Cougars Open Home Season Hosting Idaho

Sept. 5, 2006

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It will be the 89th Battle of the Palouse Saturday, Sept. 9, when the Washington State Cougars host the Idaho Vandals at Martin Stadium. Gametime is 12:45 p.m. and FSN Northwest will be on hand to telecast the game live throughout the Northwest.

Both teams will be looking to break into the win column, WSU coming off a 40-14 loss to No. 4 Auburn last Saturday, while the Vandals fell at Michigan State 27-17.

Saturday's renewal of the long-standing rivalry that started in 1894 with a 10-0 WSU win also marks the return to the Palouse of former Cougar head coach Dennis Erickson, who took over the Idaho program last spring. Erickson guided WSU through the 1987 and 1988 seasons, including WSU's 24-22 win over Houston in the 1988 Aloha Bowl. Erickson also guided the Idaho football fortunes from 1982 through the 1985 season.

The Cougars opened their 2006 season last Saturday at Auburn, falling to the No. 4 Tigers, 40-14. WSU held a 7-6 lead late in the first quarter as Alex Brink connected with Jason Hill for a two-yard score. In the third quarter the Cougars closed to within 12 at 26-14 following a 50-yard touchdown pass from Gary Rogers to Cody Boyd, but they drew no closer.

DeMaundray Woolridge had a strong start to the game, gaining 86 first-half yards on just nine carries, including a 42-yard run to the Auburn two yard line that set up WSU's first score. Woolridge left the game late in the first half with a deep thigh bruise and did not return.

VANDAL'S ERICKSON BACK A SECOND TIME: Dennis Erickson's connections to the Palouse are many...Erickson's father Pinky Erickson was a member of Jim Sweeney's first three WSU teams, 1968-69-70...Dennis was later an assistant for Sweeney at Fresno State (1976-77)...he also was an assistant, 1979-81, for former Cougar Jack Elway while the latter was at San Jose State...Erickson received his head coaching start at Idaho, guiding the Vandals to a 32-15 record in four seasons, 1982-85...he then spent the 1986 season as Wyoming's head coach, then took over for Jim Walden at WSU...after a 3-7-1 season with the Cougars in 1987, he guided WSU to a 9-3 record and an Aloha Bowl victory in 1988...his quarterback both seasons was Timm Rosenbach, now WSU's QB coach.

NANSEN RETURNS TO MARTIN STADIUM: Idaho Vandal linebacker coach Johnny Nansen is no stranger to Martin Stadium...Nansen lined up wearing the Crimson and Gray during the mid-1990's, earning three varsity letters at linebacker for the Mike Price coached Cougars...Nanson, from Jordan High and Long Beach, Calif., started 17 of 32 games during his Cougar career and made 103 tackles.

PACIFIC-10 NOMINATIONS: WSU's Pacific-10 Conference award nominations after the Auburn game were DeMaundray Woolridge (offense), Scott Davis (defense) and Darryl Blunt (special teams)...Woolridge rushed for 86 yards on just nine carries, all in the first half...Davis had eight tackles, including a sack, to lead the defense while Blunt made his Cougar debut by averaging 42.1 yards per punt.

WSU'S FIRST FOUR GAMES IN DIFFERENT STADIUMS: When Washington State hosts the USC Trojans Sept. 30 in Pullman's Martin Stadium, the Cougars will have played four teams in four different stadiums...the Cougars begin play at Auburn at Jordan-Hare Stadium Sept. 2...WSU then hosts Idaho at Martin Stadium Sept. 9, followed by Baylor Sept. 16 in Seattle at Qwest Field (home of the Seattle Seahawks)...the fourth game is Stanford Sept. 23 at Stanford Stadium.

2006 WSU CAPTAINS: WR Jason Hill (83), QB Alex Brink (10), DE Mkristo Bruce (94), LB Scott Davis (42).

2006 IDAHO CAPTAINS: Idaho selects game captains each Thursday.

WSU 6-0 ON FSN NORTHWEST: WSU holds a 6-0 record in games televised exclusively by FSN Northwest...the list includes four games against Idaho, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, and games against Hawaii in 1999 and Montana State in 2001.

Cody Boyd GOES 50 YARDS: WSU senior Cody Boyd caught his first touchdown pass since his redshirt freshman year when he rambled 50 yards with a pass over the middle at Auburn...the 50-yard reception was also the longest of his career...Boyd finished the game with two receptions for 57 yards.

WOOLRIDGE EXPLODES IN FIRST HALF: Sophomore DeMaundray Woolridge was well on his way to a career game at Auburn when a deep thigh bruise sidelined him late in the first the first quarter Woolridge rushed for 62 yards with just five carries, then added 24 more yards before suffering the injury that shelved him for the rest of the game...he finished the game with 86 yards and nine carries, averaging 9.6 yards every time he touched the ball.

WSU HOPES TO TURN LATE LOSSES INTO WINS: Washington State jumped to a 3-0 record last fall, but then suffered a series of close losses in Pacific-10 contests before rallying for a second straight win over Washington to finish the season five of their eight Pac-10 games, WSU led in the fourth quarter but won only one of those addition, five of WSU's seven losses were by three or four points...this year the Cougars want to turn those close games into wins...the 2005 summary:

Oregon State - WSU led 30-16 at halftime and 30-23 going into fourth quarter, but OSU scored 21 fourth quarter points to win. Final: OSU 44, WSU 33.
Stanford - WSU lost by 3, but trailed by 10 mid-way through the fourth quarter. Final: Stanford 24, WSU 21.
UCLA - Tied 38-38 at end of regulation after WSU held a 38-28 lead going into fourth quarter; UCLA scored 17 unanswered points in fourth quarter to tie game. Final: UCLA 44, WSU 41, OT.
California - Cougars led 38-28 with less than nine minutes to play, but Cal scored 14 late game points to win by four points. Final: California 42, WSU 38.
USC - Trojans led 28-6 after first quarter and won easily. Final: USC 55, WSU 13.
ASU - ASU led 24-10 at halftime and 27-24 after three scoring in the fourth quarter. Final: ASU 27, WSU 24.
Oregon - WSU trailed 31-21 after three quarters, but pulled even with 10 points in the fourth quarter, only to have Oregon kick the winning field goal with one second left to play. Final: Oregon 34, WSU 31.
Washington - WSU led 19-14 after three quarters, but Washington scored early in final quarter for a 22-19 lead...Cougars scored with 1:20 left to win on a Brink to Trandon Harvey 39-yard pass play. Final: WSU 26, Washington 22.

COUGS HAVE RECENTLY PLAYED THE BEST: WSU has recently played each of the top five teams ranked by Associated Press in its current poll...the list includes a 2002 game at Ohio State (#1), a win over Texas (#2) in the 2003 Holiday Bowl, Pac-10 rival USC (#3), at Notre Dame (T-#4) in 2003 and at Auburn (T-#4) last week.

WSU NONCONFERENCE STREAK AT EIGHT: WSU has won eight straight nonconference football games in Pullman since a 38-34 loss to Idaho during the 2000 season.

WSU HAS WON LAST FIVE WITH IDAHO: The WSU Cougars have won five straight from Idaho and 19 of the last 21 games between the two schools...Idaho's only wins since 1965 were in 1999 and 2000...the Cougs won 14 straight between 1965-1999 and now the last five...overall since the series began in 1894, WSU holds a 68-17-3 advantage.

WSU VS. WAC: the Cougars are 20-17-1 against members of the Western Athletic Conference and 88-24-4 (.776) against current WAC schools...the Cougars have won seven straight against WAC schools.

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