Sept. 26, 2011
THE GAME: The Washington football team (3-1 overall, 1-0 Pac-12) makes its first-ever trip to Salt Lake City to face Utah (2-1, 0-1 Pac-12) this Saturday at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Neither team is currently ranked, but both are receiving votes in both polls. The game will kick off at 5:00 p.m. MT/4:00 p.m. PT and air live on ROOT Sports in the Northwest (FSN nationally). Washington hasn't face the Utes since 1979 and have never played them away from Husky Stadium. The Dawgs opened Pac-12 play with a 31-23 victory over California last Saturday while Utah, which routed rival BYU 54-10 in its most recent game, had a bye week. After the game at Utah, the Huskies have a bye week of their own before returning to action Oct. 15 vs. Colorado.
QUICK SNAPS: UW quarterback Keith Price has thrown 14 touchdowns in three games, tying him with Bowling Green's Matt Schilz for the national lead ... just one more TD pass will place Price in the top 10 in UW single-season history ... if Price were to maintain his current pass efficiency rating of 176.6, he would easily surpass the school record (153.8, Brock Huard, 1997) ... at .670, he's also well ahead of the UW season record for completion percentage (.650, Steve Pelluer, 1983) ... Price is ninth in the nation in pass efficiency ... tailback Chris Polk had his string of five straight 100-yard games broken vs. Cal, and therefore still has 14 career 100-yard games, third-most in UW history (Napoleon Kaufman had 17; Greg Lewis had 15) ... with 2,983 career rushing yards, Polk needs just 17 more to reach 3,000 in his career, joining Napoleon Kaufman (4,106) and Joe Steele (3,158) as the only backs in Husky history ever to reach that benchmark ... seven different Huskies have caught a touchdown pass this year while only one (Polk) has scored a rushing TD ... six true freshmen have played this year for the UW: S James Sample, TB Bishop Sankey, TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, DT Danny Shelton, OLB John Timu and WR Kasen Williams.
TELEVISION: The Washington-Utah game will air live to a national audience on FSN (ROOT Sports in the Northwest). Ron Thulin, former Husky and NFLer J.C. Pearson and Jeremy Bloom will provide the commentary. Additionally, "Huskies All-Access" airs each Wednesday evening on ROOT Sports. The program is an up-close look at each Husky game, with features, one-on-one interviews and sideline video.
RADIO: The Washington ISP Sports Network, with its flagship station KJR 950-AM, will carry the live broadcast of every football game on 16 Northwest radio stations. Longtime play-by-play man Bob Rondeau and color analyst Damon Huard are joined by sideline reporter Elise Woodward. Many game broadcasts will also be carried on SiriusXM Satellite Radio and can be heard over the internet at gohuskies.com.
ENTIRE STAFF RETURNS FOR THIRD SEASON: The UW's entire full-time coaching staff returns, in tact, for a third straight season in 2011. Dating back to the mid-1950s, before which records are incomplete, the 2011 season marks the first time in Husky history that the entire coaching staff has remained the same for three straight years. Last year's feat of returning an entire staff for just two straight years marked the first time that had happened at the UW since the 1989 and 1990 seasons.
HUSKIES vs. UTES HISTORY: Owing to the fact that Utah is new to the Pac-12 Conference this year, the Huskies and Utes have a limited history against one another. In fact, Washington has played Utah only six times, winning all six, with each meeting coming in Seattle. The first game ever between the two came Sept. 26, 1931, the opening game of the year as Washington edged the visitors, 7-6. The Utes returned for another season opener in 1949, when the UW outgained Utah, 388-114, in a 14-7 victory. Washington scored another seven-point win in 1953 with a 21-14 decision and then posted another 7-6 victory the following year in yet another opener. In 1959, a Husky team that ended the year 10-1 with a Rose Bowl win, beat the Utes, 51-6. Most recently, on Sept. 15, 1979, 14th-ranked Washington beat Utah, 41-7, on the way to a 10-2 season that was capped by a Sun Bowl win over Texas. The UW had an interception return for a TD from Bruce Harrell, and Kyle Stevens returned a kickoff 95 yards for a score in that game.
WASHINGTON-UTAH TIES: The primary ties between the UW and Utah coaching staffs center mainly around Utes offensive coordinator Norm Chow. Husky head coach Steve Sarkisian played under Chow at BYU in 1995 and 1996, and then served on the same coaching staff at USC alongside Chow. Husky defensive coordinator Nick Holt was also a member of the USC coaching staff when Chow worked for the Trojans under Pete Carroll. Utah receivers coach Aaron Roderick played at BYU in 1996, when Sarkisian was the Cougars QB. Crossover between the two teams' playing rosters is much more limited. Utah has no Washingtonians on its roster while the UW has just one player from Utah: senior linebacker and captain Cort Dennison, who went to Salt Lake City's Judge Memorial High. Utes DB Lewis Walker and P Sean Sellwood both attended Judge Memorial. Other Huskies and Utes who went to the same high school: UW's Hau'oli Jamora and Utah's Kaeo Alo, Afa Bridenstine, Tavita Finau and Nai Fotu (Kahuku); UW's Mike Criste and Utah's Sean Fitzgerald (Mission Viejo); UW's James Johnson and Utah's Trevor Reilly (Valley Center); UW's Andrew Hudson, Marquis Persley and Chris Polk and Utah's Tyler Shreve (Redlands East Valley)
WASHINGTON vs. UTAH TEAMS: Washington has faced three opponents from the state of Utah: Utah, Utah State and BYU. The Huskies are 6-0 vs. the Utes, 2-0 vs. Utah State and 4-4 vs. BYU, good for an overall record of 12-4 against teams from the Beehive State.
SEVEN OUT OF EIGHT: Washington enters this week's game at Utah having won seven out of eight games. The last time the Huskies had won seven out of eight was during the 2001 season, when Washington began the season 7-1. That year, the Huskies won their first four games of the season (stretching a win streak from the previous season to 12 games) before losing at UCLA on Oct. 13, 2001. After that UCLA loss, Washington reeled off wins over Arizona, ASU and Stanford before falling at Oregon State.
THE PAC-12: This season, the Pac-10 Conference has added Utah and Colorado to expand to the Pac-12. Washington, which along with California is one of two schools who have been in the conference since its founding in 1915, will play in the Pac-12 North, along with the other three Northwest schools (Oregon, OSU, WSU) and Stanford and California. Under current plans, each school will play all five division rivals, plus four of six teams in the other division each season. This year, the Huskies will not face UCLA or Arizona State. The last time that Washington didn't face UCLA in a season was in 1992 (when the Pac-10 schedule was eight games). The UW didn't face Arizona State in 2003 or 2004.
CAPTAINS: At the end of the spring practice season, the four captains for the 2011 season, as voted by their teammates, were revealed. They are senior linebacker Cort Dennison (Salt Lake City, Utah), senior wide receiver Jermaine Kearse (Lakewood, Wash.), senior offensive tackle Senio Kelemete (Seattle, Wash.) and senior defensive tackle Alameda Ta'amu (Kent, Wash.). Kelemete was also voted as a season captain in 2010. The team also names two game captains each game. Here's a list of those:
EWU: Cody Bruns, Greg Walker
Hawai'i: Desmond Trufant, Marlion Barnett
Nebraska: Travis Feeney, Everrette Thompson
California: Kevin Smith, Evan Zeger
FINISHING FIRST OR SECOND: UW has finished either first or second in the conference (including ties) in 18 of the last 34 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 175-53-3 (.764) when a Husky player rushes for 100 yards in a game. So far this year, the UW is 2-1 in such games (Chris Polk has rushed for 100 in all three).
HISTORY LESSON: Successfully rushing the football and winning go hand-in-hand for the Huskies. Since 1990, UW has rushed for 200 yards in a game 76 times. The Huskies' record stands at 64-12-1 (.838) in those contests. Since 1995, UW is 39-9-1 (.806) when rushing for 200 yards.
HUSKY STADIUM RENOVATION: Husky Stadium will undergo a massive renovation following the 2010 season. In fact, in order to aid the project, the Huskies will play this season's Apple Cup vs. Washington State Nov. 26 at CenturyLink Field (home of the Seahaws), meaning the Nov. 5 game vs. Oregon will be the final game in the "old" Husky Stadium. The Seattle icon was first opened in 1920. Upper decks were added in the 1950s (south) and 1980s (north). Renovations will completely remake the lower bowl and the south deck. The stadium track will be removed and an operations center for the football team will be built into the west end. For much more information, including a virtual look from every seat in the new stadium, photo galleries and more, go to huskystadium.com.