Sept. 8, 2008
The Game: The Washington football team (0-1 in the Pac-10, 0-2 overall) continues is current three-game homestand with a game against its third consecutive ranked opponent. This Saturday at 4:45 p.m. PT, Oklahoma (2-0 overall) rolls into Husky Stadium ranked No. 3 in the nation in both the Associated Press and coaches' polls. The Sooners, who beat the UW two seasons ago in Norman in the only other regular-season meeting between the two, opened their season with wins over Tennessee-Chattanooga and Cincinnati the last two weeks. After this game, the Huskies have a week off before closing out the homestand Sept. 27 vs. Stanford.
Huskies vs. Sooners History: Washington has faced Oklahoma only twice. The more recent of those two games was just two seasons ago (Sept. 9, 2006) in Norman. See page three of this release for more on that game. The first meeting with Oklahoma remains one of the most famous games in the long history of Husky football. That Huskies-Sooners matchup took place in the Orange Bowl on Jan. 1, 1985, with all sorts of national championship implications on the line. The Huskies, who finished No. 2 behind Brigham Young in both major polls that season, beat Coach Barry Switzer's Oklahoma team, 28-17, behind a game MVP performance from tailback Jacque Robinson. The Huskies rushed for 192 yards in the game, surprising an Oklahoma defense that ranked No. 1 in the nation against the run and 68 yards per game. Washington entered the game 10-1 overall and ranked No. 4 in the country while the Sooners were ranked No. 2 with a 9-1-1 record. No. 1 Brigham Young had already disposed of a 6-5 Michigan team in the 1984 Holiday Bowl, but conventional wisdom held that if the Sooners beat the Huskies, Oklahoma would likely end up atop the polls. The Huskies had missed out on their chance for an unbeaten season and a Pac-10 title in the next-to-last game of the regular season when USC handed the top-ranked Huskies a 16-7 loss. In the Orange Bowl game, Washington jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter on a 29-yard pass from Paul Sicuro to Danny Greene and a one-yard Robinson run. However, the teams went to the locker room at halftime tied at 14-14 after a one-yard TD run from OU's Danny Bradley and a 61-yard pass from Bradley to Derrick Shepard. After a scoreless third, one of the most well-remembered and unusual incidents in Husky history occurred. After OU's Tim Lashar kicked a field goal to apparently give his team its first lead, the Sooners were penalized when the "Sooner Schooner" trotted onto the field prematurely as there had been a penalty on the play that had thus negated the field goal. After the original five-yard penalty and 15 more yards for unsportsmanlike conduct moved the kick back 20 yards, Tim Peoples blocked the next try, keeping the game tied at 14-14. However, Lashar later nailed a 35-yard field goal gave the Sooners a 17-14 lead with 8:48 to go. The UW then rallied behind Hugh Millen, who came off the bench in relief of Sicuro, who had replaced him as the starter earlier in the season. Millen drove the UW 74 yards on seven plays, the last a 12-yard TD to former Roosevelt High teammate Mark Pattison. On the ensuing OU drive, Husky linebacker Joe Kelly intercepted a pass at the Sooners' 10-yard line to set up a six-yard TD run from Rick Fenney that put the game away. Alas, amid controversy, Brigham Young emerged as the No. 1 team in both major polls.
Television: The Washington-Oklahoma will air live on to a national audience on ESPN television with Mike Patrick, Todd Blackledge and Holly Rowe 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 Washington ISP 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. Also, the UW-Okalhoma game will air live nationwide on Sports USA Radio, with Tom Dillon, Gary Barnett and Rich Cellini on the call.
Washington-Oklahoma Ties: As might be expected when dealing with two programs from different parts of the country, there's not been a lot of interaction or crossover between the UW coaching staff and players and those of Oklahoma. There are no players from Oklahoma on the Huskies' roster, nor are there any players from Washington (or the Northwest) on the Sooners' roster. The closest thing to a connection among players is several players from each team hail from the Phoenix area, both Oklahoma (Joey Halzle) and UW (Josh Gage and Skyler Fancher) have players from Huntington Beach, Calif., and Husky safety Victor Aiyewa is from the Houston, Texas, area, as are several Sooners. The coachings staffs at Washington and Oklahoma share no true connections, in that no current coaches have worked with one another on previous staffs, etc. The closest thing to a connection is that OU receiver coach Jay Norvell spent last season in the Pac-10 as offensive coordinator at UCLA. Likewise, quarterbacks coach Josh Heupel's first full-time job was as a tight ends coach at Arizona in 2005. No Husky coach has ever spent time on a coaching staff of a current Big 12 program.
Last Time vs. Oklahoma (Sept. 9, 2006): Washington's only game vs. Oklahoma other than the 1985 Orange Bowl came in Norman two seasons ago. Tied at halftime, the 10th-ranked Sooners pulled ahead in the third quarter to post a 37-20 win over the Huskies. After OU punted on its first possession, Husky tailback Kenny James ran 54 yards for a touchdown on the UW's first play of the game. OU quarterback Paul Thompson hit Malcolm Kelly with a seven-yard score later in the first to tie it. In the second, both teams traded field goals, leaving the score tied at 13-13 after two periods. However, after halftime, Oklahoma pulled away. Thompson and Kelly connnected on a 35-yard score and, after a field goal, Adrian Peterson ran in from 17 yards out. In the fourth quarter, Peterson scored on a seven-yard run to ice it before Carl Bonnell wrapped up the scoring with a two-yard pass to Sonny Shackelford. Louis Rankin rushed for 112 yards to lead the UW while Peterson rushed for 165 for the Sooners. Of note was the fact that Husky punter Sean Douglas booted punts of 82 and 81 yards, the two longest punts in Washington history.
Huskies vs. The Big 12: Remarkably enough, Washington has played at least one game against every current member of the Big 12 Conference except one: Missouri. The Huskies are 21-19-2 (.524) all-time against the other 11 Big 12 members. The UW is 14-9-1 against the Big 12 in games played in Seattle, 4-7-1 as the visiting team and 3-3 in bowl games. The first-ever such matchup came way back in 1915 when Washington beat Colorado, 46-0, on the UW campus. Prior to the game vs. Oklahoma two years ago, it had been five years since the prior UW-Big-12 game, that being a scintillating 47-43 Husky loss to Texas in the Holiday Bowl on December 28, 2001. The last time a Big 12 team visited Husky Stadium was Sept. 25, 1999, when the Huskies beat Colorado, 31-24. Here's the UW's all-time record against each current Big 12 institution: Baylor (1-3), Colorado (5-5-1), Iowa State (1-0), Kansas (1-0), Kansas State (4-1), Missouri (0-0), Nebraska (3-3-1), Oklahoma (1-1), Oklahoma State (1-1), Texas (1-3), Texas A&M (1-2), Texas Tech (2-0).
Top-10 Non-Conference Foes At Husky Stadium: Oklahoma, ranked No. 3 in this week's Associated Press top-25 poll, will be the highest-ranked non-conference team to visit Husky Stadium since Oct. 4, 1969, when a No. 1-ranked Ohio State team beat the Huskies, 41-14, at Husky Stadium. Washington has hosted No. 1-ranked USC in each of the Trojans' last two visits to Seattle, but those were, of course, Pac-10 Conference games. In fact, despite a long tradition of playing tough non-conference opponents, the Sooners will be only the fourth top-5 non-conference opponent to play the UW in Seattle and the 13th top-10 non-league foe to visit Montlake. Here's a list of every top-10-ranked non-conference teams to play the UW in Seattle (all rankings are AP at the time of the game):
Sept. 9, 2000 #4 Miami W 34-29 Sept. 20, 1997 #7 Nebraska L, 27-14 Sept. 30, 1989 #5 Colorado L, 45-28 Sept. 13, 1986 #10 Ohio State W, 40-7 Sept. 17, 1983 #8 Michigan W, 25-24 Oct. 7, 1978 #8 Alabama L, 20-17 Sept. 20, 1975 #8 Texas L, 28-10 Sept. 28, 1974 #9 Texas A&M L, 28-15 Sept. 29, 1970 #10 Michigan L, 17-3 Oct. 4, 1969 #1 Ohio State L, 41-14 Sept. 22, 1962 #7 Purdue T, 7-7 Oct. 20, 1951 #8 Illinois L, 27-20 Nov. 11, 1944 #9 4th Air Force* L, 28-0 * - while not a college team, the 4th Air Force was nonetheless ranked No. 9 by the AP at the time of the game.
Playing The Freshmen: A total of eight true freshman saw action in the Huskies' season opener at Oregon: Devin Aguilar, Jermaine Kearse, Senio Kelemete, Kavario Middleton, Chris Polk, Jordan Polk, Alameda Ta'amu, Everrette Thompson. In the BYU game, freshman tailback David Freeman made his debut, increasing the total to nine true freshmen who have played for the Dawgs this season. That surpasss the total of seven that saw action in the 2007 season. In 2006, only two true freshmen played. In the Oregon game, two freshman (C. Polk at tailback and Middleton at tight end) started the game. Additionally, Jordan Polk was on the field for the start of the game as a kickoff returner and Kelemete was listed as a starter, but the UW opened in a nickel defense, so he wasn't on the field for the first play and therefore did not officially start the game. Chris Polk, Kelemete and Middleton all started vs. Brigham Young.
Captains: Washington does not have season-long captains as Coach Tyrone Willingham will name game captains each week. Each game's set of captains are informed of the honor the Friday night before each game and revealed to the fans, etc., when those four designated players take the field for the coin flip prior to each game. Here are this year's game captains:
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.