Oct. 7, 2002
The Game: The Washington football team (3-2 overall and 0-1 in the Pac-10 Conference) looks to rebound from a conference-opening loss to California last week. This Saturday, Oct. 12, Arizona (3-2, 0-1) comes to Husky Stadium for a 12:30 p.m. game as the Huskies wrap up a five-game homestand. Last week, the UW, which fell to No. 22 in the Associated Press top-25 and to No. 18 in the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll, saw its 17-game home winning streak snapped by the Golden Bears, who notched their first victory over the Huskies since 1976, breaking a 19-game UW win streak in the series. The Huskies return to the road Oct. 19 at USC. By the time that game rolls around, Washington will have gone 48 days without playing on the road since opening the year at Michigan, Aug. 31.
Huskies vs. Wildcats History: Washington holds a commanding 13-4-1 edge in the series against Arizona, with the Huskies taking six of the last seven. Overall, the Huskies are 26-12-1 all-time against the Arizona schools (Arizona and Arizona State), including a 15-5 record at Husky Stadium. The last four games in the Huskies' series with Arizona have been decided by a total of 17 points, including a last-minute win for the UW last year as Cody Pickett ran in from three yards out with 13 seconds left to cap an amazing day (see later in this release for more last year's game) and Washington's come-from-behind, 35-32 win in 2000 in Seattle. The Huskies have amassed a 8-2 record at Husky Stadium and have also won three straight in Tuscon since 1992. The Wildcats' last win at Husky Stadium may be the most memorable game in the series' history. Trailing 28-24 to Washington with under a minute to play, Arizona quarterback Ortege Jenkins flipped head over heels over three Husky defenders, landing on his feet in the end zone for the winning score. Close wins for Arizona are the rule in this series. Three of the Wildcats' four wins in the series have come by three points, including Arizona's first-ever win over Washington in 1988, snapping the Huskies' six-game unbeaten streak in the series. The Wildcats overcame two 10-point deficits, but still appeared headed for a tie before Washington quarterback Cary Conklin fumbled in the final minute, setting up Doug Pfaff's game-winning 22-yard field goal with five seconds left. The Wildcats won again by a field goal the following year, marking their longest winning streak (two games) in series history. Husky head coach Rick Neuheisel has not lost to Arizona since arriving at Washington in 1999, amassing a 3-0 record, while Arizona head coach John Mackovic is 0-1 vs. UW. Neuheisel's Colorado team beat Mackovic's Texas Longhorns in both meetings when the two coaches were at their respective former posts.
Bouncing Back: It's never a good thing to get a conference football season started out with a loss, as the Huskies did last Saturday in a 34-27 loss to California. However, Washington has shown as recently as two seasons ago that a loss in the Pac-10 opener doesn't rule anything out. In 2000, the UW began conference play with a 23-16 loss at Oregon, but came back to win its next seven games en route to a Pac-10 championship. The Huskies shared the league crown with Oregon and Oregon State, but thanks to the tie-breaker, went to the Rose Bowl, where they beat Purdue, 34-24. The Huskies will also be looking to bounce back from a rare home loss (Washington hadn't lost at home in nearly three years). While the Huskies have lost consecutive home games in recent years (for example, the last two home games of 1997; and the last home game of 1998 and the first of 1999), they haven't lost at home on consecutive Saturdays since the 1976 season, when Colorado and Indiana beat the UW at Husky Stadium on back-to-back Saturdays.
Television: The Washington-Arizona game will not air on live television. However, it will 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 later Saturday at 7:00 p.m. and again Sunday at 3:00 p.m. A new show, "The Washington Football Experience" will air each Thursday evening 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 21 different radio stations. Longtime broadcast team Bob Rondeau (play-by-play), Chuck Nelson (color) and Bill Swartz (sidelines) provide the call.
Last Year vs. Arizona: Despite playing with a separated right shoulder that had kept him from playing the UCLA game in the week prior, Husky quarterback Cody Pickett broke the school passing yards record and scored the winning touchdown on a three-yard run with 13 seconds left in the game as Washington pulled out yet another fourth-quarter comeback, beating Arizona, 31-28, on Oct. 20 of last season. The two teams scored on the first five possessions of the game, all in the first quarter. Pickett threw three first-quarter TDs -- 21 yards to Todd Elstrom, 78 yards to Paul Arnold and 75 yards to Patrick Reddick. Arizona got a four-yard pass from Jason Johnson to Bobby Wade and a 12-yarder from Johnson to Andrae Thurman as the 21-14 score remained until the third quarter. Arizona's backup QB John Rattay, in for an injured Johnson, ran in from 15 yards out to tie the game in the third quarter and the Wildcats took the lead at 28-21 on Clarence Farmer's fourth-quarter, 16-yard run. But Washington, after a 74-yard kickoff return from Roc Alexander, got a 39-yard field goal from John Anderson and then got a three-and-out from its defense. Pickett drove Washington 55 yards in six plays, capping the drive with his rollout run to the corner. Pickett finished the day 29-for-49 for 455 yards, snapping the 12-year old school record of 428 yards, set by Cary Conklin vs. Arizona State in 1989.
Three Straight vs. UA in Seattle: This week's meeting with Arizona will mark the third straight season that the Arizona-Washington game has been held in Husky Stadium (by contrast, UW will visit Arizona State for the third straight time this year). The last time the Huskies played a league foe three straight seasons in Seattle was 1940, when the UW played host to Oregon State for the last of five straight seasons dating back to 1936.
Washington-Arizona Ties: As is the case with almost any Pac-10 opponent, there are several ties between the UW and Arizona teams, particularly the coaching staffs. Arizona linebackers coach Scott Pelluer was an assistant coach at Washington from 1996-98. The Washington State grad is also the brother of former UW quarterback Steve Pelluer. Arizona head coach John Mackovic was the offensive coordinator for one season at Purdue (1977). That year, Husky defensive line coach Randy Hart was the Boilermakers' d-line coach. Husky offensive line coach Brent Myers briefly served (during the off-season) as an assistant coach at Arizona before taking his job at Washington prior to the 2001 season. Charlie Dickey, the Wildcats' offensive line coach, was the o-line coach at Northern Arizona in 1990 and 1991 when Husky quarterbacks coach Steve Axman was the Lumberjacks' head coach. As for the rosters, Arizona starting quarterback Jason Johnson is from Puyallup High in Washington, the alma mater of former UW signalcallers Billy Joe Hobert, Damon Huard and Brock Huard. UA freshman DB Landon Kafentzis is from Richland, sophomore linebacker Justin Stewart is from Woodinville (Redmond High) and freshman Nick McCalmont is from Issaquah's Skyline High. Washington's roster includes three Arizonans: linebacker Marquis Cooper (Gilbert), defensive lineman Terry Johnson (Tempe) and punter Derek McLaughlin (Mesa).
California Redux: Despite yet another high-flying game from the Husky passing attack, Washington saw its 17-game home winning streak (which tied a modern UW record) snapped as California beat the Huskies, 34-27. The win was the Bears' first over Washington since 1976, a span of 19 Husky wins. While Cal QB Kyle Boller couldn't match Husky signalcaller Cody Pickett in terms of yardage, he made up for it by throwing for five touchdowns. Boller completed 13-of-24 for 266 yards and no interceptions. The five TDs were third most in Cal history and tied for most ever by a Husky opponent. Pickett, who had his school-record fifth straight game with 300 or more passing yards, broke his own UW record with 35 completions. But he was unable to complete any of those 35 for a touchdown while compiling 399 yards and two interceptions. Cal opened the scoring in the first when Boller's flea-flicker pass to Jonathan Makonnen went for a 40-yard TD. Husky senior tailback Braxton Cleman, in his first start since 2000, ran in from 21 yards out to tie the score and the Huskies finished the first quarter with a 10-7 lead after John Anderson hit his first of four field goals on the day from 51 yards. In the second period, the Bears got a second touchdown pass to Makonnen and a 55-yard score from Boller to Vincent Strang while Anderson's two field goals accounted for a 21-16 Bears lead at the half. Down 34-18 in the fourth quarter, the Huskies looked like they might work some of the magic that has marked the UC-UW series in recent years, but after Pickett's one-yard TD run and an Anderson field goal with 1:54 left drew the Huskies within a touchdown, the Dawgs were unable to recover an onsides kick and the Bears ran out the clock.
Pickett Catches Chandler: Junior quarterback Cody Pickett has already broken onto Washington's top-10 all-time career passing yards list, and will crack several other UW passing career top-10s at some point this season. With 399 yards passing against Idaho -- the second-most in school history -- Pickett pushed his career total to 4,321, moving past Chris Chandler (4,161) into eighth place on the UW career passing list. Pickett, who is averaging 381.2 passing yards per game in 2002, needs 72 yards to pass Don Heinrich (4,392) for seventh. Pickett, who set a UW single-game record with 34 completions vs. Wyoming then broke it with 35 vs. Cal, now has 321 career completions, putting him ninth on that list. His career mark of 13.46 yards per completion ranks No. 7 and his 240.1 yards per game are currently a school record. Same goes for his 17.8 completions per game, another career No. 1. He currently ranks No. 2 for career completion percentage at .600. Pickett boasts a slew of firsts: he is the first UW QB to post more than one career 400-yard game (he has three); the first to post sevem 300-yard games; and the first to throw for 300 yards in more than two consecutive games (he has five straight to start this current season). In just 18 career games Pickett already boasts five of the top seven and six of Washington's top-12 single-game totals in passing yards. His 11 career 200-yard passing days already rank him No. 5 in UW history and his eight 50-plus-yard passes rank second, one back of Damon Huard's record of nine.
Pickett Among Nation's Elite: With his outstanding start to the 2002 season, junior quarterback Cody Pickett has placed himself among the nation's top signalcallers. Pickett ranks No. 22 in the nation in passing efficiency, but his raw totals are even more outstanding. His 373.6 yards per game of total offense ranks No. 2 in the nation (behind Marshall's Byron Leftwich at 402.8) and his 30.2 pass completions per game also ranks No. 2, trailing only Texas Tech's Kliff Kingsbury (33.3). As a team, the Huskies rank No. 2 in passing offense and No. 3 in total offense in Division I-A.
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 116 yards in Saturday's loss to California, Williams brought his career total to 1,444 yards, and climbed past Darryl Franklin (1,393), Orlando McKay (1,407) and Todd Elstrom (1,422) to rank eighth all-time in UW history. Williams is now just 85 yards shy of No. 7 Spider Gaines, and just 649 yards away from No. 1. In only his second season, Williams needs to average 92.7 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 34.1 yards over the next 19 games (through the end of his junior season) to break Bailey's record. Additionally, with an average of 90.3 yards per game during his career thus far, 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 16 career games, he does not yet meet the 18-game minimum.
Ware Latest In Tight End Tradition: Several years ago, when Sports Illustrated ranked the top college programs all-time by position, Washington's tradition of outstanding tight ends was picked No. 1 at that spot. And for good reason -- the Huskies' last six regular starters (and one backup) at the tight end position have all gone on to NFL success, dating all the way back to Aaron Pierce. Pierce started the majority of the 1990 and '91 seasons before being drafted by the New York Giants in 1992. Since Pierce, Mark Bruener (Pittsburgh, '95), Ernie Conwell (St. Louis, '96), Cam Cleeland (New Orleans, '98), Jeremy Brigham (Oakland, '98), Reggie Davis (San Diego, '99) and Jerramy Stevens (Seattle, '02) all appeared in the NFL. Five of those seven remain in the NFL today, including four (Stevens, Brigham, Conwell and Bruener) with their original team. Of the group, four were selected in the first or second round, and two (Conwell, Bruener) have started in Super Bowls. This year, senior Kevin Ware will try and keep the streak alive. After notching only eight catches in his first three years total, Ware is off to an impressive start. He's currently ranked third on the team with 19 receptions (for 200 yards) and his three receiving touchdowns top the team. His 3.8 receptions per game are fourth among all tight ends in Division I-A.
Anderson's Leg: Washington senior placekicker John Anderson entered his final collegiate season as one of the top candidates for the Lou Groza Award, which he also won as a high school. In last week's loss to Cal, Anderson tied a UW single-game record with five field goal attempts, the most by any Husky kicker since Jeff Jaeger was a perfect 5-for-5 against Houston in 1985. Anderson converted four of the five kicks -- the second-most field goals made in a game at Washington -- including one from 51 yards which equaled the eighth-longest all-time at UW. The kick was the fourth-career 50+-yard field goal converted by Anderson in his career, but the first since his freshman year. Additionally, Anderson's four field goals gave the senior 10 in five games, putting him on pace to boot 24 for the season, a total that would rank second in school history to Chuck Nelson's 25 field goals in 1982. As a freshman in 1999, Anderson converted 13 of 18 field goals and 34 of 35 PATs that year and led Washington in scoring with 73 points. Anderson's 50-yard field goal against Oregon State that season was the longest by a UW kicker since Jeff Jaeger converted a 52-yard field goal in 1983 vs. Oregon. Since Jaeger's kick, the Huskies had made 224 field goals over the previous 17 seasons without making one from at least 50 yards. Anderson ended that season with three 50-yard field goals to his credit, including a 56-yarder at UCLA to tie the UW school record. That field goal tied as the 14th longest inPac-10 history, and was the longest by a true freshman in conference history. His kick was the seventh longest in Pac-10 history since 1989, when use of a kicking tee was eliminated. When Anderson booted three 40-plus yard FGs vs. Stanford in 1999, it marked the first time a Husky kicker had converted three 40-yard field goals since Brandy Brownlee made four vs. Texas A&M in 1987. Additionally, as a freshman in 1999, Anderson became only the second true freshman in NCAA history (joining Texas A&M's Tony Franklin) to boot three 50-yard field goals in a single season.
Random Notes: After having opened the season on the road at Michigan, the UW has stayed 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 ... prior to the California contest, Washington had intercepted at least one pass in seven consecutive games, dating back to last season (and counting the Holiday Bowl) ... the last time that the Huskies intercepted a pass in seven straight games was in 1995, when they also went seven straight with at least one pick ... sixth-year senior Patrick Reddick had a career day vs. Cal, setting new personal highs for both receptions (10) and receiving yards (105) ... his 10 catches were the sixth-most ever (tied) in UW single-game history.