Sept. 29, 2008
The Game: The Washington football team, after having spent the entire month of September at home, returns to the road this weekend in search of its first win. The Huskies (0-4 overall, 0-2 Pac-10) will be led onto the field by redshirt freshman quarterback Ronnie Fouch, taking over for the injured Jake Locker, when they take on Arizona (3-1, 1-0) Saturday afternoon in Tucson. Kickoff for the game, which will be broadcast to a nationwide audience on Versus, is 4:30 p.m. PDT (the time zone in Washington and Arizona is currently the same). After the Arizona game, the Dawgs return to Seattle for their second of three off weeks this season before a 4:00 p.m. game vs. Oregon State on Oct. 18.
Huskies vs. Wildcats History: Washington holds a 16-7-1 (.688) edge in the series against Arizona, with the Huskies taking nine of the last 13. Overall, the Huskies are 31-19-1 all-time against the Arizona schools (Arizona and Arizona State). This year's game will be the third in four years in Tucson. Last year in Seattle, the Wildcats, behind quarterback Willie Tuitama, completed an impressive comeback and beat the UW 48-41 despite Jake Locker rushing for 157 yards and passing for 336. In 2006 in Tucson, the Huskies took a 21-3 lead in the second quarter and won, 21-10. In 2005, also in Tucson, Isaiah Stanback's dramatic, 69-yard bomb on the last play of the first half and 200 rushing yards from James Sims led the Huskies to a 38-14 win. Excluding the 2005 and 2006 games, the series has been marked by very close games recently. In fact, the six UW-Arizona games prior to 2005 were decided by a total of 31 points, with the most lopsided result (a 31-21 Arizona win) coming in 2004. That year, the Wildcats overcame a 13-9 halftime deficit, out-scoring the Huskies, 14-0, in the second half for the win. In 2003, Arizona snapped a string of 13 straight home losses in conference play by pulling out a late, 27-22 victory. In 2002, it was the Huskies who rallied late when Reggie Williams scored on an 80-yard reception with only 2:03 remaining in the game. In 2001, Cody Pickett ran in from three yards out with 13 seconds left to cap an amazing day. Only two weeks after separating his right (throwing) vs. USC, Pickett broke the UW record with 455 passing yards as the Huskies won, 31-28. Also included in the recent close contests are Washington's come-from-behind, 35-32 win in 2000 in Seattle (Marques Tuiasosopo scored with 1:10 left forthe win a week after Curtis Williams was injured at Stanford), and the 1998 31-28 `Cats win, which may be the most memorable game in the series' history. Trailing 28-24 to Washington with under a minute to play, Arizona quarterback Ortege Jenkins flipped head over heels over three Husky defenders, landing on his feet in the end zone for the winning score. Close wins for Arizona are the rule in this series. Three of the Wildcats' seven in the series have come by three points, including Arizona's first-ever win over Washington in 1988, snapping the Huskies' six-game unbeaten streak in the series. The Wildcats overcame two 10-point deficits, but still appeared headed for a tie before Washington quarterback Cary Conklin fumbled in the final minute, setting up Doug Pfaff's game-winning 22-yard field goal with five seconds left. The Wildcats won again by a field goal the following year, marking their longest winning streak (two games) in series history. In his fourth season as a head coach, Arizona's Mike Stoops is 2-2 against Washington. During his three prior years at the UW and seven seasons at Stanford, UW head man Tyrone Willingham is 4-4 against the Wildcats (Stanford and Arizona didn't play one another in 1995 or 1996). All four of Willingham's wins over the `Cats have come in Tucson (1999: 50-22; 2001: 51-37; 2005: 38-14; 2006: 21-10).
Television: The Washington-Arizona will air live on to a national audience on Versus television with Joe Beninati, former Seahawks quarterback Kelly Stouffer and Lewis Johnson 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-Arizona Ties: There is really just one connection between the UW coaches and the Arizona staff. It comes in the form of UA defensive tackles coach Mike Tuiasosopo, who is a cousin of Manu Tuiasosopo, father of former Huskies Zach and Marques Tuiasosopo and uncle to current Dawgs linebacker Trenton Tuiasosopo. Mike Tuiasosopo also worked at Nevada (2000-02) under former Wolfpack head coach and current UW linebackers coach Chris Tormey. Arizona's current roster includes three players from the state of Washington: TE Adam Grant (Puyallup), RB Kevin Morris (West Seattle), TE Brad Posten (Spokane/Lewis & Clark). Washington's roster lists only two Arizonans: cornerback Matt Mosley (Tempe/Corona del Sol) and Kurt Mangum (Chandler). Huskies and Wildcats that went to the same high school: Husky center Gregory Christine and Arizona's Vaughn Dotsy both attended St. Bonaventure High in Ventura, Calif., while Husky receiver Anthony Boyles and Arizona DE Apaiata Tuihalamaka were classmates at L.A.'s Serra HS. Husky long snapper Danny Morovick and UA running back Giacomo Vitko are both products of Mission Viejo High. Finally, like most Pac-10 schools, both teams have Long Beach Poly grads: UW CB Byron Davenport and Wildcats DT Conan Amituanai.
vs. Arizona Schools: Arizona and Arizona State joined the Pac-10 prior to the 1978 football season. Prior to that, the UW had never faced Arizona and had played ASU only once (a 35-12 loss in 1975). Overall, the UW is 31-19-1 (.630) against the two Arizona teams, including a 15-12-1 record in games played in Arizona. In only 16 of the 51 all-time games between the UW and the two Arizona schools has neither team been ranked by the Associated Press.
Last Year vs. Arizona: Arizona QB Willie Tuitama led the Wildcats to a come-from-behind, 48-41 win over the Huskies on Oct. 27, 2007. Tuitama passed for a school-record 502 yards and five touchdowns (including three in the fourth quarter) to overshadow an outstanding game from Husky signalcaller Jake Locker. Locker became just the 19th player in Division I-A history to pass for 300 yards and rush for 100 in the same game, finishing with 336 and 157, respectively. Locker also threw the longest pass in UW history, a 98-yarder to Marcel Reece. However, after fullback Luke Kravitz scored early in the fourth quarter to stretch the UW advantage to 41-26, Tuitama took over, hitting Terrell Thomas with one TD pass and Mike Thomas for the tying and winning scores, the latter of which came with 2:02 on the clock..
Last Time in Tucson: The Huskies improved to 4-1 on the season with a 21-10 win over Arizona on Oct. 1, 2006, at Tucson in the two teams' most recent meeting in the desert. The Huskies scored all 21 of their points over the final six minutes and seven seconds in the second quarter. Trailing 3-0, the Huskies got on the board on a three-year TD pass from Isaiah Stanback to Sonny Shackelford to cap a seven-play, 80-yard drive. After a Wildcats punt, a 44-yard pass from Stanback to Anthony Russo set up a four-yard TD run from Kenny James to make it 14-3. After another punt, the Huskies took over on their own 20-yard line with just 54 seconds left in the half. Stanback hit Shackelford with a 25-yard pass before connecting with Quintin Daniels on a 55-yard score to send the Huskies to the locker room up, 21-3. A 13-yard scoring pass from Willie Tuitama to Syndric Steptoe in the third quarter was the only other score in the game. Washington held the Cats to minus-7 yards rushing, thanks largely to six sacks. Stanback went 14-for-25 for 293 yards and two touchdowns.
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, and vs. Oklahoma, Johri Fogerson started at safety, increasing the total to 10 true freshmen who have played for the Dawgs this season. 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.
September 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. The Dawgs opened Aug. 30 in Eugene, Ore., and won't return to the road until this weekend at Arizona. With the bye week, that's four straight Saturdays at home. 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