UW Football Returns To Husky Stadium
Oct. 28, 2002
The Game: The Washington football team (4-4 overall and 1-3 in the Pac-10 Conference) returns to Husky Stadium this Saturday after two games on the road to take on UCLA (5-3, 2-2) on Homecoming and in the next-to-last home contest of the season. The Huskies, who saw their 17-game home win streak snapped earlier this season in a loss to California, have nonetheless won 18 of their last 19 games in Seattle. Saturday's game vs. the Bruins will air live on TBS television with the kickoff time having been moved to 4:00 p.m. PST. Both the Huskies and Bruins enter the game unranked in either major poll. After this Saturday's game vs. the Bruins, the Huskies play host to Oregon State next Saturday before taking to the road to close out the season at Oregon and Washington State.
Huskies vs. Bruins History: UCLA enjoys a slight edge in the series, with 31 wins, 28 losses and two ties in 61 all-time games against Washington. UCLA took last year's meeting at the Rose Bowl, 35-13, as Bruins tailback DeShaun Foster rushed for 301 yards in a game the Huskies played without injured starting quarterback Cody Pickett. In 2000, with a 35-28 win, Washington broke the Bruins' three-game winning streak in the series. UCLA had won games in 1997, 1998 and 1999 to take the series advantage, which, prior to the '97 meeting was tied at 27-27-2. Over the last 10 meetings between Washington and UCLA, one or both of the teams has been ranked. Going by ranking alone, the Bruins have managed to upset the Huskies in three of those games -- most notably the 1990 loss at Husky Stadium that knocked aside the UW's national title hopes. In that '90 game, the unranked Bruins handed No. 2 Washington a 25-22 loss. In the next meeting in 1993, 22nd-ranked UCLA beat the 12th-ranked Dawgs, 39-25. The most recent 'upset' was in 1999, when an unranked UCLA team beat No. 22 Washington, 33-20. The only time that Washington and UCLA played each other with both teams ranked in the top 10 prior to last year's game was in 1981, when the Huskies edged the Bruins, 10-7, in Los Angeles. The UW-UCLA series first got underway in 1932, when the Huskies posted the first of four straight shutouts against the Bruins. UCLA got its first win in the series in 1938 with a 13-0 win in L.A.
Already No. 1: Junior quarterback Cody Pickett is having an unprecendented season in terms of his passing statistics. Washington, well-known for producing NFL quarterbacks, has never seen the prolific numbers that Pickett is posting this season. Only eight games into his junior year, Pickett has already set a new single-season passing yards record with 2,811 this year (surpassing Cary Conklin's 2,569 in 1989). Pickett broke Conklin's mark in the season's seventh game. Now with 5,226 career yards, Pickett is only 517 yards shy of the UW career passing yards record of 5,742 (Brock Huard). Pickett also has a shot at the Pac-10 single-season passing record, especially with the 12-game schedule this year. Pickett must throw for 827 yards (an average of 206.8 per game) to break the conference record of 3,637 yards, set by Washington State's Ryan Leaf in 1997. Pickett's 2,811 passing yards this season already rank No. 18 (tied) in Pac-10 history, and he's only 122 yards away from the all-time top-10. Last week vs. ASU, he broke Steve Pelluer's 1983 Husky record of 213 completions. Pickett now has 228.
Television: For the first time ever, the Huskies will appear on TBS this Saturday as the SuperStaion will air the UCLA-UW game live at 4:00 p.m. PST. Ron Thulin (play-by-play), Charles Davis (analyst) and Craig Sager (sidelines) will call the action. The game will also air on tape delay on Fox Sports in the Northwest with David Locke and former Husky QB Sonny Sixkiller providing the call. The replay will air Sunday at 3:00 p.m. and again Monday at noon. Also, 'The Washington Football Experience' airs each Thursday during the season on Fox Sports. The new program is an up-close look at each Husky game, with one-on-one player interviews and sideline photography.
Radio: The Husky Sports Network, with its flagship station KJR 950-AM, will carry the live broadcast of every football game to five different states on 21 different radio stations. Longtime broadcast team Bob Rondeau (play-by-play), Chuck Nelson (color) and Bill Swartz (sidelines) provide the call.
Last Year vs. UCLA: 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.
Washington-UCLA Ties: Washington head coach Rick Neuheisel is a graduate of UCLA, having spent five seasons with the Bruins including the 1983 season, when he led UCLA to the Rose Bowl, where Neuheisel picked up MVP honors after beating Illinois. Neuheisel also spent one season (1986) as a volunteer assistant at UCLA before becoming a full-time assistant from 1988-93. Several other Husky coaches have also coached at UCLA. Tim Hundley was a linebackers coach for the Bruins for six seasons (1990-95), Steve Axman was the offensive coordinator for two years (1987-88), and Bobby Hauck was a grad assistant in Westwood in 1990-91 before serving as assistant recruiting coordinator in 1992. UCLA head coach Bob Toledo was an assistant at UCLA in 1994 and 1995, which but him on the same staff as Hundley those two years. Bruins assistant Mark Weber and Hundley were also members of the same coaching staff at Oregon State from 1987 to 1990. Washington's roster includes 28 Californians, mostly from the southern part of the state. Several regular contributors among the Huskies' roster are from the greater L.A. area: C Todd Bachert (Mission Viejo), CB Sam Cunningham (Westchester), CB Derrick Johnson (Riverside/Notre Dame), DE Anthony Kelley (Alta Dena/Muir), CB Chris Massey (Moreno Valley), DT Josh Miller (West Covina), WR Patrick Reddick (Newbury Park), TB Chris Singleton (Fontana) and DT Jerome Stevens (Oxnard). Husky redshirt freshman quarterback Casey Paus is the younger brother of injured Bruins starting QB Cory Paus. The Bruins' roster no longer includes any players from the state of Washington.
Arizona State Redux: What looked as though it would be an offensive shootout more closely resembled a defensive battle as red-hot Arizona State remained unbeaten in conference play with a 27-16 win over the Huskies at Sun Devil Stadium. After watching Husky QB Cody Pickett break the UW single-season passing record in only the seventh week of the season and ASU's Andrew Walter break the single-game Pac-10 passing yards record the Saturday before, fans were looking for an aeriel shootout. However, Pickett passed for a season-low 210 yards as the Huskies compiled only 252 yards of total offense. Walter passed for only 184 yards and the Devils amassed only 229 total yards. ASU jumped out to a lead thanks to two first-quarter touchdowns from Hakim Hill, son of former Washington standout Lonzell Hill. The younger Hill ran in a score from one yard out on the Devils' first possession and then caught a nine-yard TD pass for the second. A 40-yard field goal from John Anderson late in the second quarter made it 14-3 at the half. The Devils put the game away in the second half when Walter hit Shaun McDonald with a 15-yard TD pass and Mike Barth connected on two field goals to stretch the Devils' lead to 27-3. Washington got late TDs on a 38-yard pass to Paul Arnold and a one-yard run from Chris Singleton. ASU defensive end Terrell Suggs posted four and a half sacks on the day as the Devils' pressure on Pickett was probably the most important aspect of the game. As a team, Arizona State compiled eight sacks and a total of 17 tackles for loss.
Ranked-Wins Streak: Washington is still in search of its first win over a ranked opponent this year (the Huskies have three chances so far). If the UW does beat a ranked team in 2002, it will mark the 14th straight year the Huskies have beaten a team ranked in the Associated Press poll. Washington's upset of 11th-ranked Michigan in the last season's opener marked the 13th straight year. Washington has defeated an AP-ranked team in 24 of its last 25 seasons prior to 2002. The only break in the streak came in 1988 when the Huskies played only two games against nationally-ranked foes -- UCLA (No. 2) and USC (No. 3), losing both of those games.
Tough After Turnovers: While Washington has turned the ball over four more times than its opponents this year (14 to 18), the Huskies have been much more successful turning turnovers into points than have their opponents. In fact, the Huskies have scored 10 times after their 14 takeaways, and two of their missed opportunities came on a missed field goal and a blocked field goal. A third came on the game's final play vs. Arizona, and thus did not present a chance to be converted into a score. In the meantime, UW opponents have scored seven times on 18 turnovers -- six touchdowns and one field goal.
The Sacks Are Back: Washington's eight sacks vs. Wyoming were the most by a Husky team in a single game since 1998, when the UW defense posted a school-record 13 sacks in back-to-back games against Utah State and California. Through eight games, Washington has already compiled a total of 26 sacks, two more than the Huskies' total from all last season. Redshirt freshman defensive end Manase Hopoi and senior defensive end Kai Ellis currently lead the team with five sacks each, equalling the total of last year's season-leader, linebacker Ben Mahdavi.
Playing at Home: The Huskies finished the home slate with a spotless 6-0 record in 2001, marking the 13th time ever and the sixth time in the last 10 seasons that the Dawgs have played perfect at home (1991, 1992, 1994, 1996, 2000). Washington has won 66 of its last 79 (.842) games at Husky Stadium with one tie (66-12-1). Since 1980, the Huskies stand 114-23-2 (.827) at home. Since 1990, the Huskies are 42-8-1 (.833) at Husky Stadium vs. Pac-10 opponents.
Historic Husky Stadium: The 2002 season marks the 83rd 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 331-134-21 (.703).
Pickett Moving Up: While junior quarterback Cody Pickett has already broken the Husky single-season passing record, he's also only 517 yards away from breaking the UW career passing record with nearly a season and a half yet to play. He also ranks on nearly ever other Washington career top-10 list, including No. 1 on several. In the loss at USC, Pickett threw for 350 yards to extend his school record of seven consecutive 300-yard games, a streak that was broken last week at ASU. Pickett, who has raised his career passing total to 5,226 yards, passed Cary Conklin (4,850) to climb to fifth all-time at Washington. Pickett, who is averaging 351.4 passing yards per game in 2002, needs 271 yards to pass Sonny Sixkiller (5,496) for fourth, and, again, is now just 517 yards shy of beating Brock Huard's school record of 5,742 passing yards. Pickett, who set a UW single-game record with 34 completions vs. Wyoming then broke it with 35 vs. Cal, now has 398 career completions, putting him seventh on that list. His career mark of 13.13 yards per completion ranks No. 9 and his 248.9 yards per game are currently a school record. His 19.0 completions per game are No. 1 and his career completion percentage of .595 is No. 3. Pickett boasts a slew of firsts: he is the first UW QB to post more than one career 400-yard game (he has three); the first to post nine 300-yard games; and the first to throw for 300 yards in more than two consecutive games (he had seven straight to start this current season). In just 21 career games Pickett already boasts five of the top seven and eight of Washington's top-15 single-game totals in passing yards. His 14 career 200-yard passing days are second-most in UW history and his nine 50-plus-yard passes equal Damon Huard's school record.
Cody's Bombs: With three passes of over 70 yards in 2001 (78 to Paul Arnold, 75 to Patrick Reddick, 74 to Reggie Williams), and three more this year (89 and 80 to Williams, and 74 to Charles Frederick), Cody Pickett is the only Husky QB ever to throw six 70-plus-yard passes in a career. Only Damon Huard, Tom Porras and Billy Joe Hobert had ever thrown as many as two 70-yard passes.
Williams Chasing 'Super Mario': Sophomore wide receiver Reggie Williams was only one game into his sophomore season when he passed the 1,000-yard mark for career receiving. In the loss at USC, he had his third straight 100-yard receiving game (tying a school record) and his eighth career 100-yard day (breaking the school record). Williams, who ranks No. 12 in the NCAA in yards per game and 18th in receptions per game, passed three former Huskies on the career Husky receiving chart that day and currently ranks No. 4. With 1,830 career receiving yards, Williams leapt past Lonzell Hill, Brian Slater and Paul Skansi in the USC game alone. In only his second season, Williams is now just 263 yards away from No. 1, and needs to average 65.8 yards per game the rest of the season to surpass Mario Bailey (2,093 yards from 1988-91) as the Huskies' all-time receiving yards leader. Or, one could say that he needs to average only 16.4 yards over the next 18 games (through the end of his junior season) to break Bailey's record. Having reached the 18-game minimum two weeks ago, Williams now ranks No. 1 on the UW career yards-per-game list by a large margin. With his average of 96.3 yards per game during his career thus far, Williams is 30 yards per game better than Brian Slater's former mark of 65.9.