Sept. 8, 2003
The Game: After a week off following two games vs. Big Ten teams to open the season, the Washington football team (1-1) will return to the field Saturday, September 20, as Idaho (0-2) comes to Husky Stadium for a 12:30 p.m. game. The Huskies moved up a spot in the latest Associated Press top-25 poll and now rank No. 21 while they worked their way back in to the USA Today/ESPN coaches' poll, earning the No. 24 spot after a 38-13 win over Indiana. The Idaho game, which will air the following day on Fox Sports Net on tape delay, will pit new Husky head coach Keith Gilbertson against one of the two teams for which he has previously served as head coach. Gilbertson led the Vandals for three seasons, 1986-88. Idaho takes on in-state rival Boise State this coming Saturday, September 13, before traveling to Seattle.
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 32-2-2 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 36 all-time meetings have been played in Moscow and only two others in Spokane, meaning the Huskies are 30-0-2 all-time vs. the Vandals in Seattle. The Huskies have won 15 consecutive games against Idaho, dating back to the 1938 tie, and are undefeated (with two ties) in their last 31, 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. In 2001, 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. Last season, the Huskies ran out to a 28-0 lead late in the second quarter and won, 41-27. Cody Pickett threw for 438 yards and three TDs while Idaho quarterback Brian Lindgren was 22-for-38 for 309 yards and two scores.
Cody To Reggie: Many consider Husky senior quarterback Cody Pickett and junior wideout Reggie Williams the best QB-receiver combination in the country. And why not? Both have appeared on numerous preseason All-America teams and Heisman Trophy hopefuls lists, and both held the rare distinction of entering a new season already holding the UW career records for passing yards and receiving yards. Pickett, who set a Pac-10 and UW record with 4,458 passing yards last season, holds the career mark with 7,418 yards, nearly 1,700 more than the No. 2 passer. He also holds the UW career records for attempts and completions, among others. Williams, who is only a junior in 2003, has already bagged a number of school records as well. After compiling his UW single-season mark of 1,454 yards last season, he has since upped his career total to 2,632 yards, also a UW record. He is also the Dawg's all-time leader in receptions, receptions per game and receiving yards per game and could have as many as 23 games remaining in his career.
Television: The Washington-Idaho game will not appear on a live telecast. However, it will air on tape delay Sunday at 1:00 p.m. on Fox Sports in the Northwest with Jim Watson and former Husky QB Sonny Sixkiller calling the action. Also, "Husky Football Experience" airs each Thursday during the season on Fox Sports (schedule subject to change based on Mariners broadcasts). The second-year, Emmy-winning 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 four different states on 23 different radio stations. Longtime play-by-play man Bob Rondeau and color analyst Chuck Nelson are joined by sideline reporter Steve Sandmeyer.
The Coach: New Husky head coach Keith Gilbertson hit the ground running, as his first official day as the Washington coach was only a month and a day before opening the 2003 season against defending national champion Ohio State. However, Gilbertson had the advantage of having served as an assistant coach at the UW for the previous four seasons, his third stint as a Dawg assistant. Gilbertson, a native of Snohomish, Wash., north of Seattle, served as a graduate assistant at the UW under Don James in 1976, James' second season. In 1989, Gilbertson left his head coaching job at Idaho to join the Washington staff, first as offensive line coach before taking over as offensive coordinator in 1991, when the Huskies won the national championship and led the Pac-10 in rushing offense, total offense and scoring offense. In 1992, Gilbertson took his second head coaching position, traveling down to the coast to California. His four-year stint at Berkeley was highlighted by the 1993 team that posted a 9-4 record and defeated Iowa, 37-3, in the Alamo Bowl. That win stands as California's last bowl victory. Until last season, Gilbertson was the last Cal coach to notch a win over rival Stanford. Gilbertson, a 1966 graduate of Snohomish High School, played football at the University of Hawaii and graduated from Central Washington in 1971. His coaching career includes two professional stints, first as an assistant for the L.A. Express in the USFL (1983-85) and then for the Seattle Seahawks (1996-98). In his seven-plus seasons as a head coach (2003 is his eighth), Gilbertson has posted a career record of 49-38 while going 30-25 in conference games.
Gilby To Face Former Team: Husky coach Keith Gilbertson will get the rare distinction of coaching his current team against a former team in the UW's next game when he leads the UW against Idaho, where he served as head coach for three seasons (1986-1988). This will actually be the first of two times this season that Gilby will be on the opposite sideline from one of his old teams as the Huskies will also play at California, the team Gilbertson helmed from 1992 to 1995. By facing a former team, Gilbertson becomes only the second Washington head coach ever to lead the UW against a team for which he was previously head coach. The only other two instances were pretty recent as Rick Neuheisel faced his old employer, Colorado, in both 1999 and 2000. The Huskies won both, 31-24 at Husky Stadium in 1999 and 17-10 the following year at Boulder.
Washington-Idaho Ties: Obviously, there are numerous ties between the Washington and Idaho football programs. The top connection is that current Husky head man Keith Gilbertson spent a total of five seasons in Moscow, two (1982 and 1985) as offensive coordinator and three more (1986-88) as head coach. Additionally, Husky defensive coordinator Tim Hundley coached three seasons at Idaho (1977-79), serving as defensive coordinator in the last of those three years. Husky offensive line coach Dan Cozzetto played at Idaho (1976-78) and then coached there for a total of 11 seasons (1979-89), a stint that saw him work on staffs with (and under) Gilbertson and over and alongside Idaho head coach Tom Cable. 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. Idaho offensive coordinator Bret Ingalls graduated from Snohomish (Wash.) High School, the same school as Gilbertson and where Gilbertson's father coached. 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 21 players from the state of Washington. Among the Huskies and Vandals that played on the same high school team: IU junior Orlando Winston played at Garfield High along with Husky Isaiah Stanback; UI's Jeff Stowe with UW's Ryan Brooks at Richland High; UI's Lee Jones and UW's Jason Benn and Ty Eriks at O'Dea; UI's Brian Yarno and UW's Evan Benjamin at Redmond; and UI's Akeen Anthony and UW's Reggie Williams, Felix Sweetman and Anthony Russo at Lakes. The Husky roster includes only one player from Idaho -- quarterback Cody Pickett from Caldwell.
Last Year vs. Idaho: Washington tied a modern school record with its 17th consecutive home victory in a 41-27 win over Idaho as the Huskies' aerial attack continued to post big numbers. Husky QB Cody Pickett, who went 32-for-44 for 438 yards and three TDs, broke or extended a few more records. He became the first Husky ever to pass for 400 yards in two straight games and extended his 300-yard games streak. He also upped his own record for career 70-plus-yard passes to five as he hit Charles Frederick with a 74-yarder. The Huskies led 28-3 at the intermission, getting the scoring going in the first when safety Greg Carothers scooped up a fumble and ran it in 25 yards for a score. In the second quarter, Frederick's 74-yard reception was sandwiched by a pair of TD passes from Pickett to tight end Kevin Ware. As time expired at the end of the first half, Keith Stamps got the Vandals on the board with a 49-yard field goal. Two second-half field goals from John Anderson, and a two-yard TD run from Rich Alexis, capped the UW scoring. Idaho got a pair of TD passes from Brian Lindgren, another Stamps field goal and a two-yard touchdown run from Kevin O'Connell.
Home vs. Non Conference: Washington has been very tough to beat in home, non-conference games over the last couple of decades or so. Going back to (and including) the 1981 season, the Huskies have posted a 44-5 record against non-Pac-10 foes in Husky Stadium. Those five losses have come to Air Force (1999), Nebraska (1997), Notre Dame (1995), Colorado (1989) and Oklahoma State (1985). The wins during that stretch include victories over No. 11 Michigan in 2001, No. 4 Miami in 2000, and No. 12 Nebraska in 1992, to name just three. Washington hasn't lost a home game to a non-league opponent since falling to Air Force, 31-21, on September 18, 1999. The Huskies have won nine such games since then.
Huskies vs. Sun Belt Conference: 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.
Indiana Redux: After a slow start and a 10-10 tie at halftime, the Washington offense came to life to score 28 unanswered points in the third quarter as the Dawgs opened the home slate with a 38-13 win over Indiana. After a field goal put the visitors ahead, 13-10 early in the third, the UW took the lead for good when Cody Pickett and Reggie Williams hooked up for a 70-yard touchdown pass. Two TD runs by redshirt freshman Shelton Sampson (the first and fourth carries of his career) extended the lead and a second TD pass from Pickett to Williams capped the scoring. Early in the game, Washington took a 7-0 lead when a 23-yard TD pass from Pickett to Charles Frederick capped a 15-play, 86 yard drive. Washington's 195 rushing yards were its most in nearly two full seasons.
Pickett Shatters Marks: In last season's seventh game, then-junior quarterback Cody Pickett broke the UW single-season passsing yards record. Three weeks later vs. Oregon State, Pickett, with 14 games left in his UW career at the time, broke the Huskies' career passing yards record. Another week later at Oregon, he broke the Pac-10's single-season yards record and in the regular season's final game at WSU, he became the first 4,000-yard passer in Pac-10 history. He also ranks on nearly every other Washington career top-10 list, including No. 1 on many. In the loss at USC, Pickett threw for 350 yards to extend his school record of seven consecutive 300-yard games, a streak that was broken at ASU. He had his third 400-yard game of the year vs. UCLA. Pickett, who has since raised his career passing total to 7,418 yards, passed both Huards to the No. 1 spot vs. OSU. Pickett, who set a UW single-game record with 34 completions vs. Wyoming then broke it with 35 vs. Cal and tied that with 35 at WSU, now has 579 career completions, putting him first on that list. His career mark of 12.81 yards per completion ranks No. 10 and his 264.9 yards per game are currently a school record. His 20.7 completions per game are No. 1 and his career completion percentage of .582 is No. 3. Pickett boasts a slew of firsts: he is the first UW QB to post more than one career 400-yard game (he has four); the first to post 12 300-yard games; and the first to throw for 300 yards in more than two consecutive games (he had seven straight to start the 2002 season). In 28 career games Pickett boasts seven of the top 10 and 10 of Washington's top-17 single-game totals in passing yards. His 21 career 200-yard passing days are most in UW history and his 11 50-plus-yard passes are also a school record. Finally, his 41 career TDs are second while his 28 touchdowns in 2002 were most in UW history, five better than Brock Huard's old 1997 record of 23.
Pickett in the Pac ... Career: With almost each game, Cody Pickett moves up on the Pac-10 career passing chart. The record (11,818 yards) is held by USC's Carson Palmer. With 7,711 career yards (Pac-10 counts all bowls), Pickett current ranks No. 17. Here are the Nos. 12 through 21 passers in Pac-10 history:
No. Yards Player, School, Years 12. 8,225 Rodney Peete, USC, 1985-88 13. 8,126 Troy Taylor, California, 1986-89 14. 7,980 Kyle Boller, California, 1986-89 15. 7,818 Jack Thompson, Washington State, 1975-78 16. 7,809 Jim Plunkett, Stanford, 1968-70 17. 7,711 Cody Pickett, Washington, 1999- 18. 7,669 John Paye, Stanford, 1983-86 19. 7,618 Tom Tunnicliffe, Arizona, 1980-83 20. 7,373 Drew Bledsoe, Washington State, 1990-92 21. 7,360 Pat Barnes, California, 1993-96
Cody's Bombs: With three passes of over 70 yards in 2001 (78 to Paul Arnold, 75 to Patrick Reddick, 74 to Reggie Williams), three more in 2002 (89 and 80 to Williams, and 74 to Charles Frederick) and another (70 to Williiams) last week vs. Indiana, Cody Pickett is the only Husky QB ever to throw six 70-plus-yard passes in a career. Only Damon Huard, Tom Porras and Billy Joe Hobert had ever thrown as many as two 70-yard passes.
Williams Breaks All Marks: Wide receiver Reggie Williams was only one game into his sophomore season when he passed the 1,000-yard mark for career receiving. In the loss at USC last Oct. 29, he had his third straight 100-yard receiving game (tying a school record) and his eighth career 100-yard day (breaking the school record). Williams, who ranked No. 5 in the NCAA in yards per game and No. 9 in receptions per game in 2002, made it to the top of the UW career receiving yards with his 198-yard performance at Oregon in week 11. With 2,632 career yards, he has beaten Mario Bailey's old record by nearly 600 yards. With 14 catches in the Oregon game (most ever by a UW receiver), Williams broke Jerome Pathon's single-season record of 69. Williams ended 2002 with 94, the third-highest total in Pac-10 history. His 1,454 receiving yards in 2002 were also a school record, beating Jerome Pathon's 1,245 in 1997. Williams' 1,454 yards were only two short of the Pac-10 record (1,456 by Stanford's Troy Walters). At WSU (where he had 12 catches), he passed Paul Skansi on the UW career receptions chart and now tops the list with 163. Williams now ranks No. 1 on the UW career yards-per-game list by a large margin. With his average of 101.2 yards per game during his career thus far, he's more than 35 yards per game better than Brian Slater's former mark of 65.9.
Reggie On the Prowl: In only two seasons, junior receiver Reggie Williams has already compiled 2,694 career receiving yards (according to the Pac-10's official total, which counts bowl games both seasons), easily surpassing the school's career mark. If Williams averages 101.2 yards per game the rest of the season (his career average) and the UW goes to a bowl game, he'll finish his junior year with 3,807 yards, which would be No. 2 in Pac-10 history. ASU's Shaun McDonald (2000-02) holds the record for most receiving yards over a three-year career with 2,867, only 169 more than Williams' current totals. Williams currently ranks No. 12 (tied) on the Pac-10 career chart. Here's the Pac-10's all-time list, Nos. 8 through 17:
No. Yards Player, School, Years 8. 2,867 Shaun McDonald, Arizona State, 2000-02 9. 2,796 Keyshawn Johnson, USC, 1994-95 10. 2,744 Tony Hartley, Oregon, 1996-99 11. 2,731 Bobby Shaw, California, 1994-97 12. 2,694 Aaron Cox, Arizona State, 1984-87 2,694 Reggie Williams, Washington, 2001- 14. 2,689 Keenan Howry, Oregon, 1996-99 15. 2,691 Keith Poole, Arizona State, 1993-96 16. 2,672 R. Jay Soward, USC, 1996-99 17. 2,548 Kevin Jordan, UCLA, 1992-95
Young Tailbacks: While senior tailback Rich Alexis gives the UW a wealth of experience at the position, the two players behind him are still in the learning stages. Redshirt freshmen Kenny James and Shelton Sampson each played in the Ohio State game, but didn't truly make an impact until the win over Indiana. In that one, Sampson, who played only on special teams at OSU, picked up 35 yards on 10 carries. More notably, however, he scored a pair of touchdowns from six and four yards out. The two scores came on his first and fourth career carries. James, who rushed once for no yards vs. the Buckeyes, ran 14 times for 38 yards and caught two passes for nine yards against Indiana.
Tank's Quick Start: Senior captain and defensive tackle Terry "Tank" Johnson got his season off to a good start at Ohio State, racking up a pair of sacks in the Huskies' loss to the Buckeyes. He followed that with three tackles for loss, including one sack, vs. Indiana, Johnson, a former partial qualifier, could return for another season if he graduates this year (he's on track to do so), Last year, Johnson, who orginally came to the UW as a tight end, was tied for third on the team with five sacks on the season. Incidentally, each of the last two seasons, Johnson has managed to score a touchdown on a pass interception, despite playing on the defensive line. He scored on a 38-yard interception return in the 2001 Holiday Bowl vs. Texas and then intercepted a pass in the end zone last year vs. San Jose State.
Walkons For Kicks: Despite the arrival of two scholarship freshmen, it was a pair walkons that handled the lion's share of the kicking duties opening week at Ohio State. Walkon senior punter Garth Erickson was called on to punt 10 times, averaging 38.9 per boot and landing one at the one-yard line. Meanwhile, junior walkon placekicker Evan Knudson took care of the PATs and field goals, connected on a 47-yard FG on his first career attempt. Incidentally, freshman punter Sean Douglas handled the kickoffs. Erickson averaged 53.0 yards on two punts vs. Indiana and Knudson was good from 21 yards on his only field goal attempt vs. IU.
Random Notes: Just like last year, the Huskies opened the season on the road in August against a Big Ten team (it was Michigan last season), and then return to Seattle for more than a month ... with an off week (Sept. 13) included, the Huskies won't play a road game in September for the second straight season ... last year, Washington played five straight home games after opening in Ann Arbor ... this time, the Dawgs play three straight at Husky Stadium before traveling to UCLA on Oct. 4 ... last season, Washington led the Pac-10 in attendance for the 12th time in the last 13 seasons, averaging 71,435 fans per game ... not bad, considering that Husky Stadium has a smaller capacity than five of 10 conference schools (ASU, Cal, Stanford, UCLA and USC) ... the last time Washington played Nevada, as they will this Oct. 12, was 100 years ago, on November 23, 1903 ... what makes that somewhat significant is that the original Washington-Nevada meeting was the game attended by Chief Joseph, the legendary Nez Perce Indian who spent most of the game on the sidelines, smoking a cigar ... asked his impression of the game, which Washington won, 2-0, he said, among other things, "I feel pleased that Washington won the game. Those men, I should think would break their their legs and arms, but they did not get mad." ... oldest and youngest: the oldest member of the Washington team is sophomore outside linebacker Brian Tawney, who turned 25 last Valentine's Day ... Tawney served in the U.S. Navy before enrolling at the UW ... his younger sister, Traci, played softball for the Huskies ... the youngest Husky is freshman safety Chris Hemphill, who won't turn 18 until New Year's Day, 2004 ... four current Huskies are younger brothers of former UW players: Zach Tuiasosopo (brother of Marques), Jason Benn (Kyle), Matt Fountaine (Jamal) and Craig Chambers (Richie) ... a quick scan of Pac-10 rosters shows that Husky junior defensive tackle Tui Alailefaleula continues to lead the conference in syllables in his last name, with eight ... through two games, the Huskies have turned the ball over three times, but thusfar, have yet to allow any points to be scored after a turnover.