Sept. 22, 2003
The Game: Washington (2-1) kicks off the Pac-10 Conference schedule this Saturday, Sept. 27, when Stanford (2-0) comes to Husky Stadium for a 12:30 p.m. game. The Huskies, fresh from a 45-14 win over Idaho last Saturday, moved up to No. 18 in the latest Associated Press top-25 poll while they have now also earned the No. 18 ranking in the ESPN/USA Today coaches' poll. Stanford, which has played fewer games than any Pac-10 team this year, opened the season with a win over San Jose State on Sept. 6 and then handed Brigham Young a 18-14 loss last Saturday. The UW-Stanford game marks the end of the Huskies' three-game, month-long homestand. UW will have spent 34 days at home since opening the season at Ohio State when they return to the road next weekend to face UCLA in the Rose Bowl.
Huskies vs. Cardinal History: Washington holds a 38-32-4 advantage in the series against Stanford, but have been the dominant team lately. After winning eight straight vs. Stanford from 1959 to 1966, the Huskies lost 10 in a row from 1967 to 1976. Since that 1976 loss, Washington has gone 19-2 against the Cardinal. One of those two losses was a big upset in 1982 when the No. 2 Huskies fell to the Cardinal, 43-31, in Palo Alto. The only other UW loss during that stretch came at Stanford in 1994, when the Cardinal upset 12th-ranked Washington, 46-28. The Huskies have not lost to the Cardinal at home since 1975, a 24-21 Stanford victory. That home win streak in the series has run to 10 games following a 42-28 UW victory at Husky Stadium in 2001, the two teams' most recent meeting. One or both of the two teams have been ranked in the AP Top 25 in each of the last 10 meetings and in 18 of the last 20. Also, over the last five seasons, the two old league rivals have not played one other three times (1998, 1999 and 2002). Washington and Stanford first played one another in 1893 in a game that marked the first major college opponent for UW. That game, played in West Seattle, resulted in a 40-0 Stanford victory. There wouldn't be another matchup between the two schools until 1920, when the Cardinal nipped Washington, 3-0, in the last UW home game played somewhere other than Husky Stadium. Three weeks after that game, the UW would open what would eventually come to be known as Husky Stadium. After a 0-0 tie in 1921, the Huskies' first victory in the series came in 1922, 12-8 at Palo Alto. As head coach at California, Keith Gilbertson faced Stanford four times, going 2-2. Prior to last season, Gilbertson was the last Bears coach to beat the Cardinal. Stanford head coach Buddy Teevens has never faced a Washington team as a head coach or assistant coach.
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 7,652 yards, nearly 2,000 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 2,704 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 22 games remaining in his career.
Television: The Washington-Stanford game will not appear on a live telecast. However, it will air on tape delay the following day at 5:00 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. Westwood One (Bob Fitzgerald and Jim Mora) will also bring the game to a nationwide network.
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 50-38 while going 30-25 in conference games.
Washington-Stanford Ties: Three members of Stanford's current coaching staff have served as assistant coaches at Washington in recent years. Offensive line coach Steve Morton served in the same role at the UW under Don James and Jim Lambright from 1992 to 1998. Running backs coach Wayne Moses was the Huskies' RB coach from 1997 to 2000 and co-defensive coordinator/LB coach Tom Williams was the UW linebackers coach for three seasons (1999-2001). While none of the members of UW's current staff have ever worked at Stanford, there is some crossover with some of the SU assistants (other than with the three former UW coaches). Dave Tipton, the longtime Cardinal d-line coach, was on the same defensive staff as Husky co-defensive coordinator Tim Hundley at Oregon State in 1988. Stanford co-defensive coordinator A.J. Christoff graduated from Idaho, though he wasn't with the Vandals when Husky coach Keith Gilbertson worked in Moscow. Christoff did, however, work alongside Hundley and Chuck Heater at Colorado and was also with Hundley at UCLA. Stanford's preseason roster listed five players from the state of Washington: guard David Beall (Vancouver/Mountain View), offensive tackle Merlin Brittenham (Renton/Lindbergh), quarterback ryan Eklund (Federal Way/Decatur), flanker Justin McCullum (Mercer Island), and tight end Brett Pierce (Vancouver/Columbia River). Additionally, Stanford's Taualai Fonoti played at St. Louis High in Honolulu, alma mater of Huskies Wilson Afoa and Joe Lobendahn while SU quarterback Chris Lewis and UW cornerback Kim Taylor both attended Long Beach Poly. Washington's roster includes only two players from the Bay Area: cornerback Matt Fountaine (Oakland/Bishop O'Dowd) and offensive lineman Robin Meadow (San Francisco/De La Salle). UW also has two players from Sacramento (Manase Hopoi and C.J. Wallace) and one from Carmel (Jon Lyon).
Last Time vs. Stanford: Husky tailback Willie Hurst led the way as the 11th-ranked Huskies handled No. 10 Stanford on November 3, 2001, at Husky Stadium in the UW and Stanford's most recent meeting. Hurst ran for 108 yards and three touchdowns on 22 carries. With the game tied at 28-28 in the fourth quarter, Washington marched 77 yards on 14 plays over six minutes, 13 seconds to take the lead. Hurst ran it in from two yards out to cap that drive and added his third TD run of the game, at 15-yarder with four seconds remaining in the game, to close out the win. Washington had led 28-13 early in the third quarter after Hurst's first touchdown, but Stanford got an 80-yard run from Brian Allen after the ensuing kickoff, an eight-yard score from Allen early in the fourth quarter and a two-point conversion to tie the game. Husky quarterback Cody Pickett had a solid game, throwing for 291 yards and one TD on 15-of-28 passing. He didn't throw an interception and completed his one touchdown pass to Reggie Williams, an eight-yarder. Allen ran for 138 yards and two scores on 213 carries to lead to the Cardinal. Chris Lewis, Stanford's sophomore QB, completed 19-of-34 for 231 yards. Mike Biselli added three field goals for the Cardinal.
vs. Bay Area Schools: Washington has a combined record of 94-66-8 vs. opponents from the San Francisco Bay Area. Washington is 46-33-4 against California, 38-32-4 vs. Stanford, 8-0 vs. San Jose State, 1-1 vs. St. Mary's and 1-0 vs. Santa Clara. The Huskies haven't played Santa Clara since 1935 and haven't faced St. Mary's since 1947. Since 1977, Washington is 46-3-0 vs. Bay Area teams: 19-1 vs. Cal, 20-2 vs. Stanford and 7-0 vs. San Jose State.
Idaho Redux: The Washington rushing attack took center stage as the Huskies overcame a slow start for a 45-14 win over Idaho. As a team, the UW ran for 231 yards, most since the 2001 Rose Bowl win over Purdue. Senior tailback Rich Alexis rushed for 116 yards and two touchdowns while redshirt freshman backup Kenny James carried the ball eight times for 50 yards. Shelton Sampson, Zach Tuiasosopo and quarterback Cody Pickett each added a ground TD as the UW ran for five rushing scores. Pickett completed 20 of 29 passes for 234 yards, distributing the ball to 12 different receivers, including junior Justin Robbins, who shared the team lead with four catches. Robbins, plagued by a variety of injuries, was playing his first game in two years and only his second in three seasons. Washington took a 7-0 lead four minutes into the game. After the Vandals were pinned at their own one-yard line on their first drive, tailback Malfred Shaw fumbled in the endzone and UW defensive tackle Terry Johnson fell on the ball for a touchdown. UI, however, took advantage of a Husky fumble to tie the game at 7-7 on a three-yard pass from Michael Harrington to Zach Gerstner. After Alexis' first TD and an Evan Knudson field goal put the UW in front, 17-7, Idaho closed to 17-14 on another Harrington TD pass, also following a Washington fumble. However, Alexis' second TD run opened the margin and three more rushing scoring closed it out.
First-Timers Club: Of the 72 Husky players that traveled to Ohio State for the season opener, 31 had never played in a Division I football game while 26 had never traveled, other than to bowl games. A total of 23 Huskies saw their first college action in front of the 105,078 fans at Ohio Stadium, including seven true freshmen. Those true freshmen were SS C.J. Wallace, ILB Tahj Bomar, K/P Sean Douglas, and WRs Corey Williams, Quintin Daniels, Bobby Whithorne and Sonny Shackelford. Additionally, the following Huskies played in their first game last week: CB Matt Fountaine, TB Shelton Sampson, ILB Scott White, TB Kenny James, K Evan Knudson, ILB Mike McEvoy, P Garth Erickson, DE Brandon Ala, OG, Tusi Sa'au, OG Clay Walker, DT Stanley Daniels, TE Jon Lyon, TE Ben Bandel, TE Jason Benn, DE Donny Mateaki and DE Dan Milsten. Finally, four Huskies made their first-ever start in Columbus: FB Adam Seery, DE Graham Lasee and OGs Sa'au and Walker.
Tale Of Two Halves: While it might be easy to accuse the Huskies of being a slow-starting team, the evidence shows that the UW finishes games strong. The Huskies have been out-scored in the first half this season, 38-27 (21-21 in the first quarter, 17-6 in the second). However, in the second half, the UW holds a dominating 65-17 edge. Washington has a 45-17 scoring advantage in the third quarter and have held opponents scoreless in the final period thusfar, outscoring them by a healthy 20-0 margin. Same goes for yards of total offense, especially when you look at the Husky defense. The UW has allowed a total of 538 yards in the first half this year (237 vs. OSU, 186 vs. Indiana, 115 vs. Idaho), but have clamped down in the second half, allowing a total of 318 (129, 98 and 91, respectively). Washington has allowed only 50 yards of total offense over the course of three fourth-quarters this season while gaining an aggregate 390 yards in the last quarter. Here's a look at the Huskies' and their opponents' performance by quarter so far this season:
Total Offense 1 2 3 4 Total Opponents 313 225 247 50 835 Washington 266 193 405 390 1,254
Points Scored 1 2 3 4 Total Opponent 21 6 45 20 92 Washington 21 17 17 0 55
Spreading It Around: Through only three games, Washington has had a remarkable 17 players already record a pass reception during the 2003 season. That number is likely to go to at least 18 as regularly-used receiver Bobby Whithorne has yet to catch a pass so far. A scan of the records indicates that the UW has never had as many as 17 receivers make a catch in a single season (records go back til 1972; before that only leaders are listed in final stats). Washington has used 16 receivers in two somewhat recent seasons: 1992 and 2001, when the 16 receivers included Omare Lowe (on a shovel pass on a fake punt) and quarterback Cody Pickett (thrown to himself on a batted pass). Of the 17 Huskies to catch a pass this year, 11 were making their first career reception: Kenny James, Quintin Daniels, Shelton Sampson, Ben Bandel, Adam Seery, Ty Eriks, Corey Williams, Isaiah Stanback, Sonny Shackelford, Clayton Ramsey and Jon Lyon.
The 100-Yard Factor: Since the 1947 season, Washington is 156-35-3 (.812) when a Husky player rushes for 100 yards in a game. Last week vs. Idaho, Rich Alexis gained 116 yards in a UW win over Idaho.
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 57 times. The Huskies' record stands at 52-4-1 (.921) in those contests. Since the 1995 season, Washington is 27-1-1 (.948) when rushing for 200 yards.
Playing at Home: Washington has gone unbeaten at home 13 times in its history, including six times in the last 11 seasons. Washington has won 69 of its last 83 (.837) games at Husky Stadium with one tie (69-13-1). Since 1980, the Huskies stand 117-24-2 (.825) at home. Since 1990, the Huskies are 43-9-1 (.821) at Husky Stadium vs. Pac-10 opponents.