Sept. 1, 2003
The Game: The Washington football team (0-1) looks to rebound from an opening-day, 28-9 loss last Saturday at defending national champion Ohio State. The Huskies, who dropped out of the ESPN coaches' poll today (new Associated Press poll is not yet out) open the home season this Saturday, Sept. 6, when they play host to another Big Ten opponent in Indiana (0-1). The Hoosiers lost last Saturday at Connecticut, 34-10. Kickoff for Saturday's game is 1:00 p.m. and Fox Sports Net will be on hand to televise to a national audience. Saturday will mark the home debut of new Husky head coach Keith Gilbertson, who was named top Dawg only a month and a day before the opener at Ohio State.
Huskies vs. Hoosiers History: Indiana has come away victorious in both of its games against Washington, with both UW-IU games taking place in the 1970s. September 25, 1976, in front of 40,425 at Husky Stadium, coach Lee Corso's Indiana team handed second-year head coach Don James and the Huskies a 20-13 loss. A fourth-quarter, one-yard touchdown run by Hoosier fullback Rick Enis, his second one-yard TD of the day, broke the 13-13 tie. Two Huskies amassed more than 100 yards rushing in the game as Ron Rowland picked up 121 yards and one touchdown on 26 carries and Robin Earl ran for 101 yards on 21 tries. Husky quarterback Warren Moon, in his first full year at the helm of the UW offense, completed only five of 17 passes for 59 yards. Indiana, on the other hand, rushed for 219 yards as a team (to UW's 233) and passed for only 46. Two years later, the Huskies travelled to Bloomington for the rematch. Washington entered the game ranked No. 15 in the nation, but lost to the unranked Hoosiers, 14-7. That year, Indiana, still coached by Corso, would finish 4-7 while Washington finished the '78 season 7-4. Washington fell behind 14-0 on a second-quarter TD run from tailback Mike Harkrader (two yards) and a fourth-quarter, one-yard run from flanker Ulysses Burnett. Washington, shut out through three-plus quarters, finally got on the board in the final period when Spider Gaines caught a nine-yard TD pass from Tom Porras. As they did in the loss two seasons earlier, the UW out-gained the Hoosiers in a loss. Washington ran for 177 yards and passed for 225 for 402 total. Indiana rushed for 238, but didn't complete a pass in the game. Joe Steele rushed for 155 yards on 28 carries and Porras finished 16-for-26 for 215 yards and two interceptions. IU quarterback Scott Arnett attempted three passes with no completions and no yards and was intercepted once.
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 7,128 yards, nearly 1,400 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 2,534 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 24 games remaining in his career.
Television: The Washington-Indiana game will air live to a national audience on Fox Sports Net with Steve Physioc (play-by-play) and Tom Ramsey (color) providing the commentary. The game will also air on tape delay Sunday at 4:00 p.m. on Fox Sports in the Northwest with Jim Watson and former Husky QB Sonny Sixkiller calling the action. Also, "The Washington 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.
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 48-38 while going 30-25 in conference games.
Washington-Indiana Ties: There very little crossover between the coaching staffs at Indiana and Washington. While IU head coach Gerry DiNardo spent a long time at Colorado as an assistant, he was never on the same staff as any of the current UW coaches. Hoosier offensive coordinator Al Borges has recently served as offensive coordinator at California, UCLA and Boise State, but again, never at the same time as any of the numerous UW coaches that have worked at those three schools. The only two coaches who have served together on the same staff are Husky defensive line coach and assistant head coach Randy Hart and IU defensive coordinator Tim Kish. Hart and Kish both worked at Purdue during the 1979 through 1981 seasons. There's only one player on the Indiana roster from the west coast (junior OL Chris Voltattorni from Torrance, Calif.) and none from the state of Washington. Junior running back Yamar Washington attended the same high school (Klein Forest in Houston, Texas) as former UW linebacker Houdini Jackson. There are no Huskies from Indiana, though senior defensive tackle Terry Johnson was born and grew up in Gary, Ind., before moving to Tempe, Ariz., as a teenager.
At Home After Road Loss: Over the last two decades or so, Washington has been very tough to beat at Husky Stadium after a road loss the previous game. Since 1980, the Huskies have posted a 23-7 record in home games that followed a road loss in the preceeding game. And, when the home opponent following a loss away from Seattle is not ranked, the Dawgs' record shoots up to 19-2 over that same span. Since 1980, the only two times that the Huskies have lost at home to an unranked team the game after losing on the road was last season (a 34-24 home loss to UCLA following a loss at Arizona State) and 1999 (a 31-21 loss at home to Air Force following the season-opening loss at Brigham Young).
Home vs. Non Conference: Washington has been very tough to beat in home, non-conference games over the last couple of decades or so. Going back to (and including) the 1981 season, the Huskies have posted a 43-5 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 in 2001, No. 4 Miami in 2000, and No. 12 Nebraska in 1992, to name just three. Washington hasn't lost a home game to a non-league opponent since falling to Air Force, 31-21, on September 18, 1999. The Huskies have won eight such games since then.
Home Openers: The Huskies are 82-24-5 in home openers (whether the first game of the season or not), a percentage of .761. That mark includes a 28-game streak of home opener wins that ran from 1908 to 1935. Before falling to Air Force in the 1999 home opener, Washington had won 13 straight since falling to Oklahoma State on Sept. 7, 1985. Last year, Washington opened the home slate with a 35-10 win over San Jose State. The year before, the Huskies opened vs. No. 10 Michigan, beating the Wolverines, 23-18, in a mild upset. Husky coach Keith Gilbertson is 5-2 as a head coach in home openers. Gilbertson was 3-0 in home openers at Idaho and 2-2 at California. He had won his first five in a row before losing to Hawaii, 21-7, in the Bears' 1994 home opener.
First-Timers Club: Of the 72 Husky players that traveled to Ohio State last Saturday, 31 had never played in a Division I football game while 26 had never traveled on a college road trip, other than 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.
Pickett Shatters Marks: In last season's seventh game, then-junior quarterback Cody Pickett broke the UW single-season passsing yards record. Three weeks later vs. Oregon State, Pickett, with 14 games left in his UW career at the time, broke the Huskies' career passing yards record. Another week later at Oregon, he broke the Pac-10's single-season yards record and in the regular season's final game at WSU, he became the first 4,000-yard passer in Pac-10 history. He also ranks on nearly every other Washington career top-10 list, including No. 1 on many. In the loss at USC, Pickett threw for 350 yards to extend his school record of seven consecutive 300-yard games, a streak that was broken at ASU. He had his third 400-yard game of the year vs. UCLA. Pickett, who has since raised his career passing total to 7,128 yards, passed both Huards to the No. 1 spot vs. OSU. Pickett, who set a UW single-game record with 34 completions vs. Wyoming then broke it with 35 vs. Cal and tied that with 35 at WSU, now has 561 career completions, putting him first on that list. His career mark of 12.71 yards per completion ranks No. 10 and his 264.0 yards per game are currently a school record. His 20.8 completions per game are No. 1 and his career completion percentage of .580 is No. 4. Pickett boasts a slew of firsts: he is the first UW QB to post more than one career 400-yard game (he has four); the first to post 12 300-yard games; and the first to throw for 300 yards in more than two consecutive games (he had seven straight to start the 2002 season). In 27 career games Pickett boasts seven of the top 10 and 10 of Washington's top-17 single-game totals in passing yards. His 20 career 200-yard passing days are most in UW history and his 10 50-plus-yard passes are also a school record. Finally, his 38 career TDs are second while his 28 touchdowns in 2002 were most in UW history, five better than Brock Huard's old 1997 record of 23.
Pickett in the Pac ... Season: With 4,458 yards in 2002, Cody Pickett was the first 4,000-yard passer in Pac-10 history. Last November 16 at Oregon, he passed Stanford's Steve Stenstrom (1993) and WSU's Ryan Leaf (1997) to take over the top spot. He also surpassed Stenstrom's single-season completions record (300 in 1993) and finished with 365 on the year. With 7,421 career passing yards (the Pac-10 counts all bowls in career stats, not just starting in 2002), Pickett ranks No. 20 all-time in Pac-10 history, with nearly another full season to play, 4,397 yards behind record-holder Carson Palmer (11,818). Here are the top-5 single-season passers in Pac-10 Conference history:
No. Yards Player, School, Year 1. 4,458 Cody Pickett, Washington, 2002 2. 3,637 Ryan Leaf, Washington State, 1997 3. 3,627 Steve Stenstrom, Stanford, 1993 4. 3,499 Pat Barnes, California, 1996 5. 3,307 Akili Smith, Oregon, 1998
Pickett in the Pac ... Career: With almost each game, Cody Pickett moves up on the Pac-10 career passing chart. The record (11,818 yards) is held by USC's Carson Palmer. With 7,421 career yards (Pac-10 counts all bowls), Pickett current ranks No. 19. Here are the Nos. 14 through 23 passers in Pac-10 history:
No. Yards Player, School, Years 14. 7,980 Kyle Boller, California, 1986-89 15. 7,818 Jack Thompson, Washington State, 1975-78 16. 7,809 Jim Plunkett, Stanford, 1968-70 17. 7,669 John Paye, Stanford, 1983-86 18. 7,618 Tom Tunnicliffe, Arizona, 1980-83 19. 7,421 Cody Pickett, Washington, 1999-present 20. 7,373 Drew Bledsoe, Washington State, 1990-92 21. 7,360 Pat Barnes, California, 1993-96 22. 7,174 Rich Campbell, California, 1977-80 23. 7,101 Ryan Leaf, Washington State, 1995-97
Pickett Returns With Record: Last season, then-junior Cody Pickett smashed the Pac-10's single-season passing yards record with 4,458. The last time that a reigning Pac-10 record-holder in season passing yards returned for an additional season with the record in hand was 1994, when USC's Rob Johnson came back for a senior season after throwing for 3,630 yards in 1993, breaking a record held at that time by Drew Bledsoe (WSU, 1992). Cougar QB Ryan Leaf, whose record Pickett broke, also set the record as a junior, but didn't return for his senior season. Incidentally, no Pac-10 QB has led the league in passing in back-to-back seasons (yards per game) since Stanford's Steve Stenstrom did it in 1993 and 1994.
Williams Breaks All Marks: Wide receiver Reggie Williams was only one game into his sophomore season when he passed the 1,000-yard mark for career receiving. In the loss at USC last Oct. 29, he had his third straight 100-yard receiving game (tying a school record) and his eighth career 100-yard day (breaking the school record). Williams, who ranked No. 5 in the NCAA in yards per game and No. 9 in receptions per game in 2002, made it to the top of the UW career receiving yards with his 198-yard performance at Oregon in week 11. With 2,534 career yards, he has beaten Mario Bailey's old record by nearly 500 yards. With 14 catches in the Oregon game (most ever by a UW receiver), Williams broke Jerome Pathon's single-season record of 69. Williams ended 2002 with 94, the third-highest total in Pac-10 history. His 1,454 receiving yards in 2002 were also a school record, beating Jerome Pathon's 1,245 in 1997. Williams' 1,454 yards were only two short of the Pac-10 record (1,456 by Stanford's Troy Walters). At WSU (where he had 12 catches), he passed Paul Skansi on the UW career receptions chart and now tops the list with 149. Williams now ranks No. 1 on the UW career yards-per-game list by a large margin. With his average of 101.4 yards per game during his career thus far, he's more than 35 yards per game better than Brian Slater's former mark of 65.9.
Reggie's 100-Yard Games: With 107 yards receiving last Saturday at Ohio State, junior receiver Reggie Williams notched his 11th career 100-yard game. Williams already held the record entering this, his junior year, and with each 100-yard game, he will extend it. Here's the Huskies' top-five receivers in terms of career 100-yard games:
Rank Receiver 100-Yard Games 1. Reggie Williams 11 2. Mario Bailey 7 Brian Slater 7 Jerome Pathon 7 5. Spider Gaines 5
Reggie On the Prowl: In only two seasons, junior receiver Reggie Williams has already compiled 2,596 career receiving yards (according to the Pac-10's official total, which counts bowl games both seasons), easily surpassing the school's career mark. If Williams averages 101.4 yards per game the rest of the season (his career average) and the UW goes to a bowl game, he'll finish his junior year with 3,813 yards, which would be No. 2 in Pac-10 history. ASU's Shaun McDonald (2000-02) holds the record for most receiving yards over a three-year career with 2,867, only 271 more than Williams' current totals. Williams currently ranks No. 16 on the Pac-10 career chart. Here's the Pac-10's all-time list, Nos. 8 through 17:
Rank Yards Player, School, Years 8. 2,867 Shaun McDonald, Arizona State, 2000-02 9. 2,796 Keyshawn Johnson, USC, 1994-95 10. 2,744 Tony Hartley, Oregon, 1996-99 11. 2,731 Bobby Shaw, California, 1994-97 12. 2,689 Keenan Howry, Oregon, 1996-99 13. 2,694 Aaron Cox, Arizona State, 1984-87 14. 2,691 Keith Poole, Arizona State, 1993-96 15. 2,672 R. Jay Soward, USC, 1996-99 16. 2,596 Reggie Williams, Washington, 2001-present 17. 2,548 Kevin Jordan, UCLA, 1992-95
Walkons For Kicks: Despite the arrival of two scholarship freshmen, it was a pair walkons that handled the lion's share of the kicking duties last week at Ohio State. Walkon senior punter Garth Erickson was called on to punt 10 times, averaging 38.9 per boot and landing one at the one-yard line. Meanwhile, junior walkon placekicker Evan Knudson took care of the PATs and field goals, connected on a 47-yard FG on his first career attempts. Incidentally, freshman punter Sean Douglas handled the kickoffs.
Captains: In a vote by their teammates, three Husky players were named captains near the end of the Huskies' week-long training camp at the Evergreen State College in Olympia. The three UW players honored by their teammates were senior quarterback Cody Pickett, senior outside linebacker Greg Carothers and senior defensive tackle Terry Johnson. All three will be serving as captain for the first time in their career. Each week, a fourth "game captain" will be selected for that Saturday's game. Last week at Ohio State, the game captain was offensive tackle Nick Newton.
The New Guys: Today, Washington's roster will expand from 105 players to 115. The list of 10 newcomers includes five players returning from either last fall, last spring or both: WR Sterling Brown, PK Ricardo DoValle, PK Ben Hoefer, WR Lukas Michener and OG T.J. Orthmeyer. The following five players will be joining the team for the first time (more information on positions, etc., to come): Jake Darling, Dan Foafoa, Ben Heubschman, Chris Rohrbach and Jordan Stair. Rohrbach, incidentally, is the son of former UW captain Mike Rohrbach, an inside linebacker who lettered in 1975 and 1977.