Oct. 5, 2009
THE GAME: After two straight Saturdays on the road, the Washington football team (2-3 overall and 1-1 in the Pac-10) returns to Seattle and to Pac-10 Conference play. This Saturday, the Dawgs play host to Arizona (3-1 overall, 1-0 Pac-10) in a 7:00 p.m. game at Husky Stadium. FSN-Northwest will broadcast the game live. Washington is coming off of back-to-back road losses at Stanford and Notre Dame the last two weeks after having played three straight at home to open the season. Arizona, which beat Oregon State on the road in its most recent game two weekends ago in Corvallis, comes to Seattle after having had a week off. Washington has closed out its non-conference schedule after last Saturday's heart-breaker at Notre Dame and will play only Pac-10 games the rest of the way. Next weekend, the Dawgs travel to Arizona State and the following week (Oct. 24), the Huskies host Oregon before a bye week on Oct. 31.
GAME THEMES vs. THE WILDCATS: Has any team in the nation played as rugged a schedule as Washington has thusfar? According to the NCAA, the answer is "no." The UW's five opponents this season are a combined 21-4 as LSU is 5-0 and Idaho, USC, Stanford and Notre Dame are all 4-1 ... two of those four total losses have, of course, come vs. Washington ... the UW's remaining seven opponents this year have a combined record of 19-13 heading into this Saturday's game ... Washington has returned a fumble for a TD in each of the last two games as Justin Glenn scored on a 51-yard return at Stanford and Desmond Trufant scored from 17 yards out at Notre Dame ... on both occasions, the fumble was the result of a backwards pass on attempted screen play ... fans at UW games this year have witnessed some accurate field-goal kicking ... Husky kicker Erik Folk has hit 9-of-10 this year while UW opponents are a combined 13-for-13 ... Folk hit a game-winner vs. USC with 0:03 on the clock and then sent last Saturday's game into overtime with a tying kick with 0:06 remaining.
TELEVISION: The Washington-Arizona game will air live to a regional audience on FSN Northwest with Tom Glasgow, Mack Strong, Jen Mueller and Jason Stiles providing the commentary. Additionally, "Huskies All-Access" airs each Wednesday evening on FSN. 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 Chuck Nelson are joined by sideline reporter Elise Woodward. Many game broadcasts will also be carried on XM Satellite Radio on channel 193, 194 or 195 and can be heard over the internet via the Dawg Channel at gohuskies.com.
ALL NEW STAFF: Every member of the UW's 2009 coaching staff is in his first season (at least of this stint) with the Huskies, meaning the entire staff, including graduate assistants, is new. According to research conducted by Utah State's sports information department, Washington is one of only two Division I FBS schools this year with an entirely new staff, including GAs (Utah State is the other). Auburn, Iowa State, Miami (Ohio), New Mexico and Toledo also have new full-time staffs, but retained at least one GA from the previous season.
HUSKIES vs. WILDCATS HISTORY: Washington holds a 16-8-1 edge in the series against Arizona, with the Huskies taking nine of the last 14. Overall, the Huskies are 31-21-1 all-time against the Arizona schools (Arizona and Arizona State). Last season in Tucson, Arizona TE Rob Gronkowski tied a school record with three touchdown receptions as the Wildcats won, 49-19. Nic Grigsby also rushed for 119 yards fro the Cats. In 2007 in Seattle, the Wildcats, behind quarterback Willie Tuitama, completed an impressive comeback and beat the UW 48-41 despite Jake Locker rushing for 157 yards and passing for 336. In 2006 in Tucson, the Huskies took a 21-3 lead in the second quarter and won, 21-10. In 2005, also in Tucson, Isaiah Stanback's dramatic, 69-yard bomb on the last play of the first half and 200 rushing yards from James Sims led the Huskies to a 38-14 win. In recent years, the series has been marked by very close games recently. In fact, the six UW-Arizona games prior to 2005 were decided by a total of 31 points, with the most lopsided result (a 31-21 Arizona win) coming in 2004. That year, the Wildcats overcame a 13-9 halftime deficit, out-scoring the Huskies, 14-0, in the second half for the win. In 2003, Arizona snapped a string of 13 straight home losses in conference play by pulling out a late, 27-22 victory. In 2002, it was the Huskies who rallied late when Reggie Williams scored on an 80-yard reception with only 2:03 remaining in the game. In 2001, Cody Pickett ran in from three yards out with 13 seconds left to cap an amazing day. Only two weeks after separating his right (throwing) vs. USC, Pickett broke the UW record with 455 passing yards as the Huskies won, 31-28. Also included in the recent close contests are Washington's come-from-behind, 35-32 win in 2000 in Seattle (Marques Tuiasosopo scored with 1:10 left forthe win a week after Curtis Williams was injured at Stanford), and the 1998 31-28 `Cats win, which may be the most memorable game in the series' history. Trailing 28-24 to Washington with under a minute to play, Arizona quarterback Ortege Jenkins flipped head over heels over three Husky defenders, landing on his feet in the end zone for the winning score. Close wins for Arizona are the rule in this series. Three of the Wildcats' nine in the series have come by three points, including Arizona's first-ever win over Washington in 1988, snapping the Huskies' six-game unbeaten streak in the series. The Wildcats overcame two 10-point deficits, but still appeared headed for a tie before Washington quarterback Cary Conklin fumbled in the final minute, setting up Doug Pfaff's game-winning 22-yard field goal with five seconds left. The Wildcats won again by a field goal the following year. In his sixth season as a head coach, Arizona's Mike Stoops is 3-2 against Washington.
WASHINGTON-ARIZONA TIES: There is really just one connection between the UW coaches and the Arizona staff. It comes in the form of UA defensive tackles coach Mike Tuiasosopo, who is a cousin of Manu Tuiasosopo, father of former Huskies Zach and Marques Tuiasosopo and uncle to current Dawgs linebacker Trenton Tuiasosopo. Arizona's current roster includes three players from the state of Washington: OT Adam Grant (Puyallup), RB Kevin Morris (West Seattle), WR Brad Posten (Spokane/Lewis & Clark). Washington's roster lists only two Arizonans: cornerback Matt Mosley (Tempe/Corona del Sol) and Kurt Mangum (Chandler). Huskies and Wildcats that went to the same high school: Husky center Gregory Christine and Arizona's Vaughn Dotsy both attended St. Bonaventure High in Ventura, Calif., while Husky receiver Anthony Boyles and Arizona's Sione and Apaiata Tuihalamaka were classmates at L.A.'s Serra HS. Husky LB Tim Tucker and Arizona OL Eric Bender-Ramsay were classmates last year at L.A.'s Narbonne High while UW DE Talia Crichton and Wildcats LB Trevor Erno both played at Lakewood (Calif.) High last season. Lastly, Husky kicker Erik Folk's older brother, Nick, was a standout punter at placekicker at Arizona, finishing his college career in 2006.
THIRD-DOWN & RED-ZONE SUCCESS: One hallmark of the current season for the UW has been its success on third down and in the red zone. The Huskies currently rank seventh in the nation with a third-down conversion rate of 54.43 percent (43-of-79). Their 43 successful conversions are the second-most of any team in the country. In the red zone, Washington has scored 18 of 20 times this season, with only a lost fumble and a loss of downs marring a perfect record. That 18-for-20 mark (.900) rates 28th (tied) in the country.
PLAYING THE FRESHMEN: Washington has utilized a total of 10 true freshmen this season as TB Demitrius Bronson, DE Talia Crichton, S Nate Fellner, CB Anthony Gobern, WR James Johnson, DE Andru Pulu, TB Cole Sager, DT Semisi Tokolahi, CB Desmond Trufant and LB Jordan Wallace have all seen action this year. Among that group, Crichton, Johnson and Trufant have all started at least one game. Last season, a school-record 12 true freshman played for the Huskies, with nine of them starting at least one game. This season's total of 10 betters the total number of nine true freshmen who played in 2003 and in 2000 and matches the second-highest total in school history - 1997, when the UW also utilized 10 freshmen.
NATION'S TOUGHEST SCHEDULE TO DATE: According to this week's NCAA rankings, Washington's schedule to date ranks as the toughest in the nation among 238 Division I (both FBS and FCS) teams. That's based on the fact that the Huskies' five opponents thusfar have a combined record of 21-4 (the NCAA lists UW opponents at 18-2, which doesn't include their 3 wins and 2 losses vs. the UW). Following Washington in the top-10 toughest schedules to date are No. 2 Michigan State, No. 3 Arizona, and No. 4 Fresno State. Wake Forest and Florida State are tied for the fifth spot while Virginia Tech and Iowa are tied for seventh. No 9 Georgia is followed by Arkansas and Cornell, who are tied at No. 10.
CAPTAINS: At the "Raise the Woof!" kickoff celebration held on Aug. 28, the four captains for the 2009 season, as voted by their teammates, were revealed. They are senior LB Donald Butler (Sacramento, Calif.), junior QB Jake Locker (Ferndale, Wash.), senior DE Daniel Te'o-Nesheim (Waikoloa, Hawai'i) and junior C Ryan Tolar (Pasco, Wash.). Te'o-Nesheim was also voted as a season captain in 2008.
PLAYING AT HOME: Washington has gone unbeaten at home 13 times in its history, including six times in the last 20 seasons. Washington has won 81 of its last 123 (.663) games at Husky Stadium with one tie (81-41-1). Since 1980, the Huskies stand 129-52-2 (.710) at home. Since 1990, the Huskies are 50-29-1 (.631) at Husky Stadium vs. Pac-10 opponents.
HISTORIC HUSKY STADIUM: The 2009 season marks the 90th season of play in Husky Stadium. Original construction on the facility was completed in 1920 when Washington played one game in the new campus facility. Thanks to several major renovations, Husky Stadium's seating capacity has increased to its current total of 72,500. UW's all-time record in Husky Stadium currently stands at 346-164-21 (.671).
FAMILY TIES: As is the case with most seasons of Husky football, there are a number of players on the Washington football team related to either current or former Huskies. Linebacker Trenton Tuiasosopo is a first cousin of former Huskies Marques and Zach Tuiasosopo as well as older sister, Leslie, a standout Husky volleyball player and now an assistant coach for the UW volleyball team, and younger sister Ashley, a junior on the Husky softball team. Fullback Paul Homer is a cousin, by marriage, of former Husky offensive lineman Aaron Dalan, who married former Washington women's basketball player Gena Pelz. Cornerback Matt Mosley is a cousin to former Husky Luther Carr. Outside linebacker Fred Wiggs is the younger brother of former Husky defensive lineman Sekou Wiggs, while tailback Chris Polk and wide receivers Jordan Polk are cousins. Freshman linebacker Jordan Wallace is the younger brother of former Husky safety C.J. Wallace, who now plays for the Seattle Seahawks. Another freshman, Talia Crichton, is a cousin of senior DE Daniel Te'o-Nesheim while sophomore tailback Johri Fogerson is related to both Nate Robinson (former UW football and basketball player; current New York Knick) and former Husky basketball standout Dion Brown. Lastly, freshman quarterback Keith Price is a cousin of former UW tailback Jelani Harrison. Incidentally, at least four Huskies have close family ties to Washington State. Both T.J. Poe's and Cameron Elisara's fathers played at WSU, as did Husky cornerback Desmond Trufant's brother Marcus. Freshman safety Nate Fellner is the grandson of former WSU head coach Jim Sweeney.
RANDOM NOTES: Washington's roster includes player from 14 different states (based on where the player completed high school): Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Hawai'i, Idaho, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Washington ... Washington has a long tradition of great Polynesian players; this year's roster includes 18 players of Samoan, Tongan or Hawai'ian descent: Kalani Aldrich, Jonathan Amosa, Talia Crichton, Cameron Elisara, Johri Fogerson, Ronnie Fouch, Mykenna Ikehara, Senio Kelemete, Kimo Makaula, Andru Pulu, Alameda Ta'amu, Daniel Te'o-Nesheim, Everrette Thompson, Tobias Togi, Semisi Tokolahi, Anthony Tokunaga, Trenton Tuiasosopo and Nate Williams.