Oct. 20, 2008
The Game: The Washington football team (0-6 overall, 0-4 in the Pac-10) takes on Notre Dame (4-1) for the seventh time in the two programs' long histories. The Dawgs will wrap up their non-Pac-10 schedule vs. the Irish in a 5:00 p.m. game Saturday at Husky Stadium. ESPN2 will broadcast the game nationwide. The meeting, of course, pits Husky coach Tyrone Willingham against his former team as Willingham led the Irish from 2002 to 2004. Following this game, the Huskies return to the road, and to conference play, to face USC in Los Angeles on Nov. 1.
Huskies vs. Irish History: Washington and Notre Dame have played one another six times and the Fighting Irish have won all six. The first UW-ND game was played Nov. 27, 1948, as the Dawgs, under first-year head coach Howie O'Dell, wrapped up a rough season with a trip to South Bend. The second-ranked Irish, who had won the national championship the year before, handed the visitors a 46-0 defeat, the third-most lop-sided in Husky history to that point. The Huskies managed only 149 yards of total offense while Notre Dame, behind three TD passes from Frank Tripucka, totaled 444 yards, 337 on the ground. The following year, the Irish traveled to Seattle for an Oct. 1 game and returned to South Bend with a 27-7 win en route to a 10-0 season and a fourth national title of the 1940s. Washington led the game, 7-0, after the first quarter thanks to a 55-yard touchdown pass from Don Heinrich to Roland Kirkby. After a pass from Bob Williams to eventual Heisman Trophy winner Leon Hart tied the game at 7-7, the Irish took the lead for good in the third quarter on an six-yard end-around TD from Hart and a 30-yard run from Larry Coutre. For the day, the Irish out-gained Washington, 404 yards to 153. The two teams would wait nearly half a century before playing again as the Irish paid a visit to Seattle once again in 1995. Mistakes down the stretch cost the Huskies a chance at their first win over the Irish and Lou Holtz returned home with a 29-21 win over a Husky team that would go on to share the Pac-10 title. That game was played in front of 74,023 fans, then the third-largest crowd in Husky Stadium history. The following year, 1996, the 16th-ranked Dawgs traveled to face No. 11 Notre Dame and were beaten, 54-20, thanks to a powerful Irish running game. That UW team went on to finish 9-3 overall and 7-1 in the Pac-10. The Irish, in Holtz's final season, went 8-3. In 2004, a Tyrone Willingham-coached Irish beat Washington, 38-3 as Brady Quinn tied a school record with four TD passes. Quinn went 17-for-32 for 266 yards while the Huskies committed five turnovers. The Huskies' lone score came on a field goal in the second quarter. Most recently, the Huskies and Irish met in Husky Stadium in 2005, Willingham's first season at UW. Notre Dame won, 36-17, as Quinn passed for 327 yards, including 164 to receiver Jeff Samardzija. Isaiah Stanback threw for 353 yards for the UW. During his seven seasons as Stanford head coach, Tyrone Williamham went 3-2 in five games against the Irish, who he would, of course, go on to coach. This year's UW-ND game is the second head-to-head meeting between the UW and Irish coach Charlie Weis (the 2005 contest being the other), and also the second game pitting Weis and Willingham against one another as head coaches in any forum.
Television: The Washington-Notre Dame will air live on to a national audience on ESPN2 television with Mark Jones, former Notre Dame coach Bob Davie and Todd Harris 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.
Washington-Notre Dame Ties: There are some pretty obvious ties between the Washington and Notre Dame football programs. Most notably, of course, is the fact that Husky head coach Tyrone Willingham spent the last three seasons in charge of the Fighting Irish. Additionally, UW offensive line coach Mike Denbrock worked under Willingham at Notre Dame. However, only one current Husky coach has ever worked with a current member of the Notre Dame staff as Husky receivers coach Charlie Baggett coached receivers at Michigan State when Irish special teams coach Brian Polian was a graduate assistant. Additonally, UW director of football operations Erica Genise worked for Willingham in South Bend. According to its current on-line roster, Notre Dame has only two players from the state of Washington: freshman offensive lineman Carl Brophy (Spokane/Gonzaga Prep) and senior wide receiver Kris Patterson (Seattle/O'Dea). No Huskies hail from Indiana. However, six Huskies attended O'Dea along with Patterson: Johri Fogerson, Ben Hayes, Daniel Kanczugowski, Quinton Richardson and Chancellor Young. Additionally, Husky kicker Erik Folk and Irish QB Dayne Crist and LB Anthony McDonald all went to Notre Dame High School in the Los Angeles area. UW freshman Warren Woods and Notre Dame o-lineman Mike Hernandez were classmates at L.A.'s Loyola High while Husky receiver Jordan Polk and Notre Dame DE Ethan Johnson both attended Lincoln High in Portland, Ore. Lastly, Husky center Gregory Christine and ND cornerback Terrail Lambert both graduated from St. Bonaventure High in Ventura, Calif.
Both Sides Of The Field: Tyrone Willingham will, for the second time in his tenure at the UW, get the opportunity to pull off the somewhat rare feat of coaching a matchup from both sides in consecutive years this weekend when the Huskies take on Notre Dame Saturday at Husky Stadium. In 2004, Washington traveled to South Bend, where Willingham's Irish squad handled the Dawgs in a 38-3 win. The following year, 2005, the Huskies lost to Notre Dame in a game played in Seattle. The situation, however, is somewhat familiar to Husky fans, however. In 1999, in the UW's third game under coach Rick Neuheisel, Washington beat Colorado (Neuheisel's former team), 31-24. However, the Huskies hadn't previously played the Buffs since the 1996 Holiday Bowl. Facing his former school is old hat for Willingham. While at Notre Dame he coached against Stanford, his first stop as a head coach, and Michigan State, his alma mater.
Playing The Freshmen: Washington has utilized a total of 12 true freshmen this season. Nine different true freshmen have started a game. 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, and vs. Oklahoma, Johri Fogerson started at safety, increasing the total to 10 true freshmen who have played for the Dawgs this season. At Arizona, receiver Cody Bruns and tailback Terrence Dailey made their UW debuts.That surpasses 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 vs. Oregon, 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 while, vs. Oklahoma, Freeman, Fogerson, Aguilar, Kearse and Kelemete all started. Dailey made his first start vs. Oregon State.
September (and most of October) In Seattle: With three home games and an off week during the month, the Huskies spent their entire September at home in Seattle this year. They'll also play just one road game during the month of October (Oct. 4 at Arizona). The Dawgs opened Aug. 30 in Eugene, Ore., and won't return to the road until their game in Tucson. With the bye week, that was four straight Saturdays and 35 straight days at home. The 35-day gap between home games is tied for the fifth-longest in the nation (FBS) this season. The Huskies also have a 27-day gap before their next home game, Nov. 1 at USC. Somewhat surprisingly, that's not as unusual as you might think. In 2003, the UW opened on Aug. 30 at Ohio State and, just like this year, had three home games and an off week before playing on Oct. 4 at UCLA. In 2002, the Dawgs played FIVE consecutive home games (with an off week) after opening at Michigan on Aug. 31. That UW team didn't return to the road until Oct. 19. The Huskies also spent four straight Saturdays in October at home (all games; no off weeks) in 1998, just to name one other somewhat recent example.
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:
Oregon: Donald Butler, Juan Garcia, Jake Locker, Daniel Te'o-Nesheim
BYU: Juan Garcia, Paul Homer, Chris Stevens, Trenton Tuiasosopo
Oklahoma: Luke Kravitz, Jake Locker, Mesphin Forrester, Daniel Te'o-Nesheim
Stanford: Donald Butler, Juan Garcia, Jake Locker, Daniel Te'o-Nesheim
Arizona: Casey Bulyca, Michael Gottlieb, D. Te'o-Nesheim, Trenton Tuiasosopo
Oregon St.: Michael Gottlieb, Paul Homer, Johnie Kirton, Daniel Te'o-Nesheim
100 Yards In First Start: Against Oregon State, freshman TB Terrance Dailey rushed for 102 yards in his first college start, making him the first Husky tailback to top the century mark in his first start since Louis Rankin rushed for 112 yards vs. Air Force in the 2005 season opener. Prior to Rankin, the last Husky to pull off the feat was Corey Dillon in 1996. Dillon rushed for 173 yards on 36 carries Oct. 5, 1996, vs. Stanford. Other recent TBs to rush for 100 or more in their first start: Leon Neal, 105 yards on 22 carries vs. Arizona State on Sept. 2, 1995; and Napoleon Kaufman, 208 yards on 30 carries vs. Cal on Oct. 10, 1992.