Sept. 7, 2009
THE GAME: Washington continues its season-opening, three-game homestand this Saturday , Sept. 12, when old Northwest rival Idaho visits Husky Stadium for a 12:30 p.m. game. Last week, the UW opened the season with its first game under new head coach Steve Sarkisian. Despite beating No. 11 LSU on numerous statistical fronts, the Huskies came up short on the scoreboard, falling 31-23. The same evening, the Vandals opened their season with a 21-6 victory over New Mexico State in Las Cruces. Idaho, a former member of what is now the Pac-10, has played Washington, 38 times in a series dating back to 1900. Washington's coaching staff includes five graduates of the University of Idaho, including two who are in the Vandals' Hall of Fame. Additionally, UW defensive coordinator Nick Holt was head coach at Idaho in 2004 and 2005.
SARK ERA UNDERWAY: Washington opened the season last Saturday with a 31-23 loss to No. 11 LSU at Husky Stadium. Despite the loss, it was obvious that the Huskies had taken a step forward. After all, the Huskies out-paced the No. 11 team in the nation on a number of statistical counts. The Dawgs compiled 25 first downs to the Tigers' 17. In terms of yards, Washington out-rushed (157-149), out-passed (321-172) and thereby out-gained LSU in total offense, 478 yards to 321. Washington also dominated time of possession, holding onto the ball for greater than 13 minutes more than the Tigers. The key stat that went against Washington was turnovers, as not only did the Dawgs give up the ball twice while only notching one takeaway, but the Huskies' turnovers were crucial as an interception was returned for a TD and fumble as lost at the LSU four-yard line, keeping potential points off the board. On a less statistical front, the crowd of 69,161 at Husky Stadium was loud and boisterous and, by and large, stayed until the end of the game, which kicked off at 7:36 p.m., the latest start in Husky Stadium history.
RADIO: The Washington ISP Sports Network, with its flagship station KJR 950-AM, will carry the live broadcast of every football game on 15 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. 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 34-2-2 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 38 all-time meetings have been played in Moscow and only two others in Spokane, meaning the Huskies are 32-0-2 all-time vs. the Vandals in Seattle. The Huskies have won 17 consecutive games against Idaho, dating back to the 1938 tie, and are undefeated (with two ties) in their last 33, 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. In 2002, 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. On Sept. 20, 2003, the Huskies posted a 45-14 win. After Terry Johnson recovered a fumble in the endzone to give the UW a 7-0 lead, Idaho tied it on a Michael Harrington TD pass. However, the UW never trailed. Rich Alexis rushed for 116 yards and two scores on 22 carries and Pickett completed 20 of 29 passes for 234 yards. In that game alone, eight different UW players carried the ball, three different players saw time at quarterback and 12 different Huskies caught a pass. Most recently, the Dawgs beat the Vandals, 34-6, on Sept. 17, 2005. Current UW defensive coordinator Nick Holt was the Idaho head coach in that one. Louis Rankin rushed for 119 yards, including a 48-yard touchdown while quarterback Isaiah Stanback ran for one TD and threw another, to tight end Johnie Kirton.
WASHINGTON-IDAHO TIES: A number of UW coaches have ties to Idaho and several played for the Vandals. Of course, UW defensive coordinator Nick Holt was head coach at Idaho in 2004 and 2005. He was also an assistant there from 1990 to 1997. Offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier and running backs coach Joel Thomas are both in Idaho's athletic hall of fame. Nussmeier won the Walter Payton Trophy as Division I-AA's top player in 1993 and passed for 10,824 yards during his Idaho career while Thomas is still Idaho's record holder for career rushes, rushing yards and rushing TDs. Thomas was also a member of Holt's staff in Moscow. UW linebackers coach Mike Cox, a native of Coeur d'Alene, was a three-year starting linebacker at Idaho under Dennis Erickson and Keith Gilbertson and was on the staff from 1987-94. Husky offensive line coach Dan Cozzetto also played linebacker at Idaho, and coached there for a total of 12 seasons. UW safeties coach Jeff Mills was on Chris Tormey's coaching staff at Idaho for all five seasons of Tormey's tenure while d-line coach/special teams coordinator Johnny Nansen worked on Holt's Idaho staff and came to UW directly from the Vandals. Grad assistant Mike Anderson played four years in Moscow, for Holt and Tom Cable, and was a grad assistant there last year. Lastly, as far as the coaching staff goes, UW head strength coach Ivan Lewis is an Idaho Falls native who also played for the Vandals. The current Idaho staff includes to coaches with UW ties. Former Garfield head coach Luther Carr (the Vandals' WR coach) worked on the Husky staff under Rick Neuheisel and his father was a standout Husky player in the late 1950s. Idaho offensive coordinator Steve Axman spent time as an assistant at the UW under Neuheisel and Gilbertson. As far as players go, Washington's roster includes only one player from Idaho: offensive lineman Terence Thomas (Caldwell). The Vandals' most recent roster includes 29 players from the state of Washington, 17 of them from Western Washington and 14 from the Puget Sound region.
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 49-12 record against non-Pac-10 foes in Husky Stadium. Those 12 losses have come to LSU (2009), BYU (2008), Oklahoma (2008), Ohio State (2007), Notre Dame (2005), Fresno State (2004), Nevada (2003), Air Force (1999), Nebraska (1997), Notre Dame (1995), Colorado (1989) and Oklahoma State (1985). The wins during that stretch include victories over No. 22 Boise State in 2007, No. 11 Michigan in 2001, No. 4 Miami in 2000, and No. 12 Nebraska in 1992, to name just four. Prior to the 2004 loss to Nevada, Washington hadn't lost a home game to a non-league opponent since falling to Air Force, 31-21, on September 18, 1999. The Huskies had won 10 such games before that Nevada loss.
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 at the end of last season.
PLAYING AT HOME: Washington has gone unbeaten at home 13 times in its history, including six times in the last 20 seasons. Washington has won 79 of its last 121 (.657) games at Husky Stadium with one tie (79-41-1). Since 1980, the Huskies stand 127-52-2 (.707) at home. Since 1990, the Huskies are 49-29-1 (.627) at Husky Stadium vs. Pac-10 opponents.
HISTORIC HUSKY STADIUM: The 2009 season marks the 90th season of play in Husky Stadium. Original construction on the facility was completed in 1920 when Washington played one game in the new campus facility. Thanks to several major renovations, Husky Stadium's seating capacity has increased to its current total of 72,500. UW's all-time record in Husky Stadium currently stands at 344-164-21 (.670).
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.
OVERALL ATHLETIC SUCCESS: Having firmly established itself as one of the top broad-based Division I intercollegiate athletics programs in the country, the University of Washington once again placed in the top echelon in the annual U.S. Sports Academy Directors' Cup competition in the 2008-2009 academic year. Husky athletics finished 11th among all NCAA Division I institutions (271 schools earned at least a point and were ranked) in the annual standings. Washington scored a total of 1010.25 points in the Director's Cup, which is based solely on NCAA championship competition (and therefore didn't include the Huskies' national championship in men's rowing, which is not an NCAA sport). The 2008-09 Washington athletic season was highlighted by a number of team and individual successes, including NCAA championships in women's cross country and softball, plus the national title in men's rowing. The Huskies also won the Pac-10 championship in women's cross country (posting the best possible score), men's basketball and men's golf and posted top-10 NCAA finishes in men's golf, women's rowing, women's volleyball and women's tennis.