983 Pac-10 championship. He was named the MVP of the 1984 Rose Bowl that saw UCLA defeat Illinois, 45-9. Washington fans remember Neuheisel's tremendous performance when he completed 25 of 27 passes to set an NCAA record that was only recently broken by Tennessee's Tee Martin. Neuheisel, a member of the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame, still holds the Bruins' single-season (69.3) and career (68.3) completion percentage records.
An Impressive Record: Keith Gilbertson record as the Huskies' offensive coordinator is an impressive 27-2. Prior to last year, when the UW posted an 11-1 record, Gilbertson served as the Huskies' offensive coordinator during the 12-0 1992 season. Under Gilbertson, Washington has averaged 35.5 points per game, including nine games in both 1991 and 2000 with at least 30 points, a feat accomplished only one other time in Husky history (1997). Gilbertson's UW teams have been two of the most prolific in school history, eaching ranking among Washington's top 10 in scoring and total offense per game. The 1991 team tallied 461 points and 471.0 yards per game to rank first in school history in both categories while the 2000 team amassed 353 points and 407.9 yards per game, the seventh and sixth-highest totals, respectively. Gilbertson's 27-2 record as coordinator at Washington includes a 15-0 record in home games and a 2-0 mark in Rose Bowls.
Washington-Arizona Ties: As is the case with almost any Pac-10 opponent, there are several ties between the UW and Arizona teams, particularly the coaching staffs. Arizona linebackers coach Scott Pelluer was an assistant coach at Washington from 1996-98. The Washington State grad is also the brother of former UW quarterback Steve Pelluer. Arizona head coach John Mackovic was the offensive coordinator for one season at Purdue (1977). That year, Husky defensive line coach Randy Hart was the Boilermakers' d-line coach. Husky offensive line coach Brent Myers briefly served (during the off-season) as an assistant coach at Arizona before taking his job at Washington prior to last season. Charlie Dickey, the Wildcats' offensive line coach, was the o-line coach at Northern Arizona in 1990 and 1991 when Husky quarterbacks coach Steve Axman was the Lumberjacks' head coach. As for the rosters, Arizona starting quarterback Jason Johnson is from Puyallup High in Washington, the alma mater of former UW signalcallers Billy Joe Hobert, Damon Huard and Brock Huard. UA freshman DB Landon Kafentzis is from Richland and sophomore linebacker Justin Stewart is from Woodinville. Washington's roster includes five Arizonans: tight end John Westra (Mesa), defensive lineman John Schmidt (Tucson), linebacker Marquis Cooper (Gilbert), defensive lineman Terry Johnson (Tempe) and punter Derek McLaughlin (Mesa).
vs. Idaho: Both the Huskies and Wildcats have played Idaho this season. Arizona handed the Vandals a 36-29 loss at Tucson in the UA's second game of the season, as Idaho scored all 29 of its points in the fourth quarter. Washington beat UI, 53-3 -- also the Huskies' second game of 2001.
UW-UCLA Redux: UCLA tailback DeShaun Foster took a big step forward in his Heisman Trophy chase, rushing for 301 yards and four touchdowns to lead No. 7 UCLA to a 35-13 win over No. 10 Washington last Saturday. Foster set the UCLA record for rushing yards while breaking the UW opponent records for yards, touchdowns and longest rush (92 yards). The Bruins defense was also stellar, holding the Huskies to only 16 yards on the ground. Husky quarterback Taylor Barton, making his first career start in place of the injured Cody Pickett, performed admirably under staunch defensive pressure, completing 22-of-44 passes for 316 yards, one interception and one touchdown. The Bruins took a 21-0 lead in the first quarter on a pair of Foster TDs and a recovery of a blocked punt in the endzone. The Huskies made it 21-6 before the half after Barton hit Todd Elstrom with a 39-yard touchdown pass. Foster scored twice more in the second half while the Huskies' Willie Hurst ran for a fourth-quarter score to account for seven more Husky points. The loss broke Washington's 12-game winning streak, third-longest in the nation going into the game.
Turnovers No Problem: Washington has only turned the ball over seven times in five games this season. The Huskies had no turnovers in either the Michigan or Cal games, turned it over twice in both the Idaho and USC games and three times at UCLA. However, Idaho was unable to convert either of the two turnovers into scored, USC scored a TD on an interception return and punted after a fumble recovery and UCLA turned only one of three turnovers into points. That means that Washington has allowed only 14 points after turnovers this season. Thanks to going 0-for-3 converting turnovers at UCLA, the Huskies haven't been that efficient either. Washington has converted 10 turnovers into 31 points (four touchdowns, one field goal)
Against First-Year Coaches: Since 1990, the Huskies have faced a Pac-10 team with a first-year coach on 13 occassions. In those 13 games against league coaches in their first season, Washington has posted a 10-3 record, losing to USC's John Robinson in 1993, Oregon's Mike Bellotti in 1995 and USC's Paul Hackett in 1998. The Huskies will face Arizona's first-year coach John Mackovic this week and ASU's Dirk Koetter next week. Already this year, the Huskies handed Pete Carroll and USC a 27-24 loss. The Dawgs' 10 such wins also include victories over ASU's Bruce Snyder (1992), Cal's Keith Gilbertson (1992) and Tom Holmoe (1997), OSU's Jerry Pettibone (1991), Mike Riley (1997) and Dennis Erickson (1998), Stanford's Bill Walsh (1993) and Tyrone Willingham (1995), and UCLA's Bob Toledo (1996).
One Remaining Streak: Washington had its 12-game winning streak broken last week at UCLA. That streak was, going into last week, the third longest in the nation. Coach Rick Neuheisel's 12-game win streak was also the second-longest among Division I-A coaches and the Huskies' nine straight wins in conference marked the longest in the conference. The Huskies still have one winning streak alive: the Huskies have won 11 consecutive home games, dating back to a loss to Arizona State in 1999.
Fumble Free: Husky running backs have yet to lose a fumble so far this season, a stat that may very well have to be attributed (at least in part) to first-year running backs coach Tony Alford. Last year at Iowa State, where Alford coached the running backs, the Cyclones did not have a running back lose a fumble all season.
Last Year vs. Arizona: Stellar individual performances highlighted Washington's 35-32 win over Arizona at Husky Stadium last November. Following a stirring pregame ceremony for injured Husky defender Curtis Williams, Arizona bolted to a 9-0 lead on a Sean Keel field goal and a 10-yard touchdown run by tailback Leo Mills. The Wildcats racked up 301 total yards, including 194 on the ground, in the first half, controlling the clock for almost 23 minutes en route to a 16-10 lead. Arizona punt returner Bobby Wade opened the third quarter with a 60-yard punt return touchdown, and the two teams swapped field goals to spot Arizona a 25-13 lead with just over 10 minutes to go in the game. Husky tailback Willie Hurst, however, took over for the Huskies, racing to touchdowns of 65 and 23 yards on consecutive possessions, the latter a highlight-reel spinning dash to put Washington up 28-25. Mills, who would finish the game with a series-record 185 yards, scored for the second time to put Arizona back on top with five minutes to play, but Marques Tuiasosopo rushed in from two yards out to provide the winning margin for Washington, 35-32.
Winning the Close Ones: In 28 games under coach Rick Neuheisel, the winning margin (for either side) has been seven points or fewer 17 times. In those 17 games decided by a touchdown or less, Washington is 13-4 and has won nine straight. Here's a list of games since 1999 decided by seven or fewer points:
1999 Opponent Result MarginSept. 9 at BYU L, 28-35 7 ptsSept. 25 Colorado W, 31-24 7 ptsOct. 23 California W, 31-27 4 ptsOct. 30 Stanford W, 35-30 5 ptsNov. 13 at UCLA L, 20-23 (OT) 3 ptsDec. 29 Kansas State L, 20-24 4 pts
2000 Opponent Result MarginSept. 9 Miami W, 34-29 5 ptsSept. 16 at Colorado W, 17-10 7 ptsSept. 30 at Oregon L, 16-23 7 ptsOct. 7 Oregon St. W, 33-30 3 ptsOct. 14 at ASU W, 21-15 6 ptsOct. 28 at Stanford W, 31-28 3 ptsNov. 4 Arizona W, 35-32 3 ptsNov. 11 UCLA W, 35-38 7 pts
2001 Opponent Result MarginSept. 8 Michigan W, 23-18 5 ptsSept. 29 at Cal W, 31-28 3 ptsOct. 6 USC W, 27-24 3 pts
Fourth-Quarter Comebacks: Under Rick Neuheisel, Washington has had to come from behind in 16 of its 21 wins. That total includes eight such wins last year (all but Miami, WSU and Purdue). Of those 16 come-from-behind wins, Washington has trailed in the fourth quarter and won 11 times. In last year's Arizona win, the Huskies took the lead in the fourth, then gave it up again before taking it back for good on their last drive. Here's a breakdown of the Huskies' fourth-quarter comebacks in the last three seasons:
Date Opponent Score in 4th Quarter Final Score9/25/99 Colorado 21-17, Buffaloes 31-24, UW10/23/99 at California 24-17, Bears 31-27, UW10/30/99 Stanford 23-22, Cardinal 35-30, UW9/16/00 at Colorado 7-3, Buffaloes 17-14, UW10/7/00 Oregon State 21-20, Beavers 33-30, UW10/21/00 California 24-13, Bears 36-24, UW10/28/00 at Stanford 28-24, Cardinal 31-28, UW11/4/00 Arizona 25-13 & 32-28, Wildcats 35-32, UW9/8/01 Michigan 12-6, Wolverines 23-18, UW9/29/01 at California 21-17, Bears 31-28, UW10/6/01 USC 17-14, Trojans 27-24, UW
Playing at Home: The Huskies finished the home slate with a spotless 6-0 record in 2000, marking the 12th time ever and the fifth time in the last 10 seasons that the Dawgs have played perfect at home (1991, 1992, 1994, 1996, 2000). Washington has won 59 of its last 71 (.838) games at Husky Stadium with one tie (59-11-1). Since 1980, the Huskies stand 107-23-2 (.818) at home. Since 1990, the Huskies are 38-7-1 (.837) at Husky Stadium vs. Pac-10 opponents.
Historic Husky Stadium: The 2001 season marks the 82nd season of play in Husky Stadium. Original construction on the facility was completed in 1920 when Washington played one game in the new campus facility. Thanks to several major renovations, Husky Stadium's seating capacity has increased to its current total of 72,500. That makes Husky Stadium the 24th-largest college football venue in the nation. It is the 20th-largest on-campus facility in the country. UW's all-time record in Husky Stadium currently stands at 324-133-21.
Dialing Long Distance: Washington has shown a penchant for big plays in 2001, with 11 pass completions of 30 yards or more through the first five games of the season. By comparison, the Huskies only had 11 such plays in all of the 2000 season, a total of 12 games. Six of the Huskies' long passes have come on the arm of quarterback Taylor Barton, including five in the last two games. Freshman wide receiver Reggie Williams has been on the receiving end of five such passes, including a Husky season-long 74-yarder against Michigan. Paul Arnold has caught three long passes, while the other three are split evenly between Patrick Reddick, Willie Hurst and Todd Elstrom. Ironically, only three of Washington's 11 30-plus-yard completions this season have gone for touchdowns, including a pair of long scores by Arnold.
Playing the True Freshmen: During Washington's first six seasons of the 1990s (1990-95), the Huskies had only six true freshmen see playing time. Over the last five seasons (including 2001), a total of 40 true freshmen have played. This season, five true freshman saw action in the season opener vs. Michigan as Reggie Williams, Sam Cunningham, Joseph Lobendahn, Derek McLaughlin and Charles Frederick all played. Two more players -- Chris Singleton and Tui Alailefaleula -- have played since then, giving the Huskies a total of seven true freshman players this year. Both Williams and Alailefaleula have started (Williams all five games and Alailefaleula at UCLA). Last year, the Huskies set a 'school record' by playing nine true freshmen. In last season's win over California, the Huskies started three true freshmen (Derrick Johnson, Rich Alexis and Justin Robbins), only the second time since freshman eligibility was restored in 1972 that the Huskies have had three true freshmen start a game. Against Arizona, three true freshmen started again (Alexis, Robbins, Greg Carothers). The only previous time that happened was in the 1998 WSU game, when Chris Juergens, Hakim Akbar and Willie Hurst all started.
The Shutout Streak: Washington's game at UCLA marked the 233rd consecutive game in which Washington has not been shut out. That's the best streak among Pac-10 schools. BYU has the nation's longest streak at 328 games (NCAA record), while Texas is second with 243 games. The last opponent to hold the Huskies scoreless was UCLA (31-0) on Nov. 7, 1981. Washington has played 155 Pac-10 games since then without a shutout -- the second best current streak among Pac-10 schools.
Team All Games Pac-10 GamesWashington 233 155Washington State 192 200Oregon 186 137Arizona 117 80Arizona State 69 47Stanford 56 87USC 44 33Oregon State 40 29California 24 55UCLA 20 14
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 four games, Pickett has completed 54-of-89 (.607) of his passes for 717 yards. He has three TD passes and only two interceptions. Against California, Pickett threw for 291 yards and two touchdowns. Against USC, Pickett suffered a separated shoulder and missed most of the second half. He sat out the UCLA game due to the injury.
Barton Saves The Day: In his first significant action as a Husky, backup quarterback Taylor Barton led Washington to yet another fourth-quarter comeback. Barton came on for injured starter Cody Pickett in the second quarter with the Huskies trailing 14-7 and led Washington to a 27-24 win over USC. Barton, who formerly played at Colorado (1998-99) and City College of San Francisco (2000), completed 11-of-20 passes for 197 yards and two scores. In his first start last Saturday at UCLA, Barton completed 22-of-44 passes for 316 yards and a touchdown. The 316 yards were the most by a Husky quarterback since Brock Huard threw for 318 in the 1998 season-opener at Arizona State while the 44 attempts were the most since Marques Tuiasosopo threw 44 passes in a loss to Air Force in 1999.
Strong-Legged Frosh: Washington freshman punter Derek McLaughlin booted a 74-yard punt vs. California to break the UW school record of 73 (Ryan Fleming and Don Feleay). McLaughlin's 49.7-yard average against Cal was the sixth highest in Husky history and McLaughlin, with a 42.9-yard average for the season, ranks 29th in the NCAA in punt average.
Nationally Ranked Freshmen: Three UW freshmen enter the week ranked in the top 30 in the nation in a statistical ranking. Derek McLaughlin is 29th in punting with a 42.9-yard average. Reggie Williams ranks 22nd in receiving yards per game with 87.2 and return man Charles Frederick is fifth in Division I-A with 17.9 yards per punt return.
Arnold Is Mr. Versatile: Washington junior receiver Paul Arnold, who switched from tailback to receiver last spring, has shown amazing versatility not only through his career, but this season as well. Arnold, who caught the Huskies' first three passing TDs this year, has been a regular on the kickoff return team (he had a 100-yard kickoff return in 1999) and has been the starting tailback. He's scored touchdowns as a running back, a receiver and on special teams. Despite starting at receiver this year, Arnold took several snaps at tailback during the Huskies' win at California, helping to fill in for an injury-depleted tailbacks corps. Despite playing some at tailback, he nonetheless led the Huskies with five catches for 116 yards and two touchdowns.
Williams Moving Up: True freshman wide receiver Reggie Williams, who has played only five games, is already the No. 1 freshman receiver in UW history in terms of yards. With 436 yards (87.2 per game), Williams currently ranks 22nd in the nation in receiving yards per game. With 61 receiving yards at UCLA, Williams moved ahead of Chris Juergens as the No. 1 freshman receiver in school history. With a team-high 21 receptions, he is 10 catches shy of Paul Skansi's freshman record of 31, set in 1979. Here are the top-five true freshman receivers in Washington history, based on total receiving yards:
Rank Player (Year) Rec. Yards 1. Reggie Williams (2001) 436 2. Chris Juergens (1998) 414 3. Jason Shelley (1992) 382 4. Paul Skansi (1979) 378 5. Scott Phillips (1973) 369
Willie Cracking Top 10s: Willie Hurst has recently made his way on to several different UW top 10 lists and is on his way to at least one more. The most notable of those lists is probably career rushing yards. With 1,629 career rushing yards, Hurst is 112 yards behind Beno Bryant (1989-93), who ranks 10th with 1,741 career rush yards. Here are three other top 10 lists on which Hurst already ranks:
eighth (tied) in career rushing touchdowns with 20
ninth in career rushing attempts with 381
ninth in career rushing yards per game with 50.9