Washington vs. Idaho Postgame Notes and Quotes

Sept. 28, 2002

Game Notes

Cody Pickett's 438 yards marked the second-most passing yards in UW single-game history. He now has five of the top 11 single-game passing days in Husky history. He has three of the four 400-yard passing games in school history. Pickett's 32 completions were fourth-most in Husky history. He set the school record with 34 completions last week.

Pickett moved into ninth place on the UW career completions list with 286. He passed Mark Brunell (1989-92), who completed 259 passes in his Husky career.

Pickett also extended two other records by surpassing the 300-yards passing mark again. He's thrown for 300 or more in four straight games, making him the only Husky ever to do so (old record was two straight) and with six career 300-yard games, he increased his own record by one. The record prior to this season was four by Brock Huard.

Pickett extended another of his own UW records with his fifth 70-plus-yard pass. Pickett had three such passes last year and had an earlier 89-yarder to Reggie Williams this season. No other Husky QB has ever had more than two 70-yard passes in a career. Pickett now stands alone in second place on the UW career list with eight 50-yard passes, one behind Damon Huard's record of nine. Pickett's 74-yard TD pass to Charles Frederick in the second quarter was the 17th (tied) longest pass in Husky history.

Rich Alexis' third-quarter TD was the 19th rushing touchdown of his career. That moved him into a tie with Mark Brunell (1989-1992) and Toussaint Tyler (1977-80) for 10th most in Husky history. Alexis, who set career highs for receptions and yards in last week's win over Wyoming, set a new receiving yards high with 87 (on six catches). Last week, he went 7-for-55 receiving.

The Huskies' victory marked their school-record-tying 17th consecutive home win, the longest home winning streak in the Pac-10 and the third-longest in the nation. Nebraska, which didn't play at home this weekend, has the nation's longest current home win streak at 24 straight while Miami (Fla.) is second with an 18-game stretch. Today's win tied the modern Husky record for longest home win streak, previously set from 1991 to 1993, while the all-time UW record is 44 (1908-1917).

The Huskies also improved their record at home vs. non-conference foes to 43-5, dating back to the 1981 season.

When the UW failed to turn Marquis Cooper's first-quarter interception into any points on the ensuing drive, it marked the first time this season that the Huskies had failed to convert a turnover into points. They'd done so successfully the first eight times this season, including a TD off of Greg Carothers' fumble return. Opponents have turned only two of Washington's 10 turnovers into points.

Keith Stamps' half-ending 49-yard field goal was the longest field goal by a Husky opponent since Brigham Young's Owen Pochman connected on a 51-yard FG on Sept. 19, 1998. That game was also played at Husky Stadium. It was the longest field goal by a Vandals kicker since Ben Davis hit a 50-yarder Sept. 23, 2000 vs. Washington State.

Chris Belser's 16-yard TD reception from Brian Lindgren in the third quarter represented the first second-half points by a Husky opponent since the Michigan game. Neither San Jose State nor Wyoming scored in the second half. Washington has now out-scored its opponents 84-41 in the second half this season.

Husky punter Derek McLaughlin, who wasn't called on to punt a single time in last week's win over Wyoming, didn't punt until there was 10:08 left in the third quarter of today's game. McLaughlin (nor any other Husky for that matter) hadn't punted since there was 4:29 remaining in the second quarter of the San Jose State game, meaning he went slightly more than eight and a half quarters without a punt.

Greg Carother's 25-yard fumble return for a touchdown in the first quarter marked the first time the Huskies have returned a fumble for a touchdown since the season-opener vs. Idaho on Sept. 2, 2000. In that game, Ben Mahdavi returned a fumble 35 yards for a score.

Husky senior tight end Kevin Ware, with two TD receptions in the first half, became the first Washington tight end to catch two or more touchdown passes in a game since Jerramy Stevens had two against Oregon on Oct. 2, 1999, his only two catches of that game.

Ware also set a new career high with six catches. His previous high was four, vs. Michigan and Wyoming earlier this season. Charles Frederick set a new career high for receiving yards with 142, breaking his personal-best mark of 88, set earlier this year at Michigan.

Washington head coach Rick Neuheisel

General Comments: 'We're anxious to begin play in games that ultimately matter, those being the Pac-10 conference games. They begin next week with California. It's difficult emotionally for a football team to get up for a football game every week when everything they hear and read says that these are games that they should win handedly. You can never, ever, drop your guard. In the second half, they came out there and played very efficiently, exactly what we talked about all week long in terms of controlling the ball. I don't know how many first downs they had in the second half, but it's going to be a big, big number. Fortunately, we were able to do some things of our own on offense and go down and keep the game from getting into a position where it was in question. Rather than be upset about it, I am just anxious for our football team to continue to improve. We are going to work hard to create some answers, especially our first down defense, because they are giving up far too many yards. I predict Idaho will win their conference. I think they are a very good team, and well-coached. I wish them much good fortune and I am eager to start to play conference games.'

On whether UW is exclusively a passing team: 'Obviously we are not turning out running yards like we would like to, but we are also throwing for an incredible amount. You look at the defense and they're lining up with eight guys in there; it's like they're daring us to throw. So we throw and throw for bundles of yards that have not been seen here before. We would like to run the ball and we're going to continue to work on running the ball, but we're not going to bang our head against a door that won't open. It they are going to overload us, we're going to continue to take care of business. Fortunately, we have been able to take full advantage of our position and win a majority of our ballgames. Our offense is designed to take what they give us, and so we have.'

On Reggie Williams' knee injury: 'I think he was more scared than hurt. I don't mean that in a negative way. I think he is extremely tough, but he was afraid that something had gone wrong. It's bruised, but I don't think there is any structural damage. If this was a Pac-10 game, I don't know if he would have played in the second half, but it wasn't a Pac-10 game so we decided not to risk anything. Our guard, Aaron Butler suffered a quadriceps bruise.'

On Charles Frederick's performance today: 'He is a magnificent football player and he has got a gift. He's got great hand-eye coordination. He is fun to watch play. We've got a number of players who can make plays. I thought Pat Reddick played well. I thought Wilbur Hooks made a couple of great catches. I am thrilled with the productivity of that position. Rich Alexis led the team with six catches. So you can say that we are not running the ball, but when you are checking the downs we have, it's the same. It's just another way of handing off a draw. It's another way of handing off the ball.'

On Charles Frederick's touchdown: 'It was a remarkable play. There were a couple cuts I wasn't sure he should have made. He reminded me of my son on those video games, he just kept going back and forth and luckily ended up in the end zone. It was certainly an athletic play and I am hoping he will make a lot more of them.'

On performance of Kevin Ware today: 'Kevin Ware is a very consistent performer for us all year long and hopefully will continue to be. I don't know a better tight end in our league and we are very fortunate to have him.'

On the game up the point of a 28-0 Husky lead: 'We were playing well. We were doing some really good things. Give the credit to Idaho. They kept playing and got themselves back in the game. I had hoped we would come out in the second half with the same type of urgency, but luckily our defense stopped them on the opening drive. Unfortunately, on offense we missed protection and we ended up turning the ball over and punting for the first time in two games. From that point on it was kind of a see-saw deal.'

Husky Players

On the game:
'We did a lot of things we try to do on offense. When we get down across midfield, we have to be able to get the ball in the end-zone. There were a couple of times where we didn't do that today.'

On setting passing records: 'That's cool, but I'm not really worried about that right now. We're trying to get wins. It's something that, when I'm done with my career, I can look back and be proud of.'

On getting ready for Cal: 'We have to execute better, when we get into the red-zone or across mid-field we have to capitalize and put points on the board.'

On injury:
'It was a little draw play. My leg got pinned back the wrong way, but I'm fine now. I strained my upper calf muscle, nothing to keep me out of practice or anything.'

On playing next week: 'I'll definitely play next week. I could have probably gone back in, but they sat me down. If we were playing Cal I would have gone back in.'

On team's performance: 'I think we did great; we played real well in the first half. Then towards the second half we just let down.I think we played real well.'

On the game:
'The first half was really good, the second half we struggled. We became overconfident. I think we thought it was over, so we didn't come out and play our real game. Also, they played good in the second half.'

On his interception: 'The ball got tipped and I was right there; I just ran over and I caught it. I'm pretty happy about that.'

On touchdown:
'All I was thinking was, 'don't fall on the ground, just try to keep running'. Then I was thinking, 'I just need one more block.' Then I saw Wilbur Hooks come out of nowhere and get that block that I needed. I felt good after that.'

On performance overall: 'Everytime they throw it to me, I have to try to catch it. I knew that Reggie was down, so everyone had to step it up and make big plays. I had to step my game up.'

On his fumble recovery for a TD:
'It feels nice. I haven't been in the end zone for a long time, since high school. I can't take a whole lot of credit for it. We had some miscommunication in the backfield and got lined up wrong. All the credit goes to the guys on the D-line and the linebackers, because they created the opportunity. Luckily, I was able to scoop it up and score.'

On getting ready for Cal: 'I've watched Kyle Boller throughout this season and he's a great quarterback, one of the better quarterbacks we'll see, if not the best. They also have a quick running back. I think we'll probably have our hands full, but we'll get after them.'

Idaho Defensive Coordinator Ed Lamb

On missed tackles: 'I attribute that stat to the Huskies. They run hard. They have a lot of great athletes and a lot of strong guys. We had a ton of missed tackles and it hurt us.'

On defending QB Cody Pickett: 'We stayed pretty vanilla in our defensive scheme, trying to get this team to the point fundamentally where it needs to be to compete for the conference. Today, we knew we had to get after him some and attack their offensive line to get in the backfield and get some pressure. Brandon Kania did a nice job by setting the tempo for that with a sack on the first play of the game.'

On missed interceptions: 'We had our hands on the ball five times in the first two series. It was costly for us because to beat a team like this, that is this good, we needed to jump out and surprise them and get some confidence, some motivation to play sky-high. Instead, they were able to kick that field goal. I'm disappointed for them (defense). From a coaching standpoint you say can we work some more ball drills or something, but those guys know how to catch and they catch most of them. We just didn't catch any of them today.'

On the scoring margin: 'We are all embarrassed about the score, but I don't think they're embarrassed about how they played. We're embarrassed about the yards that we gave up but we're not embarrassed about our effort and the progress we're making. This game could have been a lot different but the fact is, it wasn't, and credit is due to the Huskies on that. We need to find a way to regroup and finish out the season.'

'Statistically, they had an awful day, and those DBs are better than a lot of people are giving them credit for. We put a lot of pressure on them today and left them in one-on-one match-ups and Washington did a nice job of catching some short passes and turning them into long gains. '

On forcing the pass: 'We put a lot of pressure on the run and we left our defensive backs on islands. That's the tradeoff. That's kind of standard. We put the pressure on the run, made them pass it and Washington came through. They passed it and passed it well.'

On Reggie Williams leaving the game injured: 'When we look at Washington, we know that they have a lot of receivers. For us, I don't know that it made things any easier on us. I just feel bad for him because he's a great player and I know that it's going to hurt Washington. I think it hurt their game plan but for us, we had to come out and play hard against everybody on the field. We stayed with the game plan. We were going to put the pressure on the run and force them to beat out defensive backs one-on one. Reggie did that early and the guys that came in for him were able to do that too.'

Idaho Players

On the offesnse's first-half struggles:
'We came out kind of flat offensively. That allowed the Washington offense to be on the field way too long. You just can't do that to your defense with a good team like Washington.'

On the change of momentum from the first to second half: 'I think we settled down and came out in the second half with a lot more energy and said, 'Hey, we're just going to come out and execute.' I thought we did that a lot better in the second half. The recievers had some good catches, and I think we were able to run the ball a little bit better too. I think that helped create first downs and get us some momentum.'

On his offensive line: 'I thought the offensive line did a great job the whole day. It's just a great front Washington's got - and linebacking corps - and they were coming after us. I thought the line did a great job of protecting me and we just had to execute and get a little more momentum the first half.'

Feelings of starting the game with two turnovers: 'That kills you, especially against a big-time team like Washington, with 70,000 fans. You give them some momentum, and it hurts you. The defense gave us a good opportunity and we turned it over the first play of the game. We just can't do that against a big-time team like Washington.'

About being finished playing Pac-10 schools: 'We still have a long ways to go, and we haven't even started playing in the conference. I think it was good experiece playing those Pac- 10 teams, playing against good competition like that. I think we gained some confidence, especially in the second half.'

On the difference in final score from the 2001 game:
'It just shows our work and the effort we put into it. Last year, special teams was a big thing in this game, and this year I don't think they scored any points on special teams. They had that one big return, but other than that our special teams played great, and that was the name of the game last year. The offense played better than last year. We played as a group instead of individuals.'

On not being satisfied by having put pressure on Pickett: 'No, I'm not satisfied with the pressure. Passing yards, that comes down on us too, not just the DBs. We gave him too much time to throw the ball. If he was there for more than five seconds, or three seconds at that, he's got to be hit or something. We did, at times, have good pressure on him, but throughout the game, I think we could've had better pressure on him.'

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