Sept. 28, 2009
THE GAME: The Washington football team (2-2 overall, 1-1 in the Pac-10) plays it third and final non-conference game of the regular season this weekend when the Huskies travel to face Notre Dame (3-1). Game time this Saturday at Notre Dame Stadium is set for 12:30 p.m. Pacific Time (3:30 p.m. Eastern) and the game will air live to a nationwide audience on NBC television. The game is the Huskies' second in a row on the road. Washington opened the year with a three-game homestand, going 2-1 over that stretch, including a 16-13 upset of then No. 3 USC that captured the nation's attention. Last Saturday in Palo Alto, the Huskies fell to Stanford, 34-14. Notre Dame, which is receiving votes, but is unranked, in both the AP and coaches' top-25 polls, is coming off a last-minute win at Purdue last Saturday. The Irish also have wins over Nevada and Michigan State and a loss to Michigan on the year. After the trip to South Bend, the Dawgs return home the following weekened to face Arizona.
GAME THEMES vs. THE IRISH: Washington and Notre Dame have become regular foes over the past 15 years or so, as this will be the two teams' sixth meeting dating back to 1995 ... during his seven seasons as an assistant coach at USC (2001-03, 2005-08), Husky head coach Steve Sarkisian was part of a staff that went 6-1 vs. Notre Dame, with the lone loss in that span coming in 2001 ... Notre Dame defensive line coach Randy Hart spent the last 19 seasons as an assistant at Washington, coaching under each of the previous five Husky head coaches ... Wednesday, Sept. 30, is the first day of the fall quarter at the UW, so the Husky players already have four games in the books before having attended a single class ... Washington continues to be a very good team on third down as the Husky offense ranks fifth in the nation in third-down conversions at 58.06 percent ... the Huskies also do well in the red zone, as they have converted 14 of 15 red-zone opportunities this year, 23rd (tied) in the nation.
TELEVISION: The Washington-Notre Dame game will air live on NBC television with Tom Hammond, Pat Haden and Alex Flanagan providing the commentary. Additionally, "Huskies All-Access" airs each Wednesday 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 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.
HUSKIES vs. IRISH HISTORY: Washington and Notre Dame have played one another seven times and the Fighting Irish have won all seven. 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 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, Notre Dame 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. More recently, the Huskies and Irish met in Husky Stadium in 2005. 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. Finally, last year, the Irish came to Seattle and won, 33-7. Notre Dame held the Huskies to only 124 yards of total offense while gaining 459 themselves.
WASHINGTON-NOTRE DAME TIES: Notre Dame has two coaches on its full-time staff that previously worked at Washington: Randy Hart and Tony Alford. Hart was at Washington from 1988 through 2008, primarily as the defensive line coach, but also serving as defensive coordinator for a spell. He's now the D-line coach at Notre Dame. Alford spent one year in Seattle on Rick Neuheisel's staff in 2001, coaching the running backs, the same position he holds now in South Bend. There are no Notre Dame players from Washington, though Irish sophomore DE Ethan Johnson is from Portland, Ore., where he attended Lincoln High alongside UW receiver Jordan Polk. No Huskies hail from Indiana. 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. ND wideout Christopher Gurries and Husky FB Austin Sylvester both attended Bishop Manogue High in Reno, Nev., while Sylvester also attended the Hun School in New Jersey with ND nose tackle Tyler Stockton. Finally, Irish DE Morrice Richardson and Husky DT Tyrone Duncan both went to Westlake High in southern California.
THIRD-DOWN & RED-ZONE SUCCESS: One hallmark of the current season for the UW has been its success on third down and in the red zone. The Huskies currently rank fifth in the nation with a third-down conversion rate of 58.06 percent (36-of-62). Their 36 successful conversions are the most of any team in the country. In the red zone, Washington has scored 14 of 15 times this season, with only a lost fumble marring a perfect record. That 14-for-15 mark (.933) rates 23rd (tied) in the country.
PLAYING THE FRESHMEN: Washington has utilized a total of nine true freshmen this season as TB Demitrius Bronson, DE Talia Crichton, S Nate Fellner, CB Anthony Gobern, WR James Johnson, DE Andru Pulu, DT Semisi Tokolahi, CB Desmond Trufant and LB Jordan Wallace have all seen action this year. Among that group, Crichton, Johnson and Trufant have all started at least one game. Last season, a school-record nine true freshman played for the Huskies, with nine of them starting at least one game. This season's total of nine also matches the total number of true freshmen who played in 2003 and in 2000. The only other total higher than nine was in 1997, when 10 Husky true freshmen saw action.
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.