Cougar Football Travels to USC for Saturday Contest

Sept. 21, 2009

PULLMAN, Wash. -

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Washington State Cougars (1-2, 0-1) at
USC Trojans (2-1, 0-1)
September 26 • Los Angeles Colisuem • 7:15 p.m.
Radio: Cougar Sports Radio Network

SATURDAY'S GAME: Washington State looks for its first win against USC since 2002 and its first conference win of the 2009 season when it travels to Los Angeles to face the Trojans (2-1) Saturday at 7:15 p.m. The game is the first road contest of 2009 for the Cougars, who opened the campaign with three home games, including one against Hawaii at Qwest Field in Seattle. Saturday's contest will be televised to a national audience by FSN, with Barry Tompkins, Petros Papadakis and Michael Eaves calling the game.

WASHINGTON STATE vs. USC - THE SERIES: The Cougars have a record of 8-56-4 against the Trojans dating back to 1921. In games played in Los Angeles the Cougars are 4-37-2, having lost the last two meetings. WSU's last road victory at USC came during the 2000 seaosn, a 33-27 win. The Cougars have lost each of the last six games to USC, with the Trojans recording a 69-0 win last season in Pullman. That loss snapped a scoring streak of 280 games for WSU, then the second-longest active streak among FBS schools and the fourth-longest all-time. WSU's last win in the series came in 2002, a 30-27 overtime victory in Pullman.

PUNT FORREST, PUNT: Junior Reid Forrest continues to be a bright spot for the Cougars' special teams. So far this season he has attempted 17 punts, averaging 45.5 yards per kick, with a career-best 64-yarder in the opener against Stanford. Two weeks ago against Hawaii he averaged 46 yards per punt with a long of 62, his fifth punt this season over 50 yards (he has since added a sixth last week against SMU). Forrest has moved into WSU's all-time list for both career punts and career punting yards. His 5,810 career punting yards rank ninth on the Cougars' all-time list while his 140 career punts are ninth all-time at WSU.

COUGAR DEFENSE GETS TWO SCORES AGAINST SMU: Redshirt junior linebacker Alex Hoffman-Ellis and redshirt junior Myron Beck each returned interceptions for touchdowns last Saturday against SMU, sparking the Cougar comeback. Hoffman-Ellis went 52 yards near the end of the third period and Beck brought WSU to within seven points early in the fourth when he raced 67 yards to payday. The two interception returns for a touchdown tied the school record. WSU returned two interceptions for touchdowns twice in 1987, against Wyoming (Sept. 12) and against Arizona (Oct. 24).

COMEBACK WIN LARGEST SINCE 1994: WSU's come-from-behind, 30-27 overtime win against SMU marked the largest comeback by a Cougar squad since the 1994 season. The last time WSU overcame a 17-plus point deficit to win the game was against California Oct. 29, 1994, when the Cougars trailed California by 18 points in the first quarter (20-2), and came back to win 26-23.

NOTABLES FROM SMU: Sophomre Marshall Lobbestael earned his first start of the season and responded with a career-best 239 passing yards... the Cougar defense forced its seventh and eighth fumbles of the season, recovering one...WSU's five recoveries in 2009 are also more than in all of 2008 (three)...the Cougar defense intercepted four passes on the day...the last time the Cougars intercepted four passes was against Oregon State in 2008 (Oct. 11)...freshman defensive end Travis Long's sack in the first quarter was the first of his career...redshirt freshman defensive tackle Anthony Laurenzi also recorded the first sack of his career in the second quarter...junior wide receiver Daniel Blackledge's second-quarter touchdown was the first of his career.

ANDERSON TO FOCUS ON TRACK CAREER: Washington State University junior wide receiver Jeshua Anderson decided to leave the Cougar football team this past Tuesday and focus solely on his track endeavors. 'This is a decision I have been thinking about for quite a while and at this point I want to focus all my attention on track,' said Anderson. Anderson has played in both games this season, catching four passes for 66 yards. For his career he has played in 26 games, 13 as a starter, catching 48 passes for 743 yards and four touchdowns. 'If you want to be the best in the world you have to commit to that year-round and I fully respect his decision,' said Wulff. On the track Anderson is a two-time Pacific-10 Conference, NCAA West Regional and NCAA champion in the 400-meter hurdles. He earned outdoor All-America honors twice and indoor All-America recognition once, and holds the school record in the 400m hurdles (48.47 seconds) and 4x400m indoor relay (3:06.74). He finished ninth at the 2008 Olympic Trials and fifth at the 2009 USA Outdoor Championships.

LONG ROADTRIP AHEAD: Following last Saturday's home game against SMU, the Cougars have embarked on a part of their schedule that sees them play five of their next six games on the road. Following contests at USC and Oregon, WSU returns home to host Arizona State. After a bye the next week, the Cougars play their following three games on the road at Cal, Notre Dame (San Antonio) and Arizona. All added up, WSU will be away from Martin Stadium for 35 days.

TARDY RUSHING FOR A FIRST: Redshirt senior running back Dwight Tardy is looking to become the first known running back in school history to lead WSU in the statistical category in four consecutive seasons. Dating as far back as 1942, only three backs have led WSU in rushing in three consecutive seasons: Tardy (2006-08), Shaumbe Wright-Fair (1990-92) and Tim Harris (1980-82). So far this season Tardy has rushed for 117 yards, an average of 39.0 ypg, second on the team to James Montgomery's 55.7 average.

THE 107-YEAR STREAK: Last week's game against SMU was the first meeting between the two schools. The Cougars have not lost to a first-time opponent in Pullman since Oct. 18, 1902, a span of 23 games over 107 years. WSU is 20-0-3 since a loss to Pacific (Ore.) at the newly-named Rogers Field in 1902, when the team was referred to as the 'Farmers' and the school was called Washington Agricultural College and School of Science. The loss to Pacific is the only blemish in 25 first-time meetings with a school in Pullman.

2011 HAWAII GAME REMOVED FROM SCHEDULE: The 2011 meeting between Washington State and Hawaii has been removed from the Cougars schedule to allow for flexibility in the Pac-10 Conference schedule that year, said WSU Director of Athletics Jim Sterk. 'The conference is looking at ways to create an off week during a 12-game schedule and this allows us the opportunity to adjust accordingly,' said Sterk. The two teams entered into a three-game agreement which began in 2008 and will continue Saturday at Qwest Field. The third game was scheduled to be played at the end of the 2011 campaign; instead WSU will pay the $300,000 buyout stipulated in the contract.

NOTABLES FROM HAWAII: Junior wide receiver Jeffrey Solomon had team-highs of six receptions and 71 yards against the addition to his 118 yards on the ground, James Montgomery added a 10-yard reception and 78 yards in kickoff returns for 206 yards of all-purpose the first start of his career, linebacker Alex Hoffman-Ellis had a game-high-tying nine tackles, including five solo and two TFLs...junior punter Reid Forrest continued his strong start, averaging 46 ypp on four kicks, with a long of 62.

FIRST STARTS: Continuing a trend from last season, the Cougars had eight players make their first-career against Stanford. On offense, Gino Simone and Zack Williams made their first-career starts for the Cougars, and on defense, Travis Long, Bernard Wolfgramm, Josh Luapo, Jason Stripling, Brandon Jones and LeAndre Daniels made their first starts as Cougars. Against Hawaii two more joined the fray as Alex Hoffman-Ellis and Casey Hamlett, both defensive players, opened the first series. Three more newbies arrived against SMU as Jeffrey Solomon on offense and Daniels Simmons and Dan Spitz defensively opened the game. In 2008 26 players registered their first start for WSU, 17 on offense and nine on defense.
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