Sept. 12, 2005
The Game: The Washington football team (0-1 in the Pac-10, 0-2 overall) returns to Husky Stadium for the second of three straight home games this Saturday, Sept. 17, as Idaho visits for a 12:30 p.m. game. The Vandals are 0-2 overall, having lost to Washington State and UNLV. Following the Idaho game, the Huskies remain in Seattle as they play host to Notre Dame on Sept. 24. After that, the Huskies play two straight road games, at UCLA on Oct. 1 and at Oregon on Oct. 15.
Huskies vs. Vandals History: Washington and Idaho have a long history of football, mainly due to the fact that the two universities were both a part of the Pacific Coast Conference for many years. Idaho was a PCC member from 1922-1942 and again from 1945-1958, when the league was broken up and re-formed as the AAWU. The Huskies and Vandals didn't play one another every year during their seasons together in the PCC, but did play often. Washington is 33-2-2 all-time against Idaho, losing the teams' first-ever meeting (12-6, Oct. 27, 1900, in Spokane) and the fifth meeting (8-0, Oct. 30, 1905 in Moscow). The ties came in 1907 (0-0 in Seattle) and 1938 (12-12 in Seattle). Only two of the 38 all-time meetings have been played in Moscow and only two others in Spokane, meaning the Huskies are 31-0-2 all-time vs. the Vandals in Seattle. The Huskies have won 16 consecutive games against Idaho, dating back to the 1938 tie, and are undefeated (with two ties) in their last 32, dating back to the 1905 loss. Prior to 2000, the Huskies hadn't played Idaho since 1973. The game returned to the schedule as the 2000 season opener at Husky Stadium, when Willie Alderson's 82-yard TD run on the game's first play from scrimmage sent a scare in the UW. Washington led 20-13 at halftime, and scored 24 unanswered points in the second half to win, 44-20. In 2001, the two teams met in the second game of the season in the first game after the Sept. 11 attacks. Special teams touchdowns highlighted the day for the Huskies in a 53-3 win. Roc Alexander returned a kickoff 95 yards, Chris Massey returned a blocked field goal 69 yards for a score and Charles Frederick took a punt back 87 yards for a touchdown. In 2002, the Huskies ran out to a 28-0 lead late in the second quarter and won, 41-27. Cody Pickett threw for 438 yards and three TDs while Idaho quarterback Brian Lindgren was 22-for-38 for 309 yards and two scores. In their most recent meeting, Sept. 20, 2003, the Huskies posted a 45-14 win. After Terry Johnson recovered a fumble in the endzone to give the UW a 7-0 lead, Idaho tied it on a Michael Harrington TD pass. However, the UW never trailed. Rich Alexis rushed for 116 yards and two scores on 22 carries and Pickett completed 20 of 29 passes for 234 yards. In that game alone, eight different UW players carried the ball, three different players saw time at quarterback and 12 different Huskies caught a pass.
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 46-7 record against non-Pac-10 foes in Husky Stadium. Those five losses have come to 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 2003 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 the 2003 loss.
Television: The Washington-Idaho game will not air on live TV. The game will be shown on tape delay Sunday, Sept. 18 at 3 p.m. on FSN Northwest, with Brian Davis and Sonny Sixkiller on the call. During the season, all remaining Husky games will air on FSN on tape delay Sundays at 3:00 p.m. 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 26 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.
Take A Kid To The Game: Area youngsters will have an opportunity to experience the college game-day atmosphere when the University of Washington hosts NCAA Football's seventh annual Take a Kid to the Game program on Saturday, September 17, 2005. Kids will receive a free ticket with the purchase of a full-priced adult ticket, to watch the Huskies take on the Idaho Vandals at Husky Stadium. Washington is one of more than 200 schools across the nation that are participating in this campaign focused on attracting more of the nation's youths to college games. The Take a Kid to the Game program is entering it ninth year in the promotion of NCAA Athletics. Tickets for this game can be purchased at the Husky ticket office. For more information, contact the Husky ticket office at 206-543-2200.
Yearbooks: The 2005 Washington Football Yearbook will be distributed free to the first 7,000 fans this Saturday at the marketing tents located inside Husky Stadium. The 72-page, full-color book contains information on the 2005 Husky players and coaches.
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. While 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 28 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 51 on Dec. 30, served as the head coach at Stanford (1995-2001) and Notre Dame (2002-2004) over the past decade. His Stanford teams enjoyed a 44-36-1 record while he was 21-15 with the Fighting Irish, including a 38-3 victory against Washington last season at Notre Dame Stadium. 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.
Pac-10 Double Dip: Having spent seven seasons as head coach at Stanford, Tyrone Willingham becomes 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).
Both Sides Of The Field: Tyrone Willingham will get the opportunity to pull off the somewhat rare feat of coaching a matchup from both sides in consecutive years this season when the Huskies take on Notre Dame Sept. 24 at Husky Stadium. Last year, Washington traveled to South Bend, where Willingham's Irish squad handled the Dawgs in a 38-3 win. The situation, however, is somewhat familiar to Husky fans, however. In 1999, in the UW's third game under coach Rick Neuheisel, Washington beat Colorado (Neuheisel's former team), 31-24. However, the Huskies hadn't previously played the Buffs since the 1996 Holiday Bowl. Facing his former school will not be a new experience for Willingham. While at Notre Dame he coached against Stanford, his first stop as a head coach, and Michigan State, his alma mater.
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 47-29 against Pac-10 teams. Interestingly, his teams have struggled the most against Washington, as he's gone 1-6 against his new charges. Here's Willingham's record against each Pac-10 team: Arizona (2-3), Arizona State (4-3), California (7-1), Oregon (4-1), Oregon State (3-4), Stanford (3-0), UCLA (3-4), USC (4-6), Washington (1-5), Washington State (6-2).
Coaching Staff: Washington's new coaching staff, under first-year head coach Tyrone Willingham, includes a number of names that might be familiar to more 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 last season were held over as well, lending more than a little familiarity. Defensive line coach Randy Hart is now working for his fifth different head coach as a member of the Husky staff while linebackers coach Chris Tormey, is beginning his 15th season at the UW, spread over three different stints. Aside from those three, several other UW coaches have 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, and defensive backs coach Steven Wilks can't trace their coaching roots through the Pac-10.
The GAs: Washington's two graduate assistant coaches this season are Kyle Benn (offense) and Joey Hildbold (defense). Benn earned four letters as a center and was a captain on the 2001 team. That season, he was one of only two players named to the All-Pac-10 and Academic All-Pac-10 first teams. He is in his second season as a G.A. at his alma mater. Hildbold, a 2003 graduate of Notre Dame, was a punter for the Irish from 1999 to 2002. He was a two-time finalist for the Ray Guy Award, given to the nation's top collegiate punter.
Washington-Idaho Ties: As is always the case whenever the UW played Idaho, there are a lot of connections between the two coaching staffs. Four Husky coaches have previously worked at Idaho. Husky linebackers coach Chris Tormey, who played at Idaho, graduating in 1978, was an assistant in Moscow in 1982 and 1983 and then served as the Vandals' head coach from 1995 to 1999. Husky wide receivers coach Eric Yarber, who also played at Idaho, graduating in 1985, began his coaching career as defensive backs coach under Tormey in 1996. Yarber was the Big Sky MVP as a senior in 1985, when he caught 75 passes for 1,103 yards. UW offensive coordinator Tim Lappano worked at Idaho from 1982 to 1985, working alongside Tormey for some of that time, during which Yarber also spent his two seasons in an Idaho uniform. Finally, Husky defensive coordinator Kent Baer held the same job at Idaho in 1986. Idaho head coach Nick Holt spent a total of eight seasons as an assistant coach for the Vandals (1990-1997), including three under Tormey. Idaho assistant heac coach Jeff Mills also worked on Tormey's staff, both at Idaho and at Nevada. Mils served two years as a graduate assistant at Washington (1990-91). Washington's roster does not include any players from Idaho. The Vandals, however, list 18 players from the state of Washington in their media guide roster. Several UW and UI players attended the same high school: UW's Kim Taylor and Idaho's Jason Lee Brown and Marcus Fennell (Long Beach Poly); UW's Tim Williams and Idaho's Kurt Newboles (W.F. West); and UW's J.R. Hasty and E.J. Savannah and Idaho's Tracy Ford (Bellevue).
Huskies vs. WAC Teams: With its recent move to the Western Athletic Conference, Idaho has more than doubled the number of games the Huskies have played against WAC teams. The Huskies have played 17 games against WAC teams other than Idaho and 37 (33-2-2) against the Vandals, who were in the Sun Belt Conference the last time they faced the UW, in 2003. The Huskies have played as many games against San Jose State (eight games) as against the other nine current members of the Western Athletic Conference, combined. Washington has never played against current WAC members Boise State, Louisiana Tech or New Mexico State. The Huskies are 9-0 vs. San Jose State (including a win last season), 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 in 1904; 53-12 in 1998). Combined, Washington boasts a 47-5-2 (.889) all-time record vs. the current members of the Western Athletic Conference.