At Long Last, Dawgs Set To Open Season This Saturday Night
THE GAME: The Washington football team opens the 2020 season this Saturday, Nov. 7, at California. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m. and the game will air on ESPN. The long-awaited start to the Pac-12 season is also the first game for new head coach Jimmy Lake, who was named to the role in Dec. of 2019. Lake has spent the last six seasons on the UW defensive staff, with two years each as defensive backs coach, co-defensive coordinator and defensive coordinator. The Huskies have lost close games to Cal each of the last two seasons: 12-10 in 2018 in Berkeley and 20-19 last season, in a game that featured a two-hour, 39-minute lightning delay. Following the trip to Cal, the Huskies play back-to-back home games: Nov. 14 vs. Oregon State and Nov. 21 vs. Arizona.
QUICK HITTERS: Saturday will mark the 100th UW-California game ... UW and Cal are the only two programs that have been in what is now the Pac-12 Conference since its inception in 1916 ... UW lists just four returning starters on offense and just five on defense ... however, that doesn't accurately depict the returning experience ... 13 different players have started at least one game on offense and 11 on defense, with those 13 offensive players accounting for 115 career starts and the 11 defensive players for 93 ... of the 110 active players on the current UW football roster, just under half (54) are freshmen or redshirt freshmen, and an additional 33 are sophomores, meaning that 85 players have two or more years of eligibility remaining (not even taking into account this season's paused eligibility) ... the UW roster includes 11 juniors, 11 seniors and one graduate student ... UW has earned a bowl berth 10 years in a row, the longest such streak in the Pac-12, with the Huskies playing in nine different bowl games over that span ... the UW has gone 71 games in a row without allowing an opponent to score more than 35 points, the longest such streak in the nation.
TELEVISION: The UW-California game will air on ESPN with Dave Flemming (play-by-play), Rod Gilmore (analyst) and Allison Williams (reporter) on the call. Fans can also watch via various ESPN platforms, including espn.com/watch and the ESPN app.
RADIO: Radio coverage of the 2020 Husky Football team along the Washington Sports Network from Learfield IMG College is already underway. The Jimmy Lake Show is a one-hour weekly show featuring the Huskies' head coach, airing live on Wednesday nights from 6-7 p.m. PT. On game day, live coverage begins four hours before kickoff with Husky Gameday hosted by Dave 'Softy' Mahler, Dick Baird and others. Castricone, Huard and Elise Woodward will call the play-by-play of the games.
All shows are available live on flagship station SportsRadio 950 KJR, the Washington Sports Network, and the Huskies Gameday mobile app, as well as available on demand on the GoHuskies Podcast.The Cal broadcast of the game will also air on Sirius (137) and XM (197) satellite radio, while the UW broadcast can be found on XM 395 and, via the internet, Sirius/XM 974.
HUSKIES vs. GOLDEN BEARS HISTORY: Washington and California are the only two teams that have played in what is now the Pac-12 Conference in every season since the league was founded in 1916. As that would indicate, they've played one another quite often. The Huskies hold a 54-41-4 record in the 99-game, all-time series, which began in 1904. Washington has won nine of the last 13 after Cal had won five in a row (2002-2006).
The Bears have won the last two, though. Last year, in a game that featured a two-hour, 39-minute lightning delay and ended at 1:23 a.m., Cal won, 20-19. UW's Peyton Henry hit a 49-yard field goal with 2:05 to go, but the Bears countered with a 17-yarder with just eight seconds left for the win. Two years ago, the Huskies fell in 12-10, in a defensive struggle in Berkeley. The game featured just 27 first downs and 492 yards of total offense between the two teams, combined. Cal's only TD came on an interception return. Three years ago in Seattle, UW held Cal to 93 yards of total offense in a 33-7 win. In 2016 in Berkeley, Jake Browning threw for six TDs and 378 yards on 19-for-28 passing to lead UW to a 66-27 win. John Ross totaled 208 receiving yards and Dante Pettis added 104 more, while each scored three TDs. In 2015 in Seattle, Cal built a 27-7 lead over the UW and then held the Huskies off for a 30-24 win. In 2014 in Berkeley, a 100-yard fumble return from Shaq Thompson and an 86-yard pass to Ross were the key plays in a 31-7 Husky win.
In 2013 in Seattle, UW earned a 41-17 victory behind 241 rushing yards from Bishop Sankey and 376 passing from Keith Price. In 2012, the UW earned a 21-13 win thanks largely to second-half TDs from Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Sankey. In 2011 in Seattle, the Huskies held on a late goalline stand to preserve a 31-23 victory as Price threw for three TDs in the Pac-12 opener. In 2010 in Berkeley, the Huskies beat the Bears, 16-13, on the final play of the game, a one-yard run from Chris Polk. In 2009, the Huskies closed out their season with a 42-10 win over the Bears in Seattle. Jake Locker passed for 248 yards and three TDs and rushed for 77 and two more scores. In 2008, Cal won in Berkeley, in another season finale as Jahvid Best ran for 311 yards and four TDs in a 48-7 Bears win. In 2007, the 37-23 Husky victory broke a streak of five straight Cal wins in the series.
Prior to that five-game losing streak, the Huskies had won 19 consecutive games in the series, a streak that began with a 50-31 win in 1977. Before 2002, the last Cal win had come in 1976. Cal and UW first met in 1904, battling to a 6-6 tie in a game played in Seattle. In both 1915 and 1916, they played one another twice each year, with unbeaten Gil Dobie's Washington team sweeping the four games. In 1917, Cal broke the UW's 63-game unbeaten streak (still an NCAA record) with a 27-0 win in Berkeley. Other big games in the series include the 1937 game, when the unranked Huskies held No. 1 Cal to a 0-0 tie in Seattle. In 1991, the Bears probably came as close as anyone to beating Washington that national championship season, as Mike Pawlawski's last-gasp pass into the endzone was batted down in a 24-17 UW win. Washington has also posted four of its nine biggest comebacks in history against California. The biggest ever was in 1988, when the Dawgs trailed 27-3 before rallying to win, 28-27. In 1981, Washington was down 21-0 in the third quarter before coming back for a 27-26 victory. A 20-point comeback in 1993 (24-23) and a 14-point rally in 1999 (31-27) also rank on the list. In 2001, the Huskies trailed 21-7 in the first quarter, but came back to earn a 31-28 victory in Berkeley.
HUSKIES vs. BAY AREA SCHOOLS: Washington has a combined, all-time record of 110-85-8 vs. opponents from the San Francisco Bay Area. Washington is 55-41-4 against Cal, 43-43-4 vs. Stanford, 10-0 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 60-20-0 vs. Bay Area teams: 28-7 vs. Cal, 24-13 vs. Stanford and 8-0 vs. San Jose State.
OPPONENTS 35-AND-UNDER: Washington hasn't allowed an opponent to score more than 35 points in a game since a 44-30 loss at UCLA in 2014 – one of only three games in the last six years that an opponent has scored more than 35 points. That's a streak of 71 games in a row that the Huskies' opponent has failed to score more than 35. In that 71-game stretch, Husky foes have scored 30 or more just 11 times (of those 11, five were exactly 30 points) and have been held to 14 or fewer points 31 times. In that same span of 71 games, the UW has scored more than 35 points on 29 occasions. No other team in the FBS has a current streak longer than 50 games.
RETURNING STARTERS: While the official number of "returning starters" this year for Washington includes just five defensive and two offensive players, a deeper look at the numbers reveals a lot more experience. In fact, not counting specialists (UW returns its starting placekicker and holder), Washington has 13 current players who have started at least one game on offense, and 11 who have started on defense – though obviously most of those were not the primary starter at any one position last season. Those 24 individuals have started 208 career games, collectively.
YOUTH: Washington's roster remains on the young side. Of the 110 current active players, one less than half – 54 – are freshmen or redshirt freshmen. Washington's roster includes one graduate student, 11 seniors, 11 juniors, 33 sophomores, 21 redshirt freshmen and 33 true freshmen.
SEASON OPENERS: Washington is 88-36-6 all-time in season openers, good for a mark of .700. Since 1989, Washington has posted an 18-12 record in season openers – 11-1 at home, 7-9 on the road, 0-2 neutral site. Last year, Washington beat Eastern Washington, 47-14. In 2018 in Atlanta, the Huskies fell to Auburn, 21-16. In 2017, the Huskies opened with a 30-14 win at Rutgers, who they also beat in Seattle to begin the 2016 season. The year before, the Huskies fell, 16-13, at Boise State. In 2014, the UW beat Hawai'i, 17-16, in Honolulu, while in 2013, Washington beat Boise State, 38-6, in the UW's return to newly renovated Husky Stadium. In 2012, the Huskies beat San Diego State, 21-12, at CenturyLink Field, and in 2011, the Huskies beat defending NCAA Division I FCS Champion Eastern Washington, 30-27, for the UW's first season-opening win since 2007. In the 29-season span dating back to 1989, the Huskies have opened vs. a ranked team 13 times (5-8): 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), at No. 2 Ohio State in 2003 (L, 28-9), at No. 21 Oregon in 2008 (L, 44-10), vs. No. 11 LSU in 2009 (L, 31-23), vs. No. 19 Boise State in 2013 (W, 38-6), at No. 23 Boise State in 2015 (L, 16-13), neutral vs. No. 9 Auburn in 2018 (L, 21-16).
DEFENSE vs. BIG PLAYS: The UW allowed just seven scrimmage plays of 40 or more yards all of last season, the eighth-lowest total (tied) in the nation. The median for 40-plus yard plays was 14. The Huskies allowed just two plays over 50 yards, the third-lowest (tied) total (the median was seven). The year before, the Huskies gave up just ONE scrimmage play of 40 or more yards all season. No other FBS team allowed fewer than four and 102 teams allowed 10 or more that year. In 2017, the UW also led the nation with fewest 40-yard scrimmage plays allowed (3) and were second in fewest 30-yard plays (14). They were tied for 5th and 2nd, respectively, in 2016.