2002 Apple Cup Has Major Implications

Nov. 18, 2002

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The Game: The Washington football team (6-5 overall and 3-4 in the Pac-10 Conference) closes out its season-ending trio of games against its three Northwest rivals this Saturday in the Apple Cup as the Huskies travel to Pullman's Martin Stadium to face No. 3 Washington State (9-1, 6-0) in a 3:30 p.m. game Saturday. The last two weeks, the Huskies have beaten Oregon State (41-29) and Oregon (42-14) in a pair of border wars. WSU was idle last Saturday. A UW win would guarantee a bowl trip and a 26th straight .500 or better season for the Huskies while the Cougars would clinch the Pac-10 title and a berth into the Bowl Championship Series with the victory. At No. 3 in both polls (and the BCS), the Cougars still hold hopes of making the national title game in the Fiesta Bowl should Miami or Ohio State falter. A 6-6 record could still send the Huskies to a bowl game, but only with some manuevering.

Huskies vs. Cougars History: The Washington-Washington State series dates back to 1900, when the teams played to a 5-5 tie in Seattle, but only since 1962 has the winner been awarded the Apple Cup trophy. Washington holds a commanding 61-27-6 edge in the 94-game series, including a 29-10 record in Apple Cup games. The Huskies are 6-4 in games played at Martin Stadium, 13-11-1 in Pullman and 32-18-1 in games played on the eastern side of the state (Pullman and Spokane). The Huskies have won the the last four Apple Cups overall and the last three in Pullman. Last year, the 16th-ranked Huskies upset the No. 9 Cougars at Husky Stadium with a 26-14 win (more later). Two years ago in Pullman, the Dawgs wrapped up a Pac-10 title and Rose Bowl berth with a 51-3 blowout of the Cougars. The last time a Rose Bowl berth was on the line for the Cougars, in 1997, WSU responded with a 41-35 win at Husky Stadium. This Saturday's game will mark the first time since 1951 that the Huskies have entered the game unranked and the Cougars ranked. The UW lost that game to a 15th-ranked WSU squad, 27-25, in Seattle. In 1942, unranked Washington and No. 15 WSU played to a 0-0 tie in Husky Stadium in the only other such game. Washington has won 10 of the last 13 vs. WSU and 21 of the last 28. Husky head coach Rick Neuheisel is a perfect 4-0 against the Cougars in his career, having won three consecutive Apple Cup games, and one game as coach at Colorado. Cougars coach Mike Price is 3-10 all-time against Washington, 2-4 in Martin Stadium. He's 0-4 head-to-head vs. Neuheisel.

Pickett Atop the Pac: 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 anything close to the prolific numbers that Pickett is posting this season. With one game remaining in his junior year, Pickett has already set a new single-season passing yards record with 3,818 this year (surpassing Cary Conklin's 2,569 in 1989). Pickett broke Conklin's mark in the season's seventh game. Two weeks ago vs. Oregon State, he took over the No. 1 spot for career passing yards, and now has 6,243, breaking the old record of 5,742 (Brock Huard). Last week at Oregon, Pickett broke the Pac-10 single-season yardage record, surpassing Ryan Leaf's 1997 mark of 3,637, as well as Steve Stenstrom's Pac-10 record of 300 completions. Pickett now has 305. Pickett's 3,818 yards are currently second-most in Division I. His 25 touchdown passes rank in a tie for fifth-most in the nation and are tied for 10th most in Pac-10 history (Cal's Kyle Boller and ASU's Andrew Walter each have 26 this season). Pickett now owns the following UW passing records: game, season and career passing yards; game and season completions; season attempts; season touchdown passes; season and career passing yards per game; season and career completions per game; season and career attempts per game; season 50-plus yard passes; season and career 200-yard passing games; season and career 300-yard passing games; season and career 400-yard passing games and consecutive 300-yard passing games.

Television: The Washington-Washington State game will air live to a national audience on Fox Sports Net, with Steve Physioc (play-by-play), Tom Ramsey (color) and Jim Watson (sidelines) providing the commentary. The game will re-air Sunday at 3:00 p.m. and Monday at noon on Fox Sports in the Northwest. 'The Washington Football Experience' airs each Thursday during the season on Fox Sports. The program is an up-close look at each 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.

The Coach: Husky head coach Rick Neuheisel is in the midst of his fourth year at the helm of the Washington program. In nearly four seasons, Neuheisel has led the Huskies to an 32-15 (.681) overall mark and an 22-9 record in Pac-10 play and finished either first or second in the league each year. Last year, the Huskies made their second runner-up finish under Neuheisel, going 8-3 in the regular season (6-2 in the conference) before falling short in a barn-burner vs. Texas in the Holiday Bowl. In 2000, 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 seven-plus seasons, is 65-29 (.691). 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 completions percentage 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.

Last Time vs. Washington State: Washington handed No. 9 Washington State a 26-14 defeat in last season's Apple Cup, marking the Huskies' fourth straight win in the series. True freshman receiver Reggie Williams set Apple Cup records with 11 receptions for 203 yards and quarterback Cody Pickett set a series record with 371 yards on 25-of-38 passing. Washington was helped by four WSU turnovers, including two on goal-to-go situations. The Cougars had first-and-goal three times without scoring, including a first-quarter goal-line stand when Washington kept Cougar tailback Dave Minnich out of the endzone on fourth down from inside the one. With the game tied at 7-7 near the end of the first half, Washington kicked a field goal, and then recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff with only one second left, setting up another FG. One minute and one second in the third quarter, the Huskies scored on a one-yard touchdown run by Willie Hurst after recovering a Cougar fumble and returning it to the one.

NW Rivals: The 2002 Husky schedule includes a quirk that sees the Dawgs close out the regular season against its three Northwest Pac-10 rivals: Oregon State, Oregon and Washington State (in that order). The Huskies haven't played the other three Northwest teams in order (at the end or any other part of the season) since 1914, when Washington's seven-game schedule finished out in the same order as this year's. The UW also played the three rivals in order in the 1908, 1911 and 1912 seasons.

Dawgs & The Northwest: Washington's oldest and longest rivalries are against the other three other northwest Pac-10 schools. The Huskies have faced Oregon 95 times, Washington State in 94 games and Oregon State on 86 occasions, including last week. Washington owns the advantage in all three series. The Huskies lead the Ducks 57-33-5, Washington State 61-27-6 and Oregon State 56-27-4. Combined, UW is a 173-87-15 (.656) vs. the three.

Washington-Washington State Ties: While there's not much history between the coaching staffs at Washington and Washington State, there's plenty between the players. Cougar head coach Mike Price and Husky offensive coordinator Keith Gilbertson were contemporaries in Snohomish County high school football in the 1960s. Price graduated from Everett High in 1964 and Gilbertson from Snohomish in 1966. WSU defensive line coach Robb Akey spent three seasons on Steve Axman's Northern Arizona coaching staff when the current Husky QBs coach was the Lumberjacks' head coach. While there are very few Huskies from the eastern side of the state, there are plenty of Cougar players from this side of the Cascades. And of course, a number of Huskies and Cougars played with or against one another in their high school days. UW OT Ryan Brooks and WSU DB Jeremy Bohannon were teammates at Richland High. Husky CB Domyninc Shaw and Cougar LBs Mawauli Davis and Hassan Dicko all went to Skyline High in Oakland, Calif. Jason Gesser, the Cougars quarterback, went to St. Louis High in Honolulu, the alma mater of Husky ILB Joe Lobendahn. WSU LB Derrick Dillon attended Rogers High in Puyallup, where Husky ILB Matt Lingley and DE Dan Milsten both went. WSU d-lineman Sean O'Connor and UW safety Evan Benjamin are Redmond High grads while UW's Ty Eriks and Jason Benn both went to O'Dea High in Seattle, same as Cougs kicker Alex Oyer. Finally, Husky DE Kai Ellis played on the same teams as WSU's Derrick Roche at Kentridge High School.

'Couskies': A number of players throughout history have played football for both Washington and Washington State. Most such players were put in that circumstance by World War II. The first example, however, came more than 100 years ago in Frank Field. Field captained Washington State in 1897 before going on to play at the UW in 1899 and 1900. The World War II-era 'Couskies' all played first at WSU before the Navy and Marines transferred them to the UW for officer training in time for the 1943 football season. Their names: Tag Christensen, Wally Kramer, Vern Oliver, Jay Stoves, Bill Ward, Hjalmer 'Jelly' Andersen and Jim Thompson. Also Al Akins had played basketball at WSU before appearing on the gridiron for the UW. Additionally, in more recent vintage, placekicker Nick Lentz, who lettered at Washington in 1997, transferred to WSU after that season, but never lettered for the Cougars.

Oregon Redux: After falling behind 14-0 with 6:09 left in the first quarter, Washington dominated the 23rd-ranked Ducks the rest of the way, cruising to a 42-14 win in front of an Autzen Stadium record 57,112 fans. The Husky defense allowed only 122 yards over the final three and a half quarters and held the Ducks to no yards in the fourth period. Cody Pickett, who broke the Pac-10 season passing yards record, threw for 316 yards and four TDs on 26-of-37 passing while Reggie Williams had a career day with 14 catches for 198 yards and three touchdowns. Williams broke the school's single-season receptions record and career receiving yardage mark. Down 14-0, the Huskies drove 67 yards and scored late in the first on a five-yard Rich Alexis run. The score was tied at 14-14 at the half after Pickett hit Williams with a 23-yard scoring pass in the second. After the break, Derrick Johnson recorded his second interception of the day and, on the ensuing play, Alexis scored on an option play from 13 yards out. After a UW fumble recovery on a punt, Pickett threw to Patrick Reddick for a six-yard score. Williams scored on 47 and 41-yard passes in the fourth to put the game away. Washington rushed for a season-high 163 yards on the day, with Alexis gaining 122 on 30 carries. UW also possessed the ball for 40:09 of the game's 60 minutes (Oregon had 19:51). Additionally, punter Derek McLaughlin broke his own record (74 yards) with an 80-yard punt in the first quarter.

Pass Defense on the Rise: While the UW's pass defense took its share of criticism early this season, the last two gmes have shown a remarkable turnaround. Oregon State and Oregon have combined to complete only 26-of-77 passes (.338) for 432 yards, three touchdowns and seven interceptions over the last two weeks. Combined, that's a pass effeciency rating of only 75.57 over those two games. Miami (Fla.) currently leads the nation in pass effeciency defense with a season-long mark of 75.94. Washington currently ranks No. 72 in the country in that stat, with a season rating of 127.82.

Pickett Moving Up: In the season's seventh game, junior quarterback Cody Pickett broke the UW single-season passsing yards record. Two weeks ago vs. Oregon State, Pickett, with 14 games left in his UW career, broke the Huskies' career passing yards record. Last week at Oregon, he broke the Pac-10's single-season yards record. He also ranks on nearly every other Washington career top-10 list, including No. 1 on many. 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 at ASU. He had his third 400-yard game of the year three weeks ago vs. UCLA. Pickett, who has raised his career passing total to 6,243 yards, passed both Huards to the No. 1 spot vs. OSU. Pickett, who set a UW single-game record with 34 completions vs. Wyoming then broke it with 35 vs. Cal, now has 475 career completions, putting him second on that list. His career mark of 13.14 yards per completion ranks No. 9 and his 260.1 yards per game are currently a school record. His 19.8 completions per game are No. 1 and his career completion percentage of .588 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 four); the first to post 11 300-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 24 career games Pickett already boasts six of the top eight and nine of Washington's top-16 single-game totals in passing yards. His 17 career 200-yard passing days are most in UW history and his 10 50-plus-yard passes are also a school record. Finally, his 35 career TDs are second while his 25 touchdowns this season are most in UW history, two better than Brock Huard's old 1997 record of 23.

Pickett In the Pac: With 3,818 yards this season, Cody Pickett has broken the Pac-10 single-season passing yards record with one game left to play. Last week at Oregon, he passed Stanford's Steve Stenstrom (1993) and WSU's Ryan Leaf (1997) to take over the top spot. He also surpassed Stenstrom's single-season completions record (300 in 1993) had enters the Apple Cup with 305. With 6,637 career passing yards (the Pac-10 counts bowls in career stats), Pickett ranks No. 25 all-time in Pac-10 history, with more than one full season to play. Here are the top-10 single-season passers in Pac-10 Conference history:

 1.  3,818  Cody Pickett, Washington, 2002 2.  3,637  Ryan Leaf, Washington State, 1997 3.  3,627  Steve Stenstrom, Stanford, 1993 4.  3,499  Pat Barnes, California, 1996 5.  3,307  Akili Smith, Oregon, 1998 6.  3,285  Rob Johnson, USC, 1993 7.  3,242  John Elway, Stanford, 1982 8.  3,224  Danny O'Neill, Oregon, 1993 9.  3,130  Cade McNown, UCLA 199810.  3,092  Todd Husak, Stanford, 1998

Pickett Among Nation's Elite: With his outstanding junior season, junior quarterback Cody Pickett has placed himself among the nation's top signalcallers. Pickett ranks No. 24 in the nation in passing efficiency, but his raw totals are even more outstanding. His 335.9 yards per game of total offense ranks No. 3 in the nation (trailing leader Byron Leftwich Marshall at 375.5) and his 27.7 pass completions per game also ranks No. 3, trailing Texas Tech's Kliff Kingsbury (36.0). His 3,818 yards are second in the nation (Kingsbury, 4,455) and his 25 TD passes are tied for fifth in the country. As a team, the Huskies rank No. 4 in passing offense and No. 12 in total offense in Division I-A.

Williams Chasing Pathon: 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. 8 in the NCAA in yards per game and 10th in receptions per game, made it to the top of the UW career receiving yards with his 198-yard performance at Oregon last week. With 2,194 career yards, he's beaten Mario Bailey's old record by 101 yards. With 14 catches in the Oregon game (most ever by a UW receiver), Williams broke Jerome Pathon's single-season record of 69. Williams now has 77, tied for ninth-most in Pac-10 history. His 1,221 receiving yards this season are only 24 yards short of Pathon's single-season record (1,245 in 1997) and mark the eighth-highest total ever in the Pac-10. He's only receptions away from the UW career record of 138 (Paul Skansi). Further, having reached the 18-game minimum five weeks ago, Williams now ranks No. 1 on the UW career yards-per-game list by a large margin. With his average of 99.7 yards per game during his career thus far, he's nearly 34 yards per game better than Brian Slater's former mark of 65.9.

UW Career Receiving Yards             No.  Yds.  Avg.  TD 1. Reggie Williams (2001-present)   132  2,194  16.6  14 2. Mario Bailey (1988-91)           131  2,093  15.9  26 3. Jerome Pathon (1995-97)          125  2,063  16.5  16 4. Scott Phillips (1973-76)         111  1,866  16.8   8 5. Paul Skansi (1979-82)            138  1,723  12.5  13 6. Brian Slater (1985-88)            87  1,648  18.9  16 7. Lonzell Hill (1983-86)           103  1,641  15.9  16 8. Spider Gaines (1975-78)           66  1,529  23.2  16 9. Todd Elstrom (1998-2001)          95  1,422  15.0   910. Orlando McKay (1988-91)           96  1,407  14.7  13

UW Season Receiving Yards No. Yds. Avg. TD 1. Jerome Pathon (1997) 69 1,245 18.0 8 2. Reggie Williams (2002) 77* 1,221 15.9 11 3. Andre Riley (1989) 53 1,039 19.3 4 4. Mario Bailey (1991) 62 1,037 16.7 17 5. Reggie Williams (2001) 55 973 17.7 3 6. Tom Scott (1971) 35 820 23.4 6 7. Dave Williams (1965) 38 795 20.9 10 8. Eric Bjornson (1994) 49 770 15.7 7 9. Jim Krieg (1970) 54 738 13.7 210. Brian Slater (1988) 38 737 19.4 7* 77 receptions are a school record

E.T.'s Returns: After spending last season primarily as a return man, Charles 'E.T.' Frederick has excelled as both a returner and receiver in 2002. His 36 catches are fourth on the team while his 545 receiving yards rank No. 2 on the club. He's also set a school record for kickoff returns with 28 (breaking Steve Jones' 1988 record of 24). Furthermore, his 575 kickoff return yards are third-most in Husky history, one yard behind No. 2 Jim Krieg (576 yards in 1970) and 51 yards back of record-holder Toure Butler (626 in 1998). Frederick's 789 career kick return yards are ninth in Husky history, well short of Steve Bramwell's mark of 1,443 (set from 1963-65).

Ware Moving Up: Despite entering the year with only eight career receptions, senior tight end Kevin Ware has put his name on the list of the top tight ends ever at the UW, a school that has earned the reputation as 'Tight End U'. Ware's 39 receptions this season are second-most in Husky history by a tight end. His five touchdowns (he had none prior to this year) are tied for fifth in UW career history. His 448 receiving yards this year are fourth in single-season history while his 572 career yards are ninth on the career chart. His 47 career catches rank in a tie for 10th all-time.

D.J. Picking Up the Pace: Sophomore cornerback Derrick Johnson entered the Oregon State game two weeks ago, making his 13th career start and his 21st appearance. In that time, he had one interception. Two weeks later, he has five, thanks to back-to-back two-pick games vs. OSU and Oregon. Johnson's five interceptions in 11 games this year (0.45 per game) rank in a tie for 19th in the NCAA. Johnson, who started three games plus the Rose Bowl as a freshman in 2000, almost had his career ended when he suffered a major foot injury during off-season training. He sat out the 2001 season recovering.

Like Father, Like Son: Perhaps the only true freshman that's expected to play this year, at least at this point, is cornerback and return man Nate Robinson. The diminutive (5-foot-9) Seattle native brings a great legacy with him to the UW as his father, Jacque Robinson, was an outstanding tailback for the Huskies in the early 1980s. The elder Robinson still ranks No. 7 on the UW career rushing list (2,300 yards) after finishing his career ranked No. 4. He led the Huskies in rushing in 1982 and 1984 and was a freshman when he was named MVP of the UW's 28-0 win over Iowa in the 1982 Rose Bowl. He capped his career by earning MVP honors in the 1985 Orange Bowl, a 28-17 win over Oklahoma. Nate, who also intends to play basketball at Washington, is the only UW freshman to play this season, starting on kick returns. Robinson has also become a starter at cornerback, starting each of the last four games.

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