2006 Season Kicks Off Saturday Vs. Spartans

Aug. 28, 2006

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The Game: The 2006 Husky football season kicks off as San Jose State visits Husky Stadium for a 12:30 p.m. non-conference game this Saturday, Sept. 2, the earliest home opening date (tied) in Husky Stadium history. The 1995 home opener vs. Arizona State was also played on Sept. 2, as was the 2000 opener vs. Idaho. Following the San Jose State game, the Huskies make their first-ever trip to Norman, Okla., to take on No. 10-ranked Oklahoma. That game is a re-match of the 1985 Orange Bowl, when the Dawgs beat the Sooners, 28-17, in the only meeting ever between the two teams.

Huskies vs. Spartans History: Washington has won all nine of its games vs. San Jose State in a series that dates back to the 1958 season. All nine UW-SJSU games have taken place at Husky Stadium. In `58, the Huskies handed the Spartans a 14-6 loss. The two teams wouldn't face each other again until 1977, when a Rose Bowl-bound Husky team beat SJSU, 24-3. In 1988, the Huskies took a 28-0 lead before Johnny Johnson and the Spartans roared back to go in front, 31-28 in the fourth quarter. However, UW tailback Tony Covington scored from two yards out with 1:31 remaining to win the game 35-31. Johnson rushed for 217 yards, including a 64-yard TD, and also caught a 27-yard scoring pass. San Jose State put another scare into the Huskies in 1990's season opener. The Spartans tied the game at 10-10 in the third quarter before a Mike Dodd field goal and a Beno Bryant 52-yard punt return put the Huskies in front. Bobby Blackmon's 19-yard TD reception drew San Jose State within three for the final score of 20-17. In 1993, the Huskies posted their 16th straight home victory, cruising to a 52-17 win over quarterback Jeff Garcia and the Spartans. Washington rushed for 268 yards, including 118 from Napoleon Kaufman. Kaufman was at it again the following year when he rushed for a career-best 254 yards, including a 91-yard TD on the UW's first offensive play of the game. That run was the second longest in UW history. The game was nonetheless tied at 14-14 at half, but a late TD catch by Eric Bjornson and a 76-yard Kaufman TD closed it out with a 34-20 final score. In 1996, Husky Corey Dillon had perhaps the best offensive quarter by a tailback in college football history when he rushed for 222 yards and caught an 83-yard TD pass, all in the opening period. The 222 rush yards in a quarter and 305 all-purpose yards in a quarter are still NCAA records. The Huskies won the game, 53-10, and finished with a school-record 559 rushing yards. Three Huskies - Dillon (222 yards), Terry Hollimon (148) and Maurice Shaw (101) - rushed for 100 yards in the game. In 1992, the Huskies went into the locker room at halftime trailing 10-0, but rebounded with 34 unanswered points after the break for a 34-10 win. Most recently, the UW and SJSU squared off on Oct. 9, 2004, a 21-6 Husky win. Current Husky senior Kenny James rushed for a career-high 189 yards in the victory.

Television: The Washington-San Jose State game will not air on television, either live or on tape delay. The following two Huskies games are both scheduled for live TV: Sept. 9 at Oklahoma (ABC) and Sept. 16 vs. Fresno State (FSN). Additionally, 'Husky Football All-Access' airs each Thursday at 7:00 p.m. during the season on Fox Sports. The program is an up-close look at each Husky game, with one-on-one interviews and sideline video.

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 and British Columbia, Canada, on 22 different radio stations. Longtime play-by-play man Bob Rondeau and color analyst Chuck Nelson are joined by sideline reporter Elise Woodward. Most broadcasts will also be carried on XM Satellite Radio on channel 194, 195 or 196 and can be heard over the internet via the Dawg Channel at gohuskies.com, which is available for no charge this season.

The Coach: Tyrone Willingham was named Washington's 22nd head football coach on December 13, 2004. A former head coach at Notre Dame and Stanford, Willingham became the first African-American to serve as the Huskies head coach. Now in his second season at the UW, he brings an impressive resume with him to resurrect the Husky program, Willingham has acquitted himself well among his peers for much more than just fielding winning teams. Over the past 29 years Willingham has developed a coaching style that emphasizes toughness, enthusiasm, intelligence, discipline, commitment and unselfish play. The result has provided his players with more than just the opportunity to enjoy victories on the field. His guiding principles have prepared his players to be successful in life. Willingham, who turned 52 last Dec. 30, served as the head coach at Stanford (1995-2001) and Notre Dame (2002-2004) before coming to the UW. His Stanford teams enjoyed a 44-36-1 record while he was 21-15 with the Fighting Irish. In his inaugural season with the Irish in 2002, he wasted no time reversing the tide of the Irish program, leading Notre Dame to a 10-2 regular-season record and a trip to the 2003 Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Fla. He was named Sportsman of the Year by The Sporting News after the 2002 season, while also picking up several national coach of the year awards. Prior to his tenure at Notre Dame, Willingham directed the Stanford program for seven seasons. In 1999, the Cardinal won the Pac-10 and earned a trip to the Rose Bowl for the first time since 1972, earning Willingham Pac-10 Coach of the Year honors. He also led the Cardinal to the 1995 Liberty Bowl, the 1996 Sun Bowl and the 2001 Seattle Bowl. Willingham, who grew up in Jacksonville, N.C., played both football and baseball at Michigan State, earning three letters in both sports and was awarded the Big Ten Conference Medal of Honor as the outstanding scholar-athlete in the league. He began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at his alma mater in 1977 and, aside from his two previous head coaching stints, has served as a full-time assistant at Central Michigan, Michigan State, North Carolina State, Rice and Stanford, as well as with the Minnesota Vikings. Here's a look at Willingham's head coaching career:

Pac-10 Double Dip: Having spent seven seasons as head coach at Stanford, Tyrone Willingham became the second head coach in UW history (following his predecessor Keith Gilbertson, who also was the head man at Cal) to come to Washington after having been head coach at another Pac-10 school. In fact, it's relatively rare for a coach to have served in that capacity at more than one Pac-10 institution. In recent years, Bruce Snyder (California and Arizona State), Dennis Erickson (Washington State at Oregon State) and Larry Smith (Arizona and USC) have done it. Earlier examples include Tommy Prothro (Oregon State at UCLA) and Washington's own Leonard 'Stub' Allison, who coached one season at the UW (1920) before eventually spending 10 seasons as Cal head coach (1935-44).

Willingham vs. The Pac-10: Thanks mostly to his time at Stanford, but also via frequent games vs. western teams while at Notre Dame, Tyrone Willingham has amassed a lengthy record against Pac-10 teams. Overall, Willingham is 48-33 against Pac-10 teams. Interestingly, his teams have struggled the most against UW, as he went 1-6 against his current team. Here's Willingham's record against each Pac-10 team: Arizona (3-3), Arizona State (4-4), California (7-1), Oregon (4-2), Oregon State (3-4), Stanford (3-0), UCLA (3-5), USC (4-7), Washington (1-5), Washington State (6-3).

Coaching Staff: Washington's coaching staff, under second-year head coach Tyrone Willingham, saw little turnover from Willingham's first year with only one new assistant coach on this year's staff - secondary coach J.D. Williams, who came to the UW from California. Including Williams, the list of assistants includes a number of names that are familiar to savvy Pac-10 football fans. Willingham, of course, spent seven seasons in charge of Stanford, where he'd previously served as an assistant (1989-91) for three seasons. And, two members of the Husky staff from 2004 season were held over as well, lending more than a little familiarity. Defensive line coach Randy Hart is working for his fifth different head coach as a member of the Husky staff while linebackers coach Chris Tormey, is beginning his 16th season at the UW, spread over three different stints. Aside from those three, several other UW coaches came to Seattle with experience in or around the Northwest. Defensive coordinator Kent Baer has coached in the Pac-10 at California, Arizona State and Stanford, as well as at Idaho. Spokane native Tim Lappano previously worked at Idaho, Washington State, California, Oregon State and with the Seattle Seahawks. Receivers coach Eric Yarber, an Idaho grad, has spent time at his alma mater, with the Seahawks and at Oregon State while Mike Denbrock (offensive line) and Trent Miles (running backs) both worked one season each at Stanford. Only tight ends/special teams coach Bob Simmons, the former Oklahoma State head coach, doesn't trace his coaching roots through the Pac-10 before last year. Graduate assistant Joey Hildbold, a 2003 graduate of Notre Dame, is in his second season in that role. He was a two-time finalist for the Ray Guy Award, given to the nation's top collegiate punter, while at Notre Dame.

Washington-San Jose State Ties: There are a lot of ties between the UW and SJSU football teams. Starting with the coaching staffs, San Jose offensive coordinator and o-line coach Steve Morton was the Huskies' line coach for seven seasons (1992-98) and also worked on Husky LBs coach Chris Tormey's staff at Nevada in 2001. Tom Williams, currently SJSU's co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach, was the UW LBs coach for three seasons (1999-2001). Spartans' wide receivers coach Brent Brennan was a graduate assistant coach at the UW in 1999 while Huskies' first-year secondary coach J.D. Williams coached at San Jose in 1999. SJSU defensive ends coach Charlie Camp served on Tormey's staff at Idaho in 1998 and 1999, when Tormey was the Vandals' head coach. SJSU assistant Ken Margerum and UW's Trent Miles, both their team's running backs coach, were on the same staff at Hawaii in 1996. Margerum also coached at Hawaii Prep (1993-95), the alma mater of Husky DE Daniel Te'o-Nesheim. There is only one player from Washington listed on San Jose State's media-guide roster, WR Zak Latif from Lakewood/Lakes HS, the alma mater of Huskies Felix Sweetman and Anthony Russo. While there are many Californians on the Huskies roster, there are none from the San Jose area and only two from the Bay Area as a whole: CBs Matt Fountaine and Jordan Murchison (both from Oakland). Additionally, Husky linebacker Dan Howell and San Jose LB Brian Elledge were teammates at Hart High in Newhall, Calif. The UW's Chris Hemphill and SJSU's Jason Evans, both safeties, played together at Serra High in the L.A. area, while Spartans freshmen Carl Ihenacho and Jonathan Hardaway also graduated from that school. Murchison, the Husky CB, and San Jose's Taase Jennings were teammates at City College of San Francisco last season while UW receiver Sonny Shackelford and SJSU's Justin Paysinger and Donald Richardson are all graduates of Beverly Hills High.

Huskies vs. The WAC: The vast majority of Washington's all-time games against current members of the Western Athletic Conference have come against Idaho as the Huskies and Vandals have squared off 38 times. With a win last year, the UW is 34-2-2 vs. Idaho. Aside from Idaho, the Huskies have played as many games against San Jose State (nine) as against the other seven current members of the Western Athletic Conference, combined. Washington has never played against current WAC members Boise State, Louisiana Tech or New Mexico State and have eight games against the remaining WAC teams other than Idaho or SJSU. The Huskies are 9-0 vs. San Jose State, 1-1 vs. Fresno State (49-14 in 1979; 16-35 in 2004), 1-1 vs. Hawaii (1938 win and 1973 loss), 1-1 vs. Nevada (2-0 in 1903; 17-28 loss in 2003) and 2-0 vs. Utah State (45-0 win in 1904; 53-12 win in 1998). Combined, Washington boasts a 48-5-2 all-time record vs. the current members of the Western Athletic Conference.

Last Time vs. San Jose State: The last Washington-San Jose State game was played in Seattle on Oct. 9, 2004, a 21-6 UW victory. Quarterback Carl Bonnell, who had made his first career start the week before in a loss at Stanford, got the start again vs. the Spartans and rushed for 65 yards on the UW's opening 80-yard driving, capping it with a one-yard touchdown to give the home team a 7-0 lead. However, the Huskies were unable to score the rest of the first half while SJSU picked up a field goal from Jeff Carr to send the game to halftime with a 7-3 score. In the second half, with QB Casey Paus on in relief of Bonnell, tailback Kenny James widened the Huskies' lead with a 52-yard run in the third quarter, the last play of an 11-play, 99-yard drive. James also scored early in the fourth quarter on an 18-yard run and finished the day with 26 carries for 189 yards, 179 of which came in the second half. San Jose State's other three points came on a fourth-quarter field goal from Carr. The Spartans were held to just 133 total yards and 22 yards passing one week after they'd beaten Rice, 70-63, in the highest-scoring, non-overtime game in Division I-A history. Tyson Thompson rushed for 109 yards on 22 carries to lead the Spartans' offense, but despite completing 7-of-9 passes, QB Dale Rogers only threw for 22 yards.

Dillon's Big Day (1996 vs. SJSU): Probably the most memorable moment of the Huskies' all-time series vs. San Jose State came in the game on Nov. 16, 1996, when junior tailback Corey Dillon ran for 222 yards in the first quarter. That day, Dillon set new NCAA records for rushing yards in a quarter and all-purpose yards (305) in a quarter. Both marks still stand today. Dillon, who took himself out of the game after the opening period, also broke UW single-season records for rushing yards, all-purpose yards, rushing TDs and total TDs that year. In the first quarter, he rushed for touchdowns of four, 48 and 78 yards before catching a screen pass from Brock Huard and running it in from 83 yards out. That day, the Huskies broke school records for total offense (734 yards), rushing yards (559), most rushing yards per attempt (9.0) and had three 100-yard rushers for the only time in school history. Dillon, now in his ninth NFL season and his second with the New England Patriots this year, also once held the NFL single-game rushing record (278 yards) and still holds the NFL rookie single-game rushing mark (246).

Season Openers: Washington is 79-31-6 all-time in season openers, good for a mark of .707. Since 1989, Washington has posted a 9-7 record in season openers - 5-1 at home, 4-5 on the road, 0-1 neutral site. In that 16-season span, the Huskies have opened vs. a ranked team eight times: vs. No. 15 Stanford in 1993 (W, 31-14), at No. 17 USC in 1994 (L, 24-17), at No. 20 Arizona State in 1996 (L, 45-42), vs. No. 19 BYU in 1997 (W, 42-20) at No. 8 Arizona State in 1998 (W, 42-38), vs. No. 11 Michigan in 2001 (W, 23-18), at No. 12 Michigan in 2002 (L, 31-29) and at No. 2 Ohio State in 2003 (L, 28-9).

Home Openers: The Huskies are 83-26-5 in home openers (whether the first game of the season or not), a percentage of .750. That mark includes a 28-game streak of home opener wins that ran from 1908 to 1935. Before falling to Air Force in the 1999 home opener, Washington had won 13 straight since falling to Oklahoma State on Sept. 7, 1985. Washington fell to Fresno State in the 2004 home opener, which was also the season opener, and lost to Cal last season in the second game of the year, but first at home. The Huskies had posted wins over Indiana (2002) and San Jose State (2003) in the previous two years' openers. In 2001, the Huskies opened vs. No. 10 Michigan, beating the Wolverines, 23-18, in a mild upset. Husky coach Tyrone Willingham holds a career record of 6-4-1 in home openers while at Stanford (3-3-1), Notre Dame (3-0) and UW (0-1). His teams have won four of his last five home openers, losing to Air Force last season with the UW while beating No. 8 Michigan in 2004, Washington State in 2003 and Purdue in 2002 while at Notre Dame; and Boston College in his final season at Stanford, 2001.

Home vs. Non Conference: Washington has been very tough to beat in home, non-conference games over the last couple of decades or so. Going back to (and including) the 1981 season, the Huskies have posted a 46-8 record against non-Pac-10 foes in Husky Stadium. Those eight losses have come to Notre Dame (2005), Fresno State (2004), Nevada (2003), Air Force (1999), Nebraska (1997), Notre Dame (1995), Colorado (1989) and Oklahoma State (1985). The wins during that stretch include victories over No. 11 Michigan in 2001, No. 4 Miami in 2000, and No. 12 Nebraska in 1992, to name just three. Prior to the 2004 loss to Nevada, Washington hadn't lost a home game to a non-league opponent since falling to Air Force, 31-21, on September 18, 1999. The Huskies had won 10 such games before that Nevada loss.

vs. Bay Area Schools: Washington has a combined, all-time record of 96-70-8 vs. opponents from the San Francisco Bay Area. Washington is 46-36-4 against Cal, 39-33-4 vs. Stanford, 9-0 vs. San Jose State, 1-1 vs. St. Mary's and 1-0 vs. Santa Clara. The Huskies haven't played Santa Clara since 1935 and St. Mary's since 1947. Since 1977, UW is 46-7-0 vs. Bay Area teams: 19-4 vs. Cal, 20-3 vs. Stanford and 7-0 vs. San Jose State.

Improved? Here's Some Proof: While the Huskies' record of 2-9 last season wasn't a truly significant improvement over the previous year's 1-10, it's worth noting that the UW showed marked improvement in a number of key statistics. The Huskies did demonstrably better in both the passing and rushing games, they scored more and they cut down significantly on turnovers. What's more is that the Huskies played only two ranked opponents in 2004 (No. 1 USC, No. 5 Cal) while the 2005 Dawgs have faced five ranked opponents. Here's a look at some key statistics, with the the 2004 and 2005 final totals:

                                       2004           2005Points (avg. per game)           154 (14.0)     237 (21.5)Rushing Yards Allowed (avg.)  2,020 (183.6)  1,577 (143.4)Pass Efficiency Rating                78.73         123.30Pass Completion Percentage            40.1%          52.5%Interceptions Thrown                     24              8Fumbles Lost                             18             12Total Turnovers                          42             20

Decade After Decade: Washington has won a conference title and a trip to the Rose Bowl in each of the last nine decades, dating back to the 1920s when Washington won the berth in 1923 and 1925. In the 1930s, the Dawgs won the `36 title. In the `40s, Washington earned the trip in 1943 and then barely slipped in under the wire in the 1950s, winning the 1959 crown. The Huskies won two Rose Bowl berths in the 1960s -- 1960 and 1963 -- and one in the 1970s (1977). Titles in 1980 and 1982 did it for that decade and three straight trips to Pasadena to begin the 1990s covered that 10-year span. Now in the 2000s, UW was the first team to earn Rose Bowl berths in nine straight decades. USC joined the Dawgs in that distinction in 2004 after their New Year's Day appearance in Pasadena.

Finishing First or Second: Despite a 10th-place finish in the Pac-10 in 2004 and 2005, Washington has finished either first or second in the conference (including ties) in 18 of the last 29 seasons, dating back to a fourth-place finish in 1976. Over that span, Washington has won the championship (outright or shared) eight times - 1977, 1980, 1981, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1995 and 2000 - while finishing second 10 other times.

The 100-Yard Factor: Since the 1947 season, Washington is 161-40-3 (.796) when a Husky player rushes for 100 yards in a game. The Huskies went 3-1 in such games in 2003, 1-1 in 2004 and 2-3 last season after Louis Rankin rushed for 112 yards in the loss to Air Force, 115 in the win over Idaho, 109 in the loss at UCLA, and James Sims ran for 140 in the loss at Arizona State and 200 in the win at Arizona.

History Lesson: Successfully rushing the football and winning go hand-in-hand for the Huskies. Since 1990, Washington has rushed for 200 yards in a game 63 times. The Huskies' record stands at 55-7-1 (.895) in those contests. Since the 1995 season, Washington is 30-4-1 (.871) when rushing for 200 yards. However, this year, the Huskies have rushed for 200 yards on three occasions, but have gone only 1-2 in those three (the lone win coming last week at Arizona).

Playing at Home: Washington has gone unbeaten at home 13 times in its history, including six times in the last 16 seasons. Washington has won 74 of its last 100 (.745) games at Husky Stadium with one tie (74-25-1). Since 1980, the Huskies stand 122-36-2 (.769) at home. Since 1990, the Huskies are 47-18-1 (.720) at Husky Stadium vs. Pac-10 opponents.

Historic Husky Stadium: The 2005 season marks the 86th 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 339-147-21 (.689).

Captains: Washington will not have season-long captains again this year. Instead, Coach Tyrone Willingham will name game captains each week. Each game's set of captains will be informed of the honor the Friday before each game. A list of each games captains will be compiled here.

Degrees of Success: Last June, a total of 14 current Husky football players participated in graduation ceremonies at the UW. While all remain enrolled and none have technically collected their diplomas, all have completed their coursework. Additionally, two former Husky wide receiver greats earned their undergraduate degrees last June: Mario Bailey and Spider Gaines. Here's a list of the 14 current UW football players who went through graduation ceremonies last June (the list doesn't include Dan Milsten, who is acting as a student coach after his playing career was cut short by injury): DE Brandon Ala, PK Michael Book, OG Stanley Daniels, CB Matt Fountaine, CB Dashon Goldson, TB Kenny James, DT Donny Mateaki, CB Josh Okoebor, FB Mark Palaita, TB Shelton Sampson, QB Isaiah Stanback, QB Felix Sweetman, OG Clay Walker and OLB Scott White.

Family Ties: As is the case with most seasons of Husky football, there are a number of players on the Washington football team related to either current or former Huskies. Linebacker Trenton Tuiasosopo is a first cousin of former Huskies Marques and Zach Tuiasosopo as well as older sister, Leslie, a standout Husky volleyball player and now an assistant coach for the UW volleyball team. Senior cornerback Matt Fountaine's older brother, Jamal, was a four-year letterman defensive lineman in the early 1990s at the UW. Fullback Luke Kravitz' father Al, was a defensive end that lettered at the UW in 1970 and 1971. Freshman fullback Paul Homer is a cousin, by marriage, of former Husky offensive lineman Aaron Dalan, who married former UW women's basketball player Gena Pelz. Freshman defensive end is the younger brother of former Husky defensive lineman Sekou Wiggs, and finally, safety Chris Hemphill and cornerback Roy Lewis are cousins.

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