Oct. 12, 2009
THE GAME: After back-to-back nail-biters the last two Saturdays -- a 37-30 overtime loss at Notre Dame and a miraculous 36-33 win over Arizona last Saturday in Seattle -- the Washington football team (3-3 overall, 2-1 in the Pac-10) returns to the road for a night game in the desert next Saturday at Arizona State (4-2 overall, 1-1 Pac-10). Kickoff is 7:15 p.m. (time is the same in Tempe and Seattle) and the game will air live on FSN television. After failing to win a game last year, the Huskies, under first-year head coach Steve Sarkisian, are in the midst of a remarkable turnaround as they╒re 3-3 at the halfway point despite having played the NCAA╒s third-toughest schedule. The remainder of the schedules consists only of Pac-10 games, with two off weeks mixed in. After the ASU game, the UW returns to Seattle for a date with Oregon on Oct. 24 before an off week on Halloween.
GAME THEMES vs. THE SUN DEVILS: Washington has scored a defensive touchdown in three straight games ... at Stanford, Justin Glenn returned a fumble (on a backwards pass) 51 yards for a score ... at Notre Dame, Desmond Trufant did the same, going 17 yards for the score ... against Arizona, Mason Foster returned an interception 37 yards for the game-winner ... Washington╒s red zone defense allowed opponents to score on 25 of 30 trips into the redzone this year, which is about average ... however, of those 25 scores only 11 have been TDs, with 14 field goals filling out the total ... UW opponents are 17-for-17 on field goals this season ... the Huskies have already been a part of three bona fide classics this year, with nail-biting wins over USC and Arizona and a gut-wrenching loss at Notre Dame ... Washington╒s schedule to date ranks as the third-toughest in the nation as, taking out their result against the UW, Husky opponents are 22-5 on the season ... Washington has had 10 true freshmen play this year, including four who have started at least one game: wide receiver James Johnson, defensive end Talia Crichton, cornerback Desmond Trufant and safety Nathan Fellner.
TELEVISION: The Washington-Arizona game will air live to a national audience on FSN with Barry Tompkins, Petros Papadakis and Michael Eaves 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. DEVILS HISTORY: The Huskies hold a 15-13 record all-time against Arizona State in a series that only dates back to 1975. That ╘75 game marked the only time that the two teams ever played one another prior to the Sun Devils joining the Pac-10 Conference prior to the 1978 season. Since then, the two have played one another every year between 1978 and now except for the 1983 and 1984 seasons and the 2003 and 2004 seasons. The Huskies lost that first-ever meeting at Tempe in 1975, 35-12, but routed the 12th-ranked Devils in the next matchup, winning 41-7 at Husky Stadium in 1978. One of the two teams (or both) has been ranked in 13 of the last 17 meetings, the only exceptions the 1999 game when the Devils came to Husky Stadium and beat Washington, 28-7, and the 2005, 2006 and 2008 games, all ASU wins. Some of the Huskies╒ most memorable games in recent history have come vs. ASU. In the 1995 season-opener, tailback Rashaan Shehee hit receiver Fred Coleman with a 30-yard TD pass late in the fourth quarter to give Washington a 23-20 win. The following year at Tempe, Washington trailed 42-21 before backup QB Brock Huard came on to lead the Huskies to three fourth-quarter TDs, but Robert Nycz kicked a 38-yard field goal with 0:02 left to win, 45-42. In 1998 at Sun Devil Stadium, the Huskies pulled off the ╥Miracle in the Desert╙ as Huard hit tight end Reggie Davis with a 63-yard pass on fourth-and-17 with 0:28 left in the game to pull out a 42-38 Washington win. In 2001, the Huskies capped a seven-minute, 12-second drive with a 30-yard field goal with no time remaining to edge the Devils, 33-31. In 2005 in Tempe, ASU QB Rudy Carpenter passed for 401 yards and three TDs as the Devils pulled away in the second half of a 44-20 win. The 2006 game was another tight contest as the Devils pulled out a 26-23 overtime win at Husky Stadium. The UW trailed 20-6 before receiver Sonny Shackelford threw a TD pass to Anthony Russo and then caught a touchdown from backup QB Johnny Durocher to send the game into OT. After a UW field goal, Rudy Carpenter hit Brent Miller with a 25-yard TD pass for the win. In 2007, 14th-ranked ASU came back from a halftime deficit to win, 44-20. Last year, the Devils led 16-13 at half, but pulled away for a 39-19 victory. Carpenter threw for 218 yards and two TDs while Keegan Herring rushed for 144 yards and one score. Dennis Erickson, as ASU head coach, and former head coach at Washington State, Miami (Fla.) and Oregon State, is 4-6 all-time against Washington. He went 1-1 vs. the UW while at WSU (lost in 1987, won in 1988), 0-1 at Miami (lost in 1994 ╨ the famous ╥Whammy in Miami╙), 1-3 at Oregon State (losses in 1999, 2000 and 2002 and a win in 2001) and 1-0 at ASU.
WASHINGTON-ARIZONA STATE TIES: While there are a numerous connections between the coaching staffs at Arizona State and Washington, there╒s very little crossover between UW╒s roster and ASU╒s ╨ probably as little as the UW and any Pac-10 team. Arizona State head coach Dennis Erickson is a native of Everett, Wash., and graduated from Everett High in 1965. Erickson was also the head coach of the Seattle Seahawks, is a childhood friend of former Husky head coaches Jim Lambright and Keith Gilbertson and is the cousin of legendary former UW rowing coach Dick Erickson. UW offensive line coach and run game coordinator Dan Cozzetto has a relatively long association with Erickson, having worked on his staff at Arizona State, Oregon State and Idaho, as well as with the San Francisco 49ers. UW linebackers coach Mike Cox played for Erickson at Idaho while Johnny Nansen was on Erickson╒s staff at Idaho in 2006. ASU receivers coach Eric Yarber previously worked as an assistant coach at UW, in 2005 and 2006. Finally, UW grad assistant Brent Miller played at Arizona State through the 2007 season. As far as players go, Arizona State╒s roster doesn╒t include any players from the state of Washington. The Huskies╒ roster includes only two players from the state of Arizona ╨ cornerback Matt Mosley (Chandler/Corona del Sol HS) and linebacker Kurt Mangum (Chandler). ASU kicker Jackson Allen also attended Corona del Sol, but no Devils went to Chandler. Other than that, however, no Husky players attended the same high school as any ASU player.
DEFENSIVE TOUCHDOWNS: Washington has scored a defensive touchdown in three consecutive games. Three games ago at Stanford, safety Justin Glenn picked up a backwards pass and returned the fumble 51 yards for a touchdown. The following week at Notre Dame, Desmond Trufant scored on a similar play, returning a loose lateral 17 yards for a score. Against Arizona, linebacker Mason Foster notched an interception when a pass bounced off the receiver╒s feet and ran it back 37 yards for a game-winning touchdown.
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 fifth in the nation with a third-down conversion rate of 53.33 percent (48-of-90). Their 48 successful conversions are the second-most of any team in the country. In the red zone, Washington has scored 19 of 21 times this season, with only a lost fumble and a loss of downs marring a perfect record. That 19-for-21 mark (.905) rates 28th (tied) in the country. On defense, the Huskies have also had remarkable red-zone success. While opponents have scored in 25 of 30 attempts, they╒ve been held to a field goal on 14 of those 25 scores, meaning that opponents have scored a touchdown on only 11 of 30 (.367) trips inside the UW 20-yard line.
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, Trufant and Fellner 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.
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.
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 ... the UW roster includes three players with brothers currently in the NFL: Desmond Trufant (Marcus/Seahawks), Jordan Wallace (C.J./Seahawks) and Erik Folk (Nick/Cowboys).