Sept. 4, 2006
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The Game: The Washington football team (1-0) takes to the road for the first time this season Saturday, Sept. 9, when the Huskies face Oklahoma (1-0) in Memorial Stadium. Kickoff is slated for 12:30 p.m. PDT (2:30 p.m. CDT). The Huskies are coming off a 35-29 win over San Jose State last Saturday at Husky Stadium while the Sooners opened the 2006 campaign with a 24-17 win over UAB. The Sooners were ranked No. 10 in the first Associated press poll and No. 5 in the USA Today coaches' poll. New polls come out later today.
Huskies vs. Sooners History: Washington's one and only 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, allowing an average of only 68 yards per contest. Robinson, who was also the MVP of the 1982 Rose Bowl, picked up 135 on those yards. 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 quarter, 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. Miller 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. Amid controversy, Brigham Young emerged as the No. 1 team in both major polls.
Television: The Washington-Oklahoma game will air live on ABC-TV this Saturday, with Brad Nessler (play-by-play), Bob Griese (color), Paul Maguire (color) and Bonnie Bernstein (sidelines) calling the action. Fans can watch a replay of each game this season on the Dawg Channel at gohuskies.com the Tuesday after the game between 5:00 p.m. and midnight Pacific Time. There is no charge for any Dawg Channel programming this year. Additionally, "Huskies All-Access" airs each Thursday at 7:00 p.m. during the season on Fox Sports. 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 23 different radio stations. Longtime play-by-play man Bob Rondeau and color analyst Chuck Nelson are joined by sideline reporter Elise Woodward. Most broadcasts will also be carried on XM Satellite Radio on channel 194, 195 or 196 and all can be heard over the internet via the Dawg Channel at gohuskies.com, which is available for no charge this season. Saturday's game at Oklahoma will air be carried nationally on Sports USA Radio with Howard David, Gary Barnett and Tim Neverett providing 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 Las Vegas and Phoenix areas, though there are no UW players from the same high school as any OU players. While there hasn't been much crossover between the two teams' coaching staffs, there are at least a few connections. For one, Oklahoma receivers coach and co-offensive coordinator Kevin Sumlin began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Washington State from 1988 to 1990. During that time, Huskies offensive coordinator Tim Lappano worked on the WSU staff as running backs coach and then offensive coordinator. The only other close call is the fact that UW tight ends coach and special teams coordinator Bob Simmons was head coach at Oklahoma State from 1995-2000, giving him some familiarity with the Sooners program.
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 21-18-2 (.537) all-time against the other 11 Big 12 members. The UW is 14-9-1 against the Big 12 in games played in Seattle, 4-6-1 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. It's been five years since the last 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 Husky team visited a Big 12 team was in 2000 when the Dawgs traveled to Boulder and beat Colorado, 17-10. 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 (1-0), Oklahoma State (1-1), Texas (1-3), Texas A&M (1-2), Texas Tech (2-0).
Only the Big Boys: Washington is one of just eight NCAA Division I-A programs that has never faced a non-Division I-A opponent since the current division setup was established in 1978. Coming into this season that club included nine programs, but Colorado dropped out of that group after opening the 2006 season against Montana State and California will also fall from the ranks when the Bears play Portland State later this month. The seven remaining schools that have yet to play a non-Division I-A opponent since the advent of the current format are Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, USC, UCLA and Washington.
No Strangers To Big Games On The Road: Washington has made a habit of taking on big-time opponents on the road over the years. In fact, the Huskies' recent slate of non-conference road opponents reads like a list of perennial college football powers. This week, of course, the Huskies travel to Oklahoma, a seven-time national champion. While the Huskies last won such a game in 2000 (a 17-10 victory at Colorado) and are just 4-10 in these games since 1991, several of the UW's most significant wins in recent history have come in such circumstances, most notably the "Whammy In Miami" in 1994 and a dramatic 1991 win in Nebraska. Here's a list of other such road games over the past 15 seasons (result in parentheses): 2005 at Air Force (L, 18-10 ... played at Seattle's Qwest Field, but technically a home date for the Falcons); 2004 at Notre Dame (L, 38-3); 2003 at Ohio State (L, 28-9); 2002 at Michigan (L, 23-18); 2001 at Miami (L, 65-7); 2000 at Colorado (W, 17-10); 1999 at Brigham Young (L, 35-28); 1998 at Nebraska (L, 55-7); 1997 at Brigham Young (W, 42-20); 1996 at Notre Dame (L, 54-20); 1995 at Ohio State (L, 30-20); 1994 at Miami (W, 38-20); 1993 at Ohio State (L, 21-12); 1991 at Nebraska (W, 36-21).
Improved? Here's Some Proof: While the Huskies' record of 2-9 last season wasn't a truly significant improvement over the previous year's 1-10, it's worth noting that the UW showed marked improvement in a number of key statistics. The Huskies did demonstrably better in both the passing and rushing games, they scored more and they cut down significantly on turnovers. What's more is that the Huskies played only two ranked opponents in 2004 (No. 1 USC, No. 5 Cal) while the 2005 Dawgs have faced five ranked opponents. Here's a look at some key statistics, with the the 2004 and 2005 final totals:
2004 2005 Points (avg. per game) 154 (14.0) 237 (21.5) Rushing Yards Allowed (avg.) 2,020 (183.6) 1,577 (143.4) Pass Efficiency Rating 78.73 123.30 Pass Completion Percentage 40.1% 52.5% Interceptions Thrown 24 8 Fumbles Lost 18 12 Total Turnovers 42 20
San Jose State recap: Washington opened the 2006 season with a 35-29 win over San Jose State last Saturday at Husky Stadium, the UW's first win in a season opener since 2001. The Huskies' ground attack amassed an even 300 yards, led by 145 yards from tailback Louis Rankin, 102 from quarterback Isaiah Stanback and 53 from Kenny James. All three scored a rushing touchdown as well. The first of three first-half UW turnovers that led to San Jose State field goals gave the visitors an earl lead before James gave the Huskies a lead they'd never surrender with a 17-yard TD run. After another Jared Strubeck field goal, Rankin's scintillating 34-yard run made it 14-6 and, after the third FG, Stanback hit James with a 21-yard scoring pass to make it a 21-9 Husky lead at the half. However, in the second half, SJSU came back behind quarterback Adam Tafralis and receiver James Jones, who connected on three TD passes. After the first of those cut the Dawgs' lead to 21-15, Stanback scored on a six-yard run. A 50-yarder from Tafralis to Jones amde it 28-22, but once again, the Huskies answered as, on the first play fo the ensuing drive, Rankin ran 68 yards for his second TD of the day. Tafralis hit Jones for a six-yard score with 2:03 remaining, but despite getting the ball back for one last possession, the Spartans couldn't complete the comeback.
Decade After Decade: Washington has won a conference title and a trip to the Rose Bowl in each of the last nine decades, dating back to the 1920s when Washington won the berth in 1923 and 1925. In the 1930s, the Dawgs won the `36 title. In the `40s, Washington earned the trip in 1943 and then barely slipped in under the wire in the 1950s, winning the 1959 crown. The Huskies won two Rose Bowl berths in the 1960s -- 1960 and 1963 -- and one in the 1970s (1977). Titles in 1980 and 1982 did it for that decade and three straight trips to Pasadena to begin the 1990s covered that 10-year span. Now in the 2000s, UW was the first team to earn Rose Bowl berths in nine straight decades. USC joined the Dawgs in that distinction in 2004 after their New Year's Day appearance in Pasadena.
Finishing First or Second: Despite a 10th-place finish in the Pac-10 in 2004 and 2005, Washington has finished either first or second in the conference (including ties) in 18 of the last 29 seasons, dating back to a fourth-place finish in 1976. Over that span, Washington has won the championship (outright or shared) eight times - 1977, 1980, 1981, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1995 and 2000 - while finishing second 10 other times.
The 100-Yard Factor: Since the 1947 season, Washington is 162-40-3 (.798) when a Husky player rushes for 100 yards in a game. The Huskies went 3-1 in such games in 2003, 1-1 in 2004 and 2-3 last season. In the 2006 season opener vs. San Jose State, two Huskies (Louis Rankin, 145 yards; Isaiah Stanback, 102) ran for 100 or more in a UW win.
History Lesson: Successfully rushing the football and winning go hand-in-hand for the Huskies. Since 1990, Washington has rushed for 200 yards in a game 64 times. The Huskies' record stands at 56-7-1 (.883) in those contests. Since the 1995 season, Washington is 31-4-1 (.875) when rushing for 200 yards. In their season opening win over San Jose State, the Huskies won behind 300 rushing yards. However, las season, the Huskies rushed for 200 yards on three occasions, but went only 1-2 in those three (the lone win coming last week at Arizona).
Playing at Home: Washington has gone unbeaten at home 13 times in its history, including six times in the last 16 seasons. Washington has won 75 of its last 101 (.748) games at Husky Stadium with one tie (75-25-1). Since 1980, the Huskies stand 123-36-2 (.770) at home. Since 1990, the Huskies are 47-18-1 (.720) at Husky Stadium vs. Pac-10 opponents.
Historic Husky Stadium: The 2006 season marks the 87th 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 340-147-21 (.690).
Captains: Washington will not have season-long captains again 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 each game's captains:
San Jose State: Stanley Daniels, Kenny James, Isaiah Stanback, C.J. Wallace
Degrees of Success: Last June, a total of 14 current Husky football players participated in graduation ceremonies at the UW. While all remain enrolled and none have technically collected their diplomas, all have completed their coursework. Additionally, two former Husky wide receiver greats earned their undergraduate degrees last June: Mario Bailey and Spider Gaines. Here's a list of the 14 current UW football players who went through graduation ceremonies last June (the list doesn't include Dan Milsten, who is acting as a student coach after his playing career was cut short by injury): DE Brandon Ala, PK Michael Book, OG Stanley Daniels, CB Matt Fountaine, CB Dashon Goldson, TB Kenny James, DT Donny Mateaki, CB Josh Okoebor, FB Mark Palaita, TB Shelton Sampson, QB Isaiah Stanback, QB Felix Sweetman, OG Clay Walker and OLB Scott White.
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. Senior cornerback Matt Fountaine's older brother, Jamal, was a four-year letterman defensive lineman in the early 1990s at the UW. Fullback Luke Kravitz' father Al, was a defensive end that lettered at the UW in 1970 and 1971. Freshman 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. Senior safety C.J. Wallace is a cousin of former UW wide receiver Ken Conley, who lettered in 1973 and 1974. Freshman defensive end is the younger brother of former Husky defensive lineman Sekou Wiggs, and finally, safety Chris Hemphill and cornerback Roy Lewis are cousins.
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 2005-2006 academic year. Husky athletics finished 18th among all NCAA Division I institutions in the annual standings. The top-20 placing was the seventh for Washington since the program began in 1993-94 and its fifth in the last six seasons. Washington scored a total of 692.25 points in the Director's Cup, which is based solely on NCAA championship competition. The 2005-06 Washington athletic season was highlighted by a number of team and individual successes, including the school's first-ever NCAA volleyball championship last fall. Husky athletics added a total of five national championships to their record books, including a team title for women's volleyball, IRA Championship titles for men's crew in the Freshman eights and open four boats, and individual track and field titles for Amy Lia in the 1,500-meters and Ryan Brown in the 800-meters. In addition, 34 individuals earned All-America honors for their performances in competition.
Academics Advisors Honored: The University of Washington student-athlete academic services unit was honored over the summer by the National Association of Academic Advisors for Athletics (N4A) when senior advisors Ashlee Anderson and Eric Davis were each presented with regional awards. The pair was honored at the annual N4A national convention in Pittsburgh, Pa,. with the organization's Region V Professional Promise award. Region V covers all institutions of higher education west of Colorado. The award recognizes N4A members who have been in the field five years or fewer and show great professional promise. Each region selects one recipient each year and they are recognized at the national convention. This year, for the first time in organization history, Region V took the unique step of awarding two winners in Anderson and Davis.
Academic Success: The UW is no stranger to success in its intercollegiate athletics program. From its national championship volleyball and rowing squads to the 34 student-athletes who earned All-America honors, the UW's athletic profile is among the best in the nation. Just as the bar is set at a high level on the field, Husky student-athletes also are achieving academic success at an impressive rate. The latest graduation rate report, produced by the NCAA and released over the summer, show Washington as having the highest graduation rate among Division IA public institutions on the West Coast and the second-highest among the schools in the Pacific-10 Conference. One-half of the nearly 600 student-athletes at the UW recorded a grade point average surpassing 3.0 during the recently-completed spring quarter. 92 student-athletes were honored as Dean's List recipients and five registered a perfect 4.0 for the quarter. Of UW's 21 sports (indoor/outdoor track and field count as one), 12 registered a team GPA over a 3.0 during the spring. Student-athletes at the University of Washington graduate at the second-highest rate in the Pac-10 Conference and the highest among public Division IA institutions on the West Coast. According to the latest NCAA graduation rate report, the four-class average of student-athletes entering school in 1988-99 graduated at a rate of 68 percent. That eclipses the national Division I average of 62 percent. UW's student-athlete graduation success rate, a recent metric designed by the NCAA that includes all first-time freshmen and transfers, is listed at 84 percent, which ranks as the second-best among all Division I public institutions on the West Coast and is significantly better than the national Division I average of 74 percent.