Sept. 23, 2002
The Game: The Washington football team (2-1) continues its five-game homestand this week as Idaho (1-3) comes to Husky Stadium Saturday, Sept. 28, for a 12:30 p.m. game. This meeting marks the third straight year that the Huskies and Vandals have met at Husky Stadium. Prior to the 2000 game, they hadn't played since 1973. Washington, which remained No. 13 in both the Associated Press rankings and the ESPN/USA Today coaches' poll, is in the midst of a rare five-game homestand. After the Idaho game, the UW plays host to California and Arizona in its first two Pac-10 games of the season. Before the Huskies play USC in Los Angeles on Oct. 19, they will have gone 48 days without playing a road game.
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 31-2-2 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 35 all-time meetings have been played in Moscow and only two others in Spokane, meaning the Huskies are 29-0-2 all-time vs. the Vandals in Seattle. The Huskies have won 14 consecutive games against Idaho, dating back to the 1938 tie, and are undefeated (with two ties) in their last 30, 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. Last season, 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.
Home Winning Streak: Washington enters Saturday's game with the longest active home winning streak in the Pac-10 Conference at 16 games (Nebraska's 24-game home win streak is the nation's longest; Miami's 18-game streak is second-longest). The last time the Huskies lost a home game was a 28-7 defeat at the hands of Arizona State Oct. 16, 1999. The Dawgs won their remaining two home games that year, and won all six games at Husky Stadium in each of the last two years. This year, the Husky schedule includes seven home games, including five in a row in the early part of the season. The modern Husky record for consecutive home wins is 17, set between 1991 and 1993, so if the Huskies can win their first four home games, they'll set a new modern school record. Last year, Oregon ran its home win streak to 23 games before losing to Stanford at Autzen Stadium. The Pac-10 record for home win streak is 26 (California, 1919-23). The Huskies' all-time record is 44 straight home wins, set from 1908 to 1917 (mostly prior to the founding of the conference), in the midst of the UW's 63-game overall unbeaten streak, still an NCAA record. The 44-game home win streak was broken by a 0-0 tie with Oregon State in 1917, but the UW went on to win six more home games after that, extending their home unbeaten streak to 51 games. The 44-game home winning streak is still the sixth-longest in NCAA history.
Television: The Washington-Idaho game will not air on live television. However, it will air on tape delay on Fox Sports in the Northwest with David Locke and former Husky QB Sonny Sixkiller providing the call. The replay will air later on Saturday at 7:00 p.m., Sunday at 5:00 p.m. and again Monday at noon. A new show, "The Washington Football Experience" will air each Thursday evening during the season on Fox Sports. The new program is an up-close look at each Husky game, with one-on-one player interviews and sideline photography.
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 on 20 different radio stations. Longtime broadcast team Bob Rondeau (play-by-play), Chuck Nelson (color) and Bill Swartz (sidelines) provide the call.
Huskies vs. Sun Belt Conference Teams: Idaho is the only team from the Sun Belt Conference that has ever faced Washington on the football field. The Huskies have never played any of the six other current membes of the Sun Belt: Arkansas State, Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana-Monroe, Middle Tennessee State, New Mexico State and North Texas. Idaho, incidentally, is the only school from the state of Idaho ever to play against Washington as the Huskies have never met Boise State.
Washington-Idaho Ties: As one might expect among two Northwest schools, there are many connections between the Washington and Idaho football teams. UW offensive coordinator Keith Gilbertson was the Idaho coach for three seasons (1986-88), guiding the Vandals to a 28-9 record. Gilbertson was also the Vandals' offensive coordinator in 1985. Additionally, Husky defensive coordinator Tim Hundley coached three seasons at Idaho (1977-79), serving as defensive coordinator in the last of those three years. Idaho head coach Tom Cable was a senior offensive lineman at Idaho when Gilbertson was offensive coordinator and then served two years under Gilbertson as a graduate assistant in 1987 and 1988. Cable was also the offensive line coach at California when Gilbertson was the Bears' head coach. Cable was also the offensive line coach at Colorado under Neuheisel in 1998. Idaho offensive coordinator Bret Ingalls graduated from Snohomish (Wash.) High School, the same school as Gilbertson and where Gilbertson's father coached. Tight ends coach Brian Thure played at Cal under Gilbertson. Receivers coach Tarn Sublett is a former UW quarterback and was a graduate assistant at Washington in 2000, coaching the Husky receivers. Idaho's preseason roster included 25 players from the state of Washington. Junior WR Orlando Winston played at Garfield High along with Huskies Isaiah Stanback and Wendell Thompson and under current grad assistant Luther Carr. Other UI and UW players that were high school teammates: UI's Josh Jelmberg and Jeff Stowe with UW's Ryan Brooks at Richland High; UI's Nick Williams and UW's Jason Benn at O'Dea; UI's Brian Yarno and UW's Evan Benjamin at Redmond; UI's Kyle Stewart and UW's Kai Ellis at Kentridge; UI's Kurt Gregg and UW's Zach Tuiasosopo at Woodinville. The Husky roster includes only one player from Idaho -- quarterback Cody Pickett from Caldwell.
Wyoming Redux: Washington ran its home winning streak to 16 games on a record-setting night at Husky Stadium. The Huskies, despite four turnovers, out-gained the Cowboys, 549-255 (in terms of total offense), en route to a 38-7 win. The Huskies set a school record wtih 36 first downs, while Cody Pickett set new marks for pass completions (34), consecutive 300-yard games (3) and career 400-yard games (2). Washington also didn't punt in the game and committed only one penalty, which came late in the fourth quarter. The Huskies opened the game with a 67-yard touchdown drive as Pickett ran in from one yard out. It marked the Huskies' first first-quarter points in five games. The Cowboys took advantage of a Husky fumble to tie the score at 7-7 in the second quarter, but a John Anderson field goal and a Rich Alexis rushing TD gave the Huskies a 17-7 halftime lead. The Huskies pulled away in the third quarter on another TD run from Alexis and a scoring pass from Pickett to Paul Arnold. Early in the fourth quarter, Pickett hit Patrick Reddick with an eight-yard TD pass to cap a night that saw him complete 34-of-45 passes for 404 yards and no interceptions. Alexis ran for 94 yards and two TDs and also shattered career highs with seven receptions for 55 yards. Reggie Williams turned in his second straight 100-yard receiving day, catching six balls for an even 100 yards. Washington also had a good day defensively, racking up eight sacks and 14 tackles for loss while allowing Wyoming into the red zone only once in the game.
Tough After Turnovers: While the fact that Washington has committed nine turnovers through three games this year (seven lost fumbles, two interceptions) is perhaps the most disconserting statistic of the early part of the season, the UW defense has played very well after those turnovers. Husky opponents have managed to turn nine turnovers into only two scores -- touchdowns by Michigan and by Wyoming, good for 14 points. By contrast, the Huskies have converted all six of their takeaways this season into points -- three touchdowns and three field goals, a total of 30 points.
The Sacks Are Back: Washington's eight sacks vs. Wyoming were the most by a Husky team in a single game since 1998, when the UW defense posted a school-record 13 sacks in back-to-back games against Utah State and California. Through three games, Washington has already compiled a total of 14 sacks after notching only 20 all of last season. Sophomore linebacker Marquis Cooper and sophomore defensive end Manase Hopoi share the team lead with four sacks apiece while senior defensive end Kai Ellis is close behind with 3.5. Last season, linebacker Ben Mahdavi led the Huskies with five sacks.
Tale Of Two Halves: It may be too early in the season for stats like this, but the Huskies have most certainly been a superior second-half team this season. Washington has been outscored 31-30 in the first half through three games. However, in the second half, the Huskies have out-scored their opponents, 71-17. Washington has scored 41 in the third quarter and 30 in the fourth while giving up seven and 10, respectively.
Pickett Catches Moon, Brunell: Junior quarterback Cody Pickett has already broken onto Washington's top-10 all-time career passing yards list, and will crack several other UW passing career top-10s at some point this season. With 404 yards passing against Wyoming -- the third-most in school history -- Pickett pushed his career total to 3,484, passing Warren Moon (3,277) and Mark Brunell (3,423) for ninth all-time at Washington. Pickett, who is averaging 356.3 passing yards per game in 2002, needs 676 yards to pass Chris Chandler (4,161) for eighth. Pickett's school-record 34 completions against the Cowboys gave him 254 for his career, putting him 10th on that list, and just five behind Brunell for ninth. Also, he needs just 64 attempts to make the top-10 that category. His career mark of 13.7 yards per completion ranks No. 5 and his 217.8 yards per game (16 games) would already rank No. 1 in school history, except that there's an 18-game minimum. Same goes for his 15.9 completions per game, another career No. 1 if he met the 18-game minimum. He already qualifies for career completion percentage as his .588 mark ranks No. 3 on the UW list. Pickett boasts a slew of firsts: he is the first UW QB to post two-career 400-yard games; the first to post five 300-yard games; and the first to throw for 300 yards in three consecutive games. In just 16 career games Pickett already boasts four of Washington's top-10 single-game totals in passing yards. His nine career 200-yard passing days already rank him No. 8 in UW history and his seven 50-plus-yard passes rank second, two back of Damon Huard's record of nine.
Pickett Among Nation's Elite: With his outstanding start to the 2002 season, junior quarterback Cody Pickett has placed himself among the nation's top signalcallers. Pickett, with his superlative 154.3 passing efficiency rating, ranks No. 13 in the nation in that category, ahead of such big names as Marshall's Byron Leftwich (15th), Florida State's Chris Rix (16th), Washington State's Jason Gesser (21st), Miami's Ken Dorsey (22nd) and Florida's Rex Grossman (49th). His 347.3 yards per game of total offense ranks No. 3 in the nation and his 28.0 pass completions per game also ranks No. 3. Pickett trails only Leftwich and San Diego State's Adam Hall in those two categories.
Williams Chasing 'Super Mario': Sophomore wide receiver Reggie Williams was only one game into his sophomore season when he passed the 1,000-yard mark for career receiving. With 1,305 career yards, he is just 88 shy of reaching the No. 10 spot on the UW career receiving yardage list. In only his second season, he needs to average 87.6 yards per game the rest of the season to surpass Mario Bailey (2,093 yards from 1988-91) as the Huskies' all-time receiving yards leader. Or, one could say that he needs to average only 37.5 yards over the next 21 games (through the end of his junior season) to break Bailey's record. Additionally, with an average of 93.2 yards per game during his career thusfar, Williams would easily be the Huskies' all-time yards-per-game leader (the mark is 65.9 by Brian Slater, 1985-88). However, with only 14 career games, Williams doesn't meet the 18-game minimum yet.
The A-Train: After a sensational freshman year in which he broke the school's freshman rushing record (726 yards) and posted four 100-yard games, junior Rich Alexis suffered through an admittedly rough season in 2001, gaining only 391 yards on the ground. In 2002, he seems to have returned to the form that earned him freshman All-America honors in 2000. Through three games, Alexis has already gained 328 yards on 75 carries, a 4.2-yard average. He's also scored four touchdowns and has carried the load, accounting for 75 of 90 total carries by Husky backs. In the season opener at Michigan, he fell only two yards short of the century mark, finishing with 98 yards. After posting 125 yards in the San Jose State game, he came back with 94 against Wyoming last week. He also shattered his old career receiving highs vs. the Cowboys with a team-high seven catches for 55 yards (old highs: 3 catches for 31 yards).
Alexis Rising: With 1,434 rushing yards and 18 rushing TDs on 317 career carries, junior tailback Rich Alexis is closing in on some UW top-10 career lists. He already ranks No. 9 on the Huskies' career rushing yards-per-game list with 57.4. He needs 29 carries to catch former QB Marques Tuiasosopo (346) for 10th place on the career rushing attempts list. With 464 more yards, he'll catch Toussaint Tyler (1,898 yards) for 10th place in career rushing yards, and with one more touchdown, he'll tie Tyler and Mark Brunell (19 each) for 10th on the career rushing TDs chart.