Aug. 25, 2008
The Game: The Washington football team opens the 2008 season with a game that not only counts in the Pac-10 standings, but comes against one of its biggest rivals. Saturday night at 7:00 p.m. PDT, the Dawgs take on Oregon at Autzen Stadium in Eugene. The game will air live on FSN television. The Huskies' schedule, which features five games against teams in the preseason Associated Press top-25 poll, has been rated as the toughest in the nation. After the game against the Ducks, who were ranked 21st in the preseason AP rankings and 20th in the coaches' poll, the Dawgs return home for three straight games, against No. 16 Brigham Young, No. 4 Oklahoma and, after an off week, Stanford. Last year in Seattle, the Ducks and Dawgs were tied at 31-31 through the first three quarters before the Ducks pulled away for a 55-34 win.
Huskies vs. Ducks History: Washington leads the all-time series against the Ducks with 58 wins, 37 losses and five ties. While the series of games played in Eugene has the Ducks enjoying a 13-12 edge all-time (Oregon's home games vs. the UW were played in Portland for many years), the Huskies are 31-18-4 against their cross-border rivals in games played in Seattle. This Saturday's game at Autzen Stadium will mark the Huskies fifth game in Eugene in seven meetings. The teams played in Seattle in 2003 and again last year, but played in Eugene in 2000, 2002, 2004 and 2005. The teams didn't play each other in 2001, the first break in the series since 1943, when Washington played only military opponents. The Ducks have had the edge of late, winning nine of the last 13 against the Dawgs. The Huskies, however, have won nine of the last 18, 15 of the last 26 and 21 of the last 33. Last year in Seattle, the Huskies and Ducks were tied at 31-31 after three quarters before Oregon pulled away in the final period for a 55-34 win. Two seasons ago at Autzen, Ducks tailback Jonathan Stewart led the way, rushing for 159 yards and two TDs as Oregon won, 34-14. The Huskies' last win at Oregon, in 2002, was a 42-14 UW win. Trailing 14-0, the Dawgs scored 42 unanswered points behind a career day from Reggie Williams (14 receptions, 198 yards, 3 TDs). Washington and Oregon first met on the football field in 1900, a 43-0 Oregon win in Eugene. The Huskies got their first win in the series in the next meeting, a 6-5 victory in 1903. From 1974 to 1993, Washington won 17 of 20 meetings, though Oregon has taken seven of the last 11. The series also features one of the biggest year-to-year turnarounds in college football history as the Ducks beat the Huskies, 58-0, in 1973 and then lost at the UW, 66-0, the following year. Thirteenth-year Oregon head coach Mike Bellotti is 8-4 vs. Washington. While at Stanford, Husky head coach Tyrone Willingham compiled a 4-1 record against the Ducks. Willingham's Cardinal squads beat the Ducks 28-21 in 1995 at Eugene, 27-24 in 1996 at Stanford and 58-49 in 1997 at Stanford before the Ducks posted their first win over Willingham, a 63-28 victory in 1998 in Eugene. The Cardinal and Ducks didn't play in 1999 or 2000, but Willingham got a 49-42 victory in Eugene in his final season at Stanford. That loss was Oregon's lone defeat in 2001. Combined with two losses to the Ducks while at the UW, Willingham is 4-4 against Oregon. All of Willingham's eight games against Oregon have been head-to-head vs. Bellotti.
Television: The Washington-Oregon will air live on to a national audience on FSN with Barry Tompkins, Petros Papadakis and Bill MacDonald providing the commentary. Additionally, "Huskies All-Access" airs Thursday 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 Husky Sports Network, with its flagship station KJR 950-AM, will carry the live broadcast of every football game to three different states and British Columbia, Canada, on 21 different 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 194, 195 or 196 and can be heard over the internet via the Dawg Channel at gohuskies.com.
Washington-Oregon Ties: While there's barely any crossover between the UW and UO coaching staffs, many Husky and Duck players have played with or against one another in their high school days. As far as coaches go, the only connection is that Ducks defensive line coach Michael Gray worked at Oregon State along with Husky offensive coordinator Tim Lappano. Washington's current roster includes just two players from the state of Oregon: RS-freshman OL Scott Shugert, from Oregon City; and freshman WR Jordan Polk of Portland. Polk is a year younger than fellow Lincoln HS grad Elvis Akpia, a RS-freshman wideout at Oregon. The Ducks' roster, however, includes five Washingtonians: WR Rory Cavaille (Shelton/Shelton), OL Nick Cody (Brush Prairie/Hockinson), OL C.E. Kaiser (Veradale/Central Valley), HB David Paulson (Auburn/Riverside) and P Josh Syria (Wenatchee/Wenatchee). A large of other Huskies and Ducks went to the same high school, mostly in California: Husky DE Daniel Te'o-Nesheim and Duck Max Unger played together at Hawaii Prep while UW long snapper Danny Morovick and Oregon DE Nick Reed and DL Dominic Glover all graduated from Mission Viejo HS. UW kicker Erik Folk and Oregon OL Charlie Carmichael were classmates at Notre Dame High near Los Angeles while Duck Michael DiVincenzo was a year ahead of both at the same school. Freshmen Kurt Mangum (UW LB) and Dion Jordan (UO WR) were classmates last year at Chandler (Ariz.) High while the same goes for Husky TB Terrance Daily and Ducks LB Josh Kaddu at Vacaville (Calif.) HS. Though a year apart (and not related), Husky TB Brandon Johnson and Oregon rover Marvin Johnson played together at Dominguez High. Husky WR D'Andre Goodwin and Duck RB Andre Crenshaw were classmates at Antelope Valley HS in Lancaster. UW TB Willie Griffin and OT Allen Carroll both attended Oakland's McClymonds High along with Oregon's NaDerris Ward. Like many Pac-10 teams, both UW (Byron Davenport) and Oregon (Kenny Rowe) have a Long Beach Poly grad on their rosters.
Dawgs and the Northwest: Washington's oldest and longest rivalries are against the other three other northwest Pac-10 schools. The Huskies have faced Washington State 100 times, Oregon in 100 games and Oregon State on 91 occasions. Washington owns the advantage in all three series. The Huskies lead the Ducks 58-37-5, Washington State 64-30-6 and Oregon State 57-30-4. Combined, Washington has a 179-97-15 (.641) record against its northwest rivals. Washington has played all three of the Northwest teams in a season on 79 prior occasions. Over those 79 seasons in which Oregon, OSU and WSU were all on the UW schedule, the Dawgs have swept all three 28 times. In the meantime, the Huskies have lost to all three in the same season on only six occasions.
Back To Autzen ... Again: Last year, the Oregon Ducks played at Husky Stadium this Saturday for just the second time since 1999. This season will mark the Huskies sixth trip to Autzen Stadium in that same time span (the Huskies and Ducks didn't play one another in 2001). The Huskies have played host to the Ducks only four times in the last 11 years: 1997, 1999, 2003 and 2007. Washington traveled to Eugene in 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2005 and 2006. It's worth noting, however, that with Pac-10 teams playing a full league schedule, the series will alternate equally between Seattle and Eugene each year from now on.
Pac-10 Season Openers: Strange as it seems now, there was a spell in the 1990s when the Huskies regularly opened the season with a Pac-10 Conference game (as they do this year at Oregon). In fact, from 1991 to 1998, the Huskies began their season against a league foe every season but one (1997, when the UW opened at BYU). Washington hasn't had a conference game in its opening week since 1998. The Huskies went 5-2 in those games during that stretch. The UW opened with a win at Stanford in 1991, at Arizona State in 1992, vs. Stanford in 1993, vs. ASU in 1995 and at ASU in 1998. The two losses came at USC in 1994 and at ASU in 1996. Only two of those seven games were played at Husky Stadium.
Season Openers: Washington is 81-31-6 all-time in season openers, good for a mark of .712. Since 1989, Washington has posted an 11-7 record in season openers - 6-1 at home, 5-5 on the road, 0-1 neutral site. In that 18-season span, the Huskies have opened vs. a ranked team eight times: 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) and at No. 2 Ohio State in 2003 (L, 28-9).
Opening on the Road: Washington has opened its season on the road 12 times in the last 31 seasons (not counting the Air Force game in 2005, which was played at a neutral site (Seahawks Stadium) despite being Air Force's home game), and has gone 7-5 in those games. The most recent road opener was last season's 42-12 win over Syracuse in the Carrier Dome. In 2003, the Dawgs opened at defending champion and No. 2-ranked Ohio State, losing 28-9. The year before that, the Dawgs lost 31-29 at No. 13 Michigan. Prior to that was a 35-28 loss at BYU in 1999 in coach Rick Neuheisel's first game in charge of the Huskies. In 1998, the Huskies used the "Miracle in the Desert" (a 67-yard pass from Brock Huard to Reggie Davis on 4th-and-17 with 0:28 left) to beat Arizona State, 42-38, in a road opener. Others in the last 31 seasons: 42-20 win at BYU (1997), 45-42 loss at ASU (1996), 24-17 loss at USC (1994), 31-7 win at ASU (1992), 42-7 win at Stanford (1991), 20-6 win at Purdue (1988) and 34-0 win at Northwestern (1983).
Football In August: Obviously, playing college football games in August is becoming increasingly common. Still, this week's Aug. 30 date in Eugene ties for the earliest game in UW history, in terms of the summer/fall calendar. In 2003, the Huskies played at Ohio State on Aug. 30. The Huskies have also played in August in 2003 (31st, at Michigan) and last year (31st, at Syracuse).
The Ducks So Early?: To many, it seems like having the Huskies play the Ducks so early in the season - in the season opener, no less - is extremely unusual. That's because it is. Over the history of this border rivalry, the game has most often been played in the latter half of the season. In fact, only once in its history has Washington opened it season vs. Oregon, in 1945. That was also the first time the Huskies ever played the Ducks earlier than October (that game was on Sept. 29, 1945). With this Saturday's game kicking off on Aug. 30, it will mark the earliest UW-Oregon game in history by 23 days. The previous earliest meeting was on Sept. 22, 1979, the third game of that season.
Only The Big Boys: As of last season, Washington is one of just five NCAA Division I-A programs that has never faced a non-Division I-A opponent since the current division setup was established in 1978 (the division's names have undergone a change this year, but the setup is still the same). Both Michigan and Ohio State fell of the club as the Wolverines opened last season with Appalachian State and the Buckeyes vs. Youngstown State, both on the same day. The five schools that have yet to play a non-Division I-A opponent since the advent of the current format are Michigan State, Notre Dame, USC, UCLA and Washington.
The 100-Yard Factor: Since the 1947 season, Washington is 166-45-3 (.783) when a Husky player rushes for 100 yards in a game. The Huskies went 3-1 in such games in 2003, 1-1 in 2004, 2-3 in 2005, 2-1 in 2006 and 3-4 in 2007. In last year's season-opener at Syracuse, tailback Louis Rankin rushed for 147 yards in a 42-12 Husky win. Rankin had 255 in a win at Stanford and both Rankin and Brandon Johnson went over 100 in the win over Cal. However, the Huskies lost to Ohio State, Arizona and WSU despite 102, 157 and 103 yards, respectively, from Jake Locker, and lost at Hawaii despite 145 from Rankin.
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 71 times. The Huskies' record stands at 59-11-1 (.838) in those contests. Since the 1995 season, Washington is 34-8-1 (.802) when rushing for 200 yards. The UW was 3-3 in such games last year (wins vs. Syracuse, Stanford and Cal; losses to Arizona, WSU, Hawaii).
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 sophomore on the Husky softball team. Fullback Luke Kravitz' father Al, was a defensive end that lettered at the UW in 1970 and 1971. 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 and, freshmen Chris Polk and Jordan Polk are cousins. Lastly, freshmen Riley Gervais and Taylor Lappano are the sons of current Husky assistant coaches Steve Gervais and Tim Lapanno.