Sept. 2, 2002
The Game: The Washington football team (0-1), fresh from a last-second, heart-breaking 31-29 loss at Michigan last week, looks to rebound this Saturday when San Jose State (1-0) comes to Husky Stadium for the first of a nearly unprecented five consecutive home games. After the Spartans visit, the Huskies take a week off before playing host to Wyoming, Idaho, California and Arizona in their first five-game homestand in more than 70 years. This week's rankings have yet to be released.
The Series: Washington has won all seven of its games vs. San Jose State in a series that dates back to the 1958 season. All seven UW-SJSU games have taken place at Husky Stadium. In '58, the Huskies handed the Spartans a 14-6 loss. The two teams wouldn't face each other again until 1977, when a Rose Bowl-bound Husky team beat SJSU, 24-3. In 1988, the Huskies took a 28-0 lead before Johnny Johnson and the Spartans roared back to go in front, 31-28 in the fourth quarter. However, UW tailback Tony Covington scored from two yards out with 1:31 remaining to win the game 35-31. Johnson rushed for 217 yards, including a 64-yard TD, and also caught a 27-yard scoring pass. SJSU put another scare into the Huskies in 1990's season opener. State tied the game at 10-10 in the third quarter before a Mike Dodd field goal and a Beno Bryant 52-yard punt return put the Huskies in front. Bobby Blackmon's 19-yard TD reception drew San Jose within three for the final score of 20-17. In 1993, the Huskies posted their 16th straight home victory, cruising to a 52-17 win over Jeff Garcia's Spartans. The UW rushed for 268 yards, including 118 from Napoleon Kaufman. Kaufman was at it again the following year when he rushed for a career-best 254 yards, including a 91-yard TD on the UW's first offensive play of the game. That run was the second longest in UW history. The game was nonetheless tied at 14-14 at half, but a late TD catch by Eric Bjornson and a 76-yard Kaufman TD closed it out with a 34-20 final score. In 1996, Corey Dillon had perhaps the best offensive quarter in football history when he rushed for 222 yards and caught an 83-yard TD pass all in the opening period. The 222 rush yards in a quarter and 305 all-purpose yards in a quarter are still NCAA records. The Huskies won the game, 53-10, and finished with a school-record 559 rushing yards. Three Huskies - Dillon (222 yards), Terry Hollimon (148) and Maurice Shaw (101) - rushed for 100 yards in the game.
Home Winning Streak: Washington enters Saturday's game with the longest active home winning streak in the Pac-10 Conference at 14 games (Nebraska's 23-game home win streak is the nation's 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-San Jose State game will not air anywhere on live television. However, the game will air on tape delay on Fox Sports in the Northwest with David Locke and former Husky quarterback Sonny Sixkiller calling the action. The replay will air Sunday at 5:00 p.m. A new show, "The Washington Football Experience" will air for the each Thursday 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 10 different states on 28 different radio stations. Bob Rondeau (play-by-play), Chuck Nelson (color) and Bill Swartz (sidelines) provide the call.
Dillon's Big Day: Probably the most memorable moment of the Huskies' all-time series vs. San Jose State came in the teams' last meeting on Nov. 16, 1996, when junior tailback Corey Dillon ran for 222 yards in the first quarter. That day, Dillon set new NCAA records for rushing yards in a quarter and all-purpose yards (305) in a quarter. Both marks still stand today. Dillon, who took himself out of the game after the opening period, also broke UW single-season records for rushing yards, all-purpose yards, rushing TDs and total TDs that day. In the first quarter, he rushed for touchdowns of four, 48 and 78 yards before catching a screen pass from Brock Huard and running it in from 83 yards out. That day, the Huskies broke school records for total offense (734 yards), rushing yards (559), most rushing yards per attempt (9.0) and had three 100-yard rushers for the only time in school history. Dillon, who begins his sixth year with the Cincinnati Bengals this fall, also holds the NFL single-game rushing record (278 yards) as well as the NFL rookie single-game rushing mark (246).
Huskies vs. WAC Teams: The Huskies have played more games against San Jose State (seven games) than against the other nine current members of the Western Athletic Conference, combined. Washington has never played against current WAC members Boise State, Louisiana Tech, Southern Methodist or Tulsa and have six games against the remaining WAC teams. The Huskies are 7-0 vs. San Jose State, 1-0 vs. Fresno State (49-14 in 1979), 1-1 vs. Hawaii (1938 win and 1973 loss), 1-0 vs. Nevada (2-0 in 1903), 0-0-1 vs. Rice (35-35 tie in 1968) and 1-0 vs. Texas-El Paso (55-0 in 1982). Combined, Washington boasts a 11-1-1 all-time record vs. the current Western Athletic Conference.
Home Openers: The Huskies are 81-24-5 in home openers (whether the first game of the season or not), a percentage of .759. 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, the Huskies opened vs. No. 10 Michigan, beating the Wolverines, 23-18, in a mild upset. Husky coach Rick Neuheisel is 2-1 in season openers, having lost to Air Force in '99 in his home coaching debut. His Huskies beat Idaho in the 2000 opener before last season's win over Michigan.
To Be Continued: Washington's 2002 two-deep is both young and experienced, which bodes well not just for 2002, but for 2003 as well. Just nine of the 46 players on Washington's season-opening offensive and defensive depth charts (including co-No. 2s) are seniors, meaning that barring unexpected attrition, 37 of Washington's top 46 offensive and defensive players will return for the 2003 season, including 20 of 25 listed starters (includes co-starters). The list includes nine of 10 offensive linemen (with senior guard Elliott Zajac the lone senior), all six defensive linemen, and all eight members of the secondary, not to mention skill-position standouts Cody Pickett, Reggie Williams and Rich Alexis. Youth, however, does not necessarily equal inexperience. Of those 37 underclassmen, 27 already boast at least one letter, and 17 have started at least one game at Washington.
Losing on the Last Play: While the Huskies have been beaten in recent years on the last play from scrimmage in a game (Robert Nycz's field goal in a 45-42 loss in 1996 and Ortege Jenkins' "Leap by the Lake" in a 1998 Arizona win, to name two), Saturday's loss at Michigan marked the first time in nearly 33 years that Huskies had lost with 0:00 remaining on the clock. In the aforementioned ASU and Arizona games, as well as others in the last few decades, there were still several seconds left on the clock after the winning score. So, the last time that Washington lost a game on the final play was the Oct. 18, 1969, Husky Stadium loss to Oregon State, when Steve Endicott hit Jeff Kolberg with a 49-yard pass on the game's final play, leading OSU to a 10-6 win
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 40-5 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 5-1 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.
Playing at Home: The Huskies finished the home slate with a spotless 6-0 record in 2001, marking the 13th time ever and the sixth time in the last 10 seasons that the Dawgs have played perfect at home (1991, 1992, 1994, 1996, 2000). Washington has won 62 of its last 74 (.845) games at Husky Stadium with one tie (62-11-1). Since 1980, the Huskies stand 110-23-2 (.822) at home. Since 1990, the Huskies are 41-7-1 (.847) at Husky Stadium vs. Pac-10 opponents.
Pickett Eyes Career Top-10s: It won't happen this week, or even in the next few, but Cody Pickett will break onto several UW passing career top-10s at some point this season. With 2,724 career passing yards, Pickett needs 553 yards to catch Warren Moon (3,277) for the 10th spot. He also needs only 54 more completions and 144 attempts to make the top 10 in those two categories. His career mark of 13.8 yards per completion ranks No. 4 and his 209.5 yards per game (14 games) would already rank No. 1 in school history, except that there's an 18-game minimum. His seven career 200-yard passing days already rank him No. 8 (tied) in UW history and his six 50-plus-yard passes rank fourth, three back of Damon Huard's record of nine.
Pickett's 300-Yard Games: With nearly two seasons yet to play, Cody Pickett is already only one game short of the Huskies' record for most career 300-yard passing games. With three career 300-yard games (455 last year vs. Arizona, 371 last year vs. WSU and 318 last Saturday at Michigan), he is only one 300-yard game short of Brock Huard's career record of four. Aside from Pickett, three other Huskies have compiled three 300-yard games in a career: Cary Conklin, Sonny Sixkiller and Chris Rowland.
Afro-Puffs Prevail: Paul Arnold, the Huskies' senior receiver, has long been known for his ever-changing hair styles. This fall, fans who went to www.gohuskies.com were given the opportunity to choose which photo of Arnold would run in the UW's game program. The winner, by a long stretch, was the style Paul dubbed "Afro-Puffs," which prevailed over braids and a more traditional afro. More than 5,000 fans voted. Here are the final vote totals:
Afro-Puffs: 61% Afro: 21% Braids: 18%
Reggie Passes 1,000-Yard Mark: Sophomore wide receiver Reggie Williams, only one game into his sophomore season, has already surpassed 1,000 yards in career receiving yards. With 72 yards last week vs. Michigan, he has 1,045 in his career. His 1,045 yards leave him 348 yards short of reaching the No. 10 spot on the UW career receiving yards list, a position currently held by Darryl Franklin (1,393). While it's still a distant mark, Williams needs 1,049 yards to become the Huskies' all-time receiving yards leader. Mario Bailey (1988-91) holds that record with 2,093 yards. Williams' per-game average of 87.1 yards over his career would rank him No. 1 in Husky history if he'd reached the requisite 18 career games by now. The UW career per-game yardage record is 65.9 (Brian Slater, 1985-88).
E.T. Breaks Out: After spending last year primarily on return teams, sophomore receiver Charles Frederick finally got his chance to break out on offense Saturday at Michigan. Frederick, rated as one of the nation's top skill-position players while at Pope John II High in Florida, spent most of last season amongst the NCAA's leaders in punt returns, but never caught a pass. Saturday at Michigan, he made five catches for a team-high 88 yards. His 51-yard third-quarter touchdown reception, a spectacular catch between two Wolverines defenders, gave the Huskies their first lead of the game. Frederick also served as the Huskies' punt and kick returner.
Ellis' Exploits: If only Kai Ellis were allowed to play all of his games against Michigan. The senior linebacker's two career matchups with the Wolverines have yielded the best performances of his Husky career. Last week, Ellis contributed to the Huskies' defensive effort in just about every way possible, notching a sack, a fumble recovery, an interception, a rush tackle-for-loss, and batting down a pass in Michigan's final series. The sack, fumble recovery and interception were each the first of Ellis' Husky career, while his two pass defenses doubled his previous career total. In last season's home opener, Ellis tormented the Wolverines to the tune of 13 tackles, including one tackle-for-loss. In between the two games, Ellis appeared in seven contests for Washington, totaling as many as five tackles just twice, and just once notching a tackle-for-loss.