Oct. 24, 2005
The Game: The Washington football team (0-4 in the Pac-10, 1-6 overall) returns to the road for the first of two trips to the state of Arizona remaining in the season this weekend. The Dawgs travel to face Arizona State (1-3 Pac-10, 3-4 overall) this Saturday, October 29, in a 3:30 p.m. game. There will be no live television coverage. The game marks the Huskies' third road trip in four October contests with last week's loss to No. 1 USC representing their lone home game this month. The Huskies will return to the state of Arizona next month to face the Wildcats. This game is also notable for the fact that the Huskies are playing their fourth straight road game against ASU, the first time in history that Washington has played any opponent on the road in four straight meetings. Thanks to the fact that the UW and Arizona State didn't play at all the last two seasons, the last Huskies-Devils game in Seattle was way back in 1999.
Huskies vs. Devils History: The Huskies hold a 15-9 record all-time against Arizona State in a series that only dates back to 1975. That game marked the only time that the two teams ever played one another prior to the Sun Devils joining the Pac-10 Conference for 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 12 of the last 13 meetings, the only exception the 1999 game when the Devils came to Husky Stadium and beat Washington, 28-7. 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 four-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 the most recent UW-ASU game, back on Oct. 26, 2002, the Sun Devils grabbed a 14-0 first-half lead and held on for a 27-16 victory. In his seven years at Stanford, Washington head coach Tyrone Willingham compiled a 4-3 record against the Sun Devils while Dirk Koetter, ASU's fifth-year head man, is 1-1 vs. the Huskies as a head coach. Willingham led the Cardinal to two wins and an overtime loss in his three trips to Sun Devil Stadium. In their only head-to-head meeting, in 2001, Willingham's Stanford team beat ASU, 51-28, in Palo Alto.
On the Road ... Again: Two weeks after having played Oregon on the road for the fourth time in five meetings, the Huskies will be making their fourth consecutive trip to Tempe to face Arizona State. It will mark the first time ever that the UW has played any team on the road in fourth straight meetings. Additionally, due to the fact that UW and ASU didn't play one another in 2003 or 2004, the Sun Devils haven't played a game in Husky Stadium since Oct. 16, 1999, a span of more than six years (that stretch will reach more than seven years before next season's UW-ASU game in Seattle). The last time the Huskies played ASU, in 2002, it marked the UW's third straight season with a game in Tempe, a rare occurrence as the Huskies hadn't played a league opponent on the road in three consecutive seasons since 1933-35, when the Dawgs played at USC three times in a row. The Huskies also played three straight games at Stanford in the late 80s and early 90s, but not in consecutive seasons -- 1988, 1990 and 1991 (the two teams didn't play one another in 1989).
Television: There will be no live television coverage of the Washington-Arizona State game. The game will, however, air on tape delay on FSN Northwest Sunday at 3:00 p.m. with Brian Davis and Sonny Sixkiller on the call. All remaining Husky games will air on FSN on tape delay Sundays at 3:00 p.m. Additionally, "Husky Football All-Access" airs each Thursday at 7:00 p.m. during the season on FSN. The program is an up-close look at each Husky game, with 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 five different states and British Columbia, Canada, on 26 different radio stations. Longtime play-by-play man Bob Rondeau and color analyst Chuck Nelson are joined by sideline reporter Steve Sandmeyer. Most broadcasts will also be carried on XM Satellite Radio on channel 194, 195 or 196.
The Coach: Tyrone Willingham was named Washington's 22nd head football coach on December 13, 2004. A former head coach at Notre Dame and Stanford, Willingham became the first African-American to serve as the Huskies head coach. While he brings an impressive resume with him to resurrect the Husky program, Willingham has acquitted himself well among his peers for much more than just fielding winning teams. Over the past 28 years Willingham has developed a coaching style that emphasizes toughness, enthusiasm, intelligence, discipline, commitment and unselfish play. The result has provided his players with more than just the opportunity to enjoy victories on the field. His guiding principles have prepared his players to be successful in life. Willingham, who turned 51 on Dec. 30, served as the head coach at Stanford (1995-2001) and Notre Dame (2002-2004) over the past decade. His Stanford teams enjoyed a 44-36-1 record while he was 21-15 with the Fighting Irish, including a 38-3 victory against Washington last season at Notre Dame Stadium. In his inaugural season with the Irish in 2002, he wasted no time reversing the tide of the Irish program, leading Notre Dame to a 10-2 regular-season record and a trip to the 2003 Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Fla. He was named Sportsman of the Year by The Sporting News after the 2002 season, while also picking up several national coach of the year awards. Prior to his tenure at Notre Dame, Willingham directed the Stanford program for seven seasons. In 1999, the Cardinal won the Pac-10 and earned a trip to the Rose Bowl for the first time since 1972, earning Willingham Pac-10 Coach of the Year honors. He also led the Cardinal to the 1995 Liberty Bowl, the 1996 Sun Bowl and the 2001 Seattle Bowl. Willingham, who grew up in Jacksonville, N.C., played both football and baseball at Michigan State, earning three letters in both sports and was awarded the Big Ten Conference Medal of Honor as the outstanding scholar-athlete in the league. He began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at his alma mater in 1977 and, aside from his two previous head coaching stints, has served as a full-time assistant at Central Michigan, Michigan State, North Carolina State, Rice and Stanford, as well as with the Minnesota Vikings.
Willingham vs. The Pac-10: Thanks mostly to his time at Stanford, but also via frequent games vs. western teams while at Notre Dame, Tyrone Willingham has amassed a lengthy record against Pac-10 teams. Overall, Willingham is 47-31 against Pac-10 teams. Interestingly, his teams have struggled the most against Washington, as he's gone 1-6 against his new charges. Here's Willingham's record against each Pac-10 team: Arizona (2-3), Arizona State (4-3), California (7-1), Oregon (4-2), Oregon State (3-4), Stanford (3-0), UCLA (3-5), USC (4-7), Washington (1-5), Washington State (6-2).
Coaching Staff: Washington's new coaching staff, under first-year head coach Tyrone Willingham, includes a number of names that might be familiar to more savvy Pac-10 football fans. Willingham, of course, spent seven seasons in charge of Stanford, where he'd previously served as an assistant (1989-91) for three seasons. And, two members of the Husky staff from last season were held over as well, lending more than a little familiarity. Defensive line coach Randy Hart is now working for his fifth different head coach as a member of the Husky staff while linebackers coach Chris Tormey, is beginning his 15th season at the UW, spread over three different stints. Aside from those three, several other UW coaches have experience in or around the Northwest. Defensive coordinator Kent Baer has coached in the Pac-10 at California, Arizona State and Stanford, as well as at Idaho. Spokane native Tim Lappano previously worked at Idaho, Washington State, California, Oregon State and with the Seattle Seahawks. Receivers coach Eric Yarber, an Idaho grad, has spent time at his alma mater, with the Seahawks and at Oregon State while Mike Denbrock (offensive line) and Trent Miles (running backs) both worked one season each at Stanford. Only tight ends/special teams coach Bob Simmons, the former Oklahoma State head coach, and defensive backs coach Steven Wilks can't trace their coaching roots through the Pac-10.
The GAs: Washington's two graduate assistant coaches this season are Kyle Benn (offense) and Joey Hildbold (defense). Benn earned four letters as a center and was a captain on the 2001 team. That season, he was one of only two players named to the All-Pac-10 and Academic All-Pac-10 first teams. He is in his second season as a G.A. at his alma mater. Hildbold, a 2003 graduate of Notre Dame, was a punter for the Irish from 1999 to 2002. He was a two-time finalist for the Ray Guy Award, given to the nation's top collegiate punter.
Washington-Arizona State Ties: There are very vew connections between the coaching staffs at Arizona State and Washington. However, Husky defensive coordinator Kent Baer did work for the Sun Devils on Bruce Snyder's staff from 1992-94. Additionally, Arizona State offensive line coach and running game coordinator Brent Myers served as o-line coach at the UW from 2000 to 2002. He's also a Shoreline High graduate. As far as players go, Arizona State's roster doesn't include a single player from the state of Washington. The Huskies, however, have two players that prepped in Arizona - kicker Michael Braunstein (Gilbert/Gilbert HS) and guard Clay Walker (Scottsdale/Horizon). ASU receiver Reed White is also a Gilbert High grad. Husky senior DT Manase Hopoi is a graduate of Valley High School in Sacramento, the same alma mater as ASU offensive linemen Zach Krula and Grayling Love. ASU's Will Kofe and Mark Washington and the UW's Kim Taylor both went to Long Beach Poly High while ASU safety Darron Ware and Husky Jasper Henry are both Dorsey High grads. Finally, Husky senior tailback Chris Singleton and ASU linebacker Beau Manutai both attended Etiwanda High in Southern California.
Last Time vs. Arizona State: Washington and Arizona State haven't faced one another since Oct. 26, 2002, when the Huskies traveled to Sun Devils Stadium for what was billed as an offensive shootout but ended up a defensive struggle. ASU won, 27-16, but only out-gained the UW 252 yards to 229 in total offense. The Devils held prolific Husky quarterback Cody Pickett to 210 yards passing (easily a season-low) on 18-of-37 passing as Pickett was sacked eight times, five of them by All-America defensive end Terrell Suggs, who finished the game with six and a half tackles for loss. Arizona State took the lead in the first quarter on a pair of TDs from tailback Hakim Hill. Hill scored on a one-yard run midway through the first and then scored on a six-yard pass from Andrew Walter, who also had a quiet day by his gaudy standards, completing 18-of-27 passes for 184 yards and two scores. The week before, Walter had set a Pac-10 record with 536 passing yards in a win over Oregon while Pickett had set the UW single-season passing yards record in only the seventh game of the year. Down 14-0, Washington got a second-quarter field goal from John Anderson before Walter hit Shaun McDonald with a 15-yard score for the only points of the third quarter. In the fourth, ASU built its lead to 27-3 on a pair of Mike Barth field goals before Washington posted two late scores. Paul Arnold caught a 38-yard pass from Pickett and Chris Singleton scored on a one-yard run in the game's final minute.
Who's Seen ASU?: Seeing as Washington has played Arizona State since 2002, it's safe to assume that not that many current Huskies have played against the Sun Devils. However, three current Dawgs started the 2002 game at Sun Devil Stadium: DE Manase Hopoi, OT Robin Meadow and TE (now OT) Joe Toledo. Additionally, TB Chris Singleton, S (now OLB) Evan Benjamin, S (now RB) James Sims, ILB Joe Lobendahn and DT (now OT) Tui Alailefaleula played in that game. Singleton, Lobendahn and Alailefaleula also played in the 2001 game against ASU. So, in total, eight current Huskies have faced off with Arizona State before.
Improved? Here's Some Proof: While the Huskies record (1-6) after seven games this season is the same as it was last season, it's worth noting that the UW has shown marked improvement in a number of key statistics. The Huskies are doing demonstrably better in both the passing and rushing games, they're scoring more and they've cut down significantly on turnovers. What's more is that the Huskies played only one ranked opponent in their first seven games last year (No. 1 USC in the seventh game) while the Dawgs have faced five ranked opponents through seven games in 2005. Here's a look at some key statistics, with the current number compared to last year's total through seven games:
2004 thru 7 games 2005 thru 7 games Points (avg. per game) 98 (14.0) 147 (21.0) Rushing Yards (avg. per game) 823 (117.6) 1,022 (146.0) Rushing Yards Allowed (avg.) 1,318 (188.3) 1,062 (151.7) Pass Efficiency Rating 77.97 133.50 Pass Completion Percentage 39.6% 57.4% Interceptions Thrown 12 4 Fumbles Lost 11 7 Total Turnovers 23 11
Captains: Washington will not have season-long captains this year. Instead, Coach Tyrone Willingham will name game captains each week. Each game's set of captains will be informed of the honor the Friday before each game. Here's a list of the captains that have served in each game:
Air Force: Evan Benjamin, Joe Lobendahn, James Sims, Joe Toledo
Cal: Dashon Goldson, Joe Lobendahn, James Sims, Brad Vanneman
Idaho: Manase Hopoi, Evan Knudson, Robin Meadow, Scott White
Notre Dame: Dashon Goldson, Manase Hopoi, Isaiah Stanback, Brad Vanneman
UCLA: Tusi Sa'au, Isaiah Stanback, C.J. Wallace, Scott White
Oregon: Evan Benjamin, Joe Lobendahn, Tusi Sa'au, Isaiah Stanback
USC: Dashon Goldson, Donny Mateaki, Casey Paus, James Sims