Sept. 16, 2002
The Game: The Washington football team (1-1) returns to action after a Saturday off last week. This Saturday, Sept. 21, the Huskies take on Wyoming (0-3) in only the second-ever meeting between the two UW's. The game, which will air on Fox Sports Net, is slated to kick off at 7:00 p.m. Washington, ranked No. 13 in both the Associated Press rankings and the ESPN/USA Today coaches' poll, is in the midst of a rare five-game homestand. After the Wyoming game, the Huskies finish up the non-conference schedule vs. Idaho on Sept. 28. The following two Saturdays, the Huskies play host to California and Arizona in their first two Pac-10 games of the season. Before the Huskies play USC in Los Angeles on Oct. 19, they will have gone 48 days without playing a road game.
Huskies vs. Cowboys History: Washington and Wyoming have met only once all-time, in a season-opening game in 1979. On that day, Sept. 8, 1979, the 15th-ranked Huskies opened the season with a 38-2 win over Wyoming to begin a season that would see the UW finish with a 10-2 record and win over Texas in the Sun Bowl. Despite a rather lop-sided score, the game did feature its exciting moments. Most prominently, Husky senior tailback Joe Steele overcame the legendary Hugh McElhenny to become the Huskies' all-time rushing leader, breaking The King's old mark of 2,499 career rush yards. Steele ran for 106 yards and three touchdowns on the day, leading a UW rushing attack that piled up 322 yards. Steele scored on runs of five, two and 23 yards. Washington quarterbacks Tom Porras and Tom Flick combined to complete 12-of-18 pass attempts for 139 yards and a touchdown. Porras was 10-for-14 for 96 yards while Flick's 13-yard toss to fullback Ron Gipson provided the TD. The Cowboys' only points on the day came in the fourth quarter when then-freshman Paul Skansi, who would go on to a great UW career, was tackled in the end zone on a punt return, resulting in a safety.
Home Winning Streak: Washington enters Saturday's game with the longest active home winning streak in the Pac-10 Conference at 15 games (Nebraska's 24-game home win streak is the nation's longest; Miami's 17-game streak is second-longest). The last time the Huskies lost a home game was a 28-7 defeat at the hands of Arizona State Oct. 16, 1999. The Dawgs won their remaining two home games that year, and won all six games at Husky Stadium in each of the last two years. This year, the Husky schedule includes seven home games, including five in a row in the early part of the season. The modern Husky record for consecutive home wins is 17, set between 1991 and 1993, so if the Huskies can win their first four home games, they'll set a new modern school record. Last year, Oregon ran its home win streak to 23 games before losing to Stanford at Autzen Stadium. The Pac-10 record for home win streak is 26 (California, 1919-23). The Huskies' all-time record is 44 straight home wins, set from 1908 to 1917 (mostly prior to the founding of the conference), in the midst of the UW's 63-game overall unbeaten streak, still an NCAA record. The 44-game home win streak was broken by a 0-0 tie with Oregon State in 1917, but the UW went on to win six more home games after that, extending their home unbeaten streak to 51 games. The 44-game home winning streak is still the sixth-longest in NCAA history.
Television: The Washington-Wyoming game will air live on Fox Sports Net with Steve Physioc (play-by-play), Tom Ramsey (color) and Lewis Johnson (sidelines) calling the action. The game will also air on tape delay on Fox Sports in the Northwest with David Locke and former Husky QB Sonny Sixkiller providing the call. The replay will air Sunday at 5:00 p.m. A new show, "The Washington Football Experience" will air for the each Thursday (except this week) during the season on Fox Sports. The new program is an up-close look at each Husky game, with one-on-one player interviews and sideline photography.
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 on 19 different radio stations. Longtime broadcast team Bob Rondeau (play-by-play), Chuck Nelson (color) and Bill Swartz (sidelines) provide the call.
Huskies vs. Mountain West Teams: Washington has faced five of the eight current members of the Mountain West Conference, posting a winning record against five of them and a 2-6 mark vs. Air Force. Aside from its games against Air Force, Washington has gone: 4-2 vs. Brigham Young, 2-0 vs. San Diego State, 6-0 vs. Utah and 1-0 vs. Wyoming, good for a composite record of 15-8 against MWC competition. The Huskies have never faced Colorado State, New Mexico or UNLV from the Mountain West. Under coach Rick Neuheisel, the Huskies have dropped both of their meeting with MWC opponents, losing to BYU and Air Force in the first two games of Neuheisel's UW career. While at Colorado, however, Neuheisel was much more successful vs. the MWC, going 5-0 by beating Colorado State four times and Wyoming once (20-19 in 1997).
Continuity of Coaching: Going back to 1957, Washington has had only four head football coaches: Jim Owens (1957-75), Don James (1976-92), Jim Lambright (1993-99) and Rick Neuheisel (1999-present). In that time, the nine other Pac-10 schools have had an average of about eight coaches each, a total of 74 (counting some of them -- Bill Walsh, John Robinson, etc. -- more than once). Oregon has had the fewest with only six head coaches over that span. Arizona State, California, Oregon State, UCLA, USC and Washington State have had eight each. Arizona's had nine head coaches since '57 and Stanford has had 11.
Under The Lights: The Huskies' 7 p.m. start this Saturday vs. Wyoming will mark only the sixth night game in Husky Stadium history, though night games are becoming increasingly common with the installation of lights at Husky Stadium. Washington is 3-2 in night games, and there have been some classics in the five. The 1985 loss to Oklahoma State, a disputable "night" game with its 5:30 p.m. start, featured State's Thurman Thomas rushing for 237 yards on 40 carries. In 1992, the Huskies beat Nebraska, 29-14, in one of the loudest games in Husky Stadium history. In 1998, the famous "Leap by the Lake," Ortege Jenkins' game-winning flip into the endzone, came in a 31-28 Arizona win. In 1999, Washington handed Oregon a 34-20 loss despite the Ducks scoring on the opening kickoff. Willie Hurst ran for 161 yards and Marques Tuiasosopo completed 17-of-21 for 211 yards and three TDs. In 2000, the Huskies' most recent night game, Oregon State missed a last-second field goal that would have sent the game into overtime as Washington won, 33-30.
Washington-Wyoming Ties: First-year Washington wide receivers coach Bobby Kennedy spent the 1993 and 1994 seasons as receivers coach at Wyoming, working under Cowboys head man Joe Tiller. At Wyoming, Kennedy worked with receivers Marcus Harris and Ryan Yarborough, who are still listed Nos. 2 and 3 on the NCAA's career receiving yards list and in the top five for career receiving touchdowns. Wyoming defensive backs coach Aaron Alford is the younger brother of Tony Alford, who coached the Huskies' running backs last year before going to Iowa State this season. Cowboys offensive line coach Lawrence Livingston has coached in the Pac-10 at Washington State (1995-97) and Arizona (2000). Wyoming receivers coach Rob Phenicie was a grad assistant at UCLA in 1991 and 1992 when Rick Neuheisel was a Bruins assistant. Finally, Cowboys QB coach Mick McCall and Husky defensive coordinator Tim Hundley spent two seasons together at Oregon State (1988-89). Washington's roster doesn't include any players from the state of Wyoming and the Cowboys' roster doesn't have any Washington players. However, several of the players have crossed paths. Husky junior receiver Eddie Jackson was a teammate of Wyoming sophomore offensive guard Henry Randle at Coffeyville (Kan.) CC last season. Cowboys defensive lineman Chad Beuhler also went to Coffeyville, though he left the year prior to Jackson's arrival. Husky junior center Mike Thompson went to the same high school -- Cherry Creek in Englewood, Colo. -- as Wyoming sophomore DT Jacob Bonde and senior LB Matt Klotz. Finally, Cowboys freshman OL Jason Karcher attended McClintock High in Tempe, Ariz., the alma mater of UW junior defensive tackle Terry Johnson and Neuheisel.
Home vs. Non Conference: Washington has been very tough to beat in home, non-conference game over the last couple of decades or so. Going back to (and including) the 1981 season, the Huskies have posted a 41-5 record against non-Pac-10 foes in Husky Stadium. Those five losses have come to Air Force (1999), Nebraska (1997), Notre Dame (1995), Colorado (1989) and Oklahoma State (1985). The wins during that stretch include victories over No. 11 Michigan last year, No. 4 Miami in 2000, and No. 12 Nebraska in 1992, to name just three. Coach Rick Neuheisel is 6-1 in such games, claiming the wins over Michigan last season and Miami in 2000, with the lone loss coming in his first home game as Husky coach vs. Air Force in 1999.
Tale Of Two Halves: It may be too early in the season for stats like this, but the Huskies have most certainly been a superior second-half team this season. Washington has been outscored 24-13 in the first half through two games. However, in the second half, the Huskies have out-scored their opponents, 50-17. Washington has scored 27 in the third quarter and 23 in the fourth while giving up seven and 10, respectively.
Pickett Eyes Career Top-10s: Junior quarterback Cody Pickett will break onto several UW passing career top-10s at some point this season. With 3,080 career passing yards, Pickett needs 198 yards to catch Warren Moon (3,277) for the 10th spot. He also needs only 32 more completions and 109 attempts to make the top 10 in those two categories. His career mark of 14.0 yards per completion ranks No. 3 and his 205.3 yards per game (15 games) would already rank No. 1 in school history, except that there's an 18-game minimum. Same goes for his 14.6 completions per game, another career No. 1 if he met the 18-game minimum. He already qualifies for career completion percentage as his .568 mark ranks No. 5 on the UW list. His eight career 200-yard passing days already rank him No. 8 in UW history and his seven 50-plus-yard passes rank second, two back of Damon Huard's record of nine.
More Records vs. SJSU: Cody Pickett added his name to the record books a few more times in the San Jose State game Sept. 7. After throwing for 318 yards the previous week at Michigan, he became the first Husky ever to throw for 300 yards in consecutive games with 347 vs. the Spartans. He also tied Brock Huard for the UW record for most 300-yard games with his fourth. His 89-yard pass to Reggie Williams was the longest in school history and extended his record of most 70-plus yard passes in school history. He has four.
Williams Chasing 'Super Mario': Sophomore wide receiver Reggie Williams was only one game into his sophomore season when he passed the 1,000-yard mark for career receiving. With 1,205 career yards, he is just 188 shy of reaching the No. 10 spot on the UW career receiving yardage list. In only his second season, he needs to average 84.4 yards per game the rest of the season to surpass Mario Bailey (2,093 yards from 1988-91) as the Huskies' all-time receiving yards leader. Or, one could say that he needs to average only 38.3 games over the next 22 games (through the end of his junior season) to break Bailey's record. Additionally, with an average of 92.7 yards per game during his career thusfar, Williams would easily be the Huskies' all-time yards-per-game leader (the mark is 65.9 by Brian Slater, 1985-88). However, with only 13 career games, Williams doesn't meet the 18-game minimum yet.
Rich's Return: After a sensational freshman year in which he broke the school's freshman rushing record (726 yards) and posted four 100-yard games, junior Rich Alexis suffered through an admittedly rough season in 2001, gaining only 391 yards on the ground. In 2002, he seems to have returned to the form that earned him freshman All-America honors in 2000. Through two games, Alexis has already gained 223 yards on 52 carries, a 4.3-yard average. He's also scored two touchdowns and has carried the load, accounting for 52 of 59 total carries by Husky backs. In the season opener at Michigan, he fell only two yards short of the century mark, finishing with 98 yards. Last week vs. San Jose State, he burst out for125.
Alexis Rising: With 1,340 rushing yards and 16 rushing TDs on 294 career carries, junior tailback Rich Alexis is closing in on some UW top-10 career lists. He already ranks No. 9 on the Huskies' career rushing yards-per-game list with 55.8. He needs 52 carries to catch former QB Marques Tuiasosopo (346) for 10th place on the career rushing attempts list. With 558 more yards, he'll catch Toussaint Tyler (1,898 yards) for 10th place in career rushing yards, and with three more touchdowns, he'll tie Tyler and Mark Brunell (16 each) for 10th on the career rushing TDs chart.
Tank's TDs: Junior defensive tackle Terry Johnson, who entered the UW in 2000 as a tight end, has put those pass-catching skills to good use as a defensive player. Over the last three games, dating back to last season's Holiday Bowl, Johnson has scored two touchdowns on interception returns. In the Holiday Bowl, he picked off a Major Applewhite pass and ran it back 38 yards for a score. Against San Jose State, he intercepted a pass in the endzone for seven points.
Random Notes: After having opened the season on the road at Michigan, the UW will stay at home for five consecutive games, marking the first time since 1931 that a UW team has played five straight at Husky Stadium in a single season ... in the early part of the last century, it was relatively common for the UW to play much more than half of its games at home and five-game homestands were not rare. However, since the '31 season (the Huskies went 4-1-1 in a six-game home stretch that year), the Huskies have never played more than four in a row at home in any one season ... three times, however, the Huskies have stretched lengthy homestands over two seasons: the UW played its last three of 1969 and the first four of the 1970 season on Montlake and in 1973-74 and 1975-76, the Huskies played six straight home games over two seasons ... last season, Washington led the Pac-10 in attendance for the 11th time in the last 12 seasons, averaging 72,469 fans per game ... not bad, considering that Husky Stadium has a smaller capacity than five of 10 conference schools (ASU, Cal, Stanford, UCLA and USC) ... the 2002 Husky schedule includes a quirk that sees the Dawgs close out the regular season against its three Northwest Pac-10 rivals: Oregon State, Oregon and Washington State (in that order) ... the Huskies haven't played the other three Northwest teams in order (at the end or any other part of the season) since 1914, when Washington's seven-game schedule finished out in the same order as this year's ... the UW also played the three rivals in order in the 1908, 1911 and 1912 seasons ... walkon freshman cornerback Simi Reynolds, who's actually at the UW on a baseball scholarship, will receive a community service award from the Athletes for a Better World organization in a luncheon at Seahawks Stadium on Oct. 29 ... Reynolds, whose older brother Tila is the baseball team's starting shortstop, is being honored for his work mentoring young children with disabilities and for his founding role in Athletes for Kids.