Nov. 3, 2003
The Game: A week after Oregon made its first Husky Stadium appearance since 1999, the Washington football team (3-2 in the Pac-10, 5-4 overall) travels to Tucson for the first time since '99 as the Huskies will take on Arizona (0-5, 1-8) in a Pac-10 game this Saturday, November 8. Kickoff is slated for 4:00 p.m. MST (3:00 p.m. PST). There will be no live television coverage of the game. The following Saturday, the Huskies return to the road to face California in Berkeley before closing out the regular season in the Apple Cup vs. Washington State at Husky Stadium November 22.
Huskies vs. Wildcats History: Washington holds a commanding 14-4-1 edge in the series against Arizona, with the Huskies taking seven of the last eight. Overall, the Huskies are 27-13-1 all-time against the Arizona schools (Arizona and Arizona State), including a 9-8-1 record away from Husky Stadium. The last five games in the Huskies' series with Arizona have been decided by a total of 21 points, including a late comeback by the Huskies last year when Reggie Williams scored on an 80-yard reception with only 2:03 remaining in the game. In 2001, Cody Pickett ran in from three yards out with 13 seconds left to cap an amazing day. Only two weeks after separating his right (throwing) vs. USC, Pickett broke the UW record with 455 passing yards as the Huskies won, 31-28. Also included in the recent close contests are Washington's come-from-behind, 35-32 win in 2000 in Seattle and the Wildcats' last win over the UW, which 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. The Huskies haven't lost to the Wildcats in Tucson since 1992 (3-0 since), when the "Desert Swarm" defense lifted UA to a 16-3 win over No. 1 Washington, breaking the Huskies' 22-game winning streak. Husky head coach Keith Gilbertson posted a 1-3 record against Arizona in his four years as head coach at California. The lone win amongst the four came in 1993, when Gilbertson's Bears overcame a 20-0 deficit to beat a No. 13 Arizona team, 24-20.
Last Year vs. Arizona: It took some late-game heroics for the Huskies to pull out a 32-28 Washington win last Oct. 12 at Husky Stadium. An 80-yard strike from Cody Pickett to Reggie Williams with only 2:03 left in the game salvaged a Husky win as the UW worked some fourth-quarter magic to beat Arizona in dramatic fashion for the third season in a row. The Wildcats, behind a 443-yard passing day from Puyallup native Jason Johnson, took a 28-26 lead early in the fourth quarter after Johnson hit Bobby Wade with a 28-yard TD pass. The Huskies then had a field goal blocked with 6:48 remaining and made a defensive stand to get the ball back. After stopping the 'Cats at the 35-yard line and watching a punt go for a touchback, the Huskies took over on their own 20. After an incomplete pass on first down, Pickett audibled into a short slant pattern to Williams, who caught the pass and out-raced the Arizona defense 80 yards to the endzone. Pickett finished the day with 345 yards on 25-of-35 passing with no interceptions and three TDs. Williams caught eight balls for 184 yards and three scores, becoming the first UW receiver to catch three TD passes in a game since 1991. Wade and Andrae Thurman were the primary benefactors of Johnson's passing success. Wade caught 10 passes for 155 yards and Thurman had nine receptions for 12.
Television: The Washington-Arizona game will not be shown on live television. However, it will air on tape delay the Sunday at 4:00 p.m. on Fox Sports in the Northwest with Jim Watson and Sonny Sixkiller calling the action. All remaining replays will be shown Sundays at 4:00 p.m. Additionally, "Husky Football Experience" airs each Thursday during the season on Fox Sports. 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.
Washington-Arizona Ties: As with any Pac-10 opponent, there's some crossover between the UW and Arizona coaching staffs. Husky tight ends and special teams coach Scott Pelluer spent the last two seasons as linebackers and special teams coach at Arizona before re-joining the UW staff this season. Craig Bray, the new Arizona ILBs coach, coached at Oregon State the last three seasons, as did Husky offensive line coach Dan Cozzetto. Bray also coached on Dennis Erickson's staff at Idaho alongside Husky head coach Keith Gilbertson and on John L. Smith's Idaho staff along with UW co-defensive coordinator Tim Hundley. Finally, Arizona interim head coach Mike Hankwitz concluded his college playing career at Michigan the year before UW running backs coach Chuck Heater joined the Wolverines. Hankwitz was a freshman coach at his alma mater in Heater's first season there. Washington's roster includes four players that prepped in the state of Arizona: senior DT Terry Johnson (Tempe/McClintock), senior ILB Marquis Cooper (Gilbert/Highland), RS-freshman offensive guard Clay Walker (Scottsdale/Horizon) and freshman PK Michael Braunstein (Gilbert/Gilbert). Arizona's preseason roster included two Washingtonians: sophomore LB Landon Kafentzis (Richland ... same HS as Husky OT Ryan Brooks) and junior LB Justin Stewart (Woodinville/Redmond ... same HS as Husky SS Evan Benjamin). Other Dawgs and 'Cats that attended the same high school: UW OG Robin Meadow and UA WR Ryan Eidson at De La Salle High in California; UA LB Joe Siofele and UW ILB Joe Lobendahn and DE Wilson Afoa at Honolulu's Saint Louis HS; and UA LB Jason Parker and UW LB Scott White at Mission Bay High near San Diego.
Last Time In Tucson (Nov. 6, 1999): Washington hasn't played a game at Arizona Stadium in Tucson since the ninth game of the 1999 season, when Washington came away with a 33-25 win over the Wildcats. After Arizona took a 3-0 lead after the first quarter, the game broke open in the second. After a John Anderson field goal tied the game, Marques Tuiasosopo hit Gerald Harris with a 25-yard touchdown pass to put the UW in front. After a second Anderson field goal, Trung Canidate ran 74 yards for a touchdown to cut the Husky lead to 13-10, but the Huskies closed out the half with an 80-yard drive, capped by a 27-yard scoring run from then-tailback Paul Arnold. Arizona's Ortege Jenkins hit Marvin Brown with a 55-yard scoring pass in the third quarter to narrow the UW edge to 19-18, but Washington pulled away in the fourth when Tuiasosopo and tight end Jerramy Stevens connected on a six-yard score and Anthony Vontoure returned an interception 29 yards for a touchdown. With only 1:34 left in the game, Jenkins ran in from one yard out to provide the final margin. Tuiasosopo finished with 208 yards on 16-of-28 passing. Jenkins was 12-for-18 with one interception and 198 yards passing while the other UA signalcaller, Keith Smith, was only 5-for-14 for 82 yards and threw two picks. Canidate had 11 carries for 105 yards.
More On Last Time In Tucson: Not surprisingly, no current members of the Washington football team have ever played at Arizona Stadium, seeing as the last time the Dawgs played there was in 1999. In fact, there are only seven current Huskies that were even on the team at the time of that game: C Todd Bachert, OLB Tyler Krambrink, CB Chris Massey, OT Nick Newton, QB Cody Pickett, FB Adam Seery and OG Jason Simonson.
Oregon Redux: A trio of backup players came to the fore as the Huskies, down 10-0 at one point, stormed back to rout Oregon, 42-10, last Saturday night at Husky Stadium. The Huskies needed outstanding efforts from redshirt freshman tailbacks Kenny James and Shelton Sampson (playing in place of injured senior Rich Alexis) and sophomore quarterback Casey Paus, who played the entire second half after Cody Pickett left the game after a blow to the head. James rushed for a career-high 104 yards and Sampson ran for 131 (also a career high) and three touchdowns, including a late, 77-yarder while Paus was solid. He led the UW to a score on all five drives he started and completed 5-of-8 for 117 yards and two touchdowns. Down 10-0, the Huskies got a one-yard TD run from Sampson before halftime to cut the lead to 10-7. In the third quarter, a 56-yard run from James put the Huskies at the UO eight-yard line and Sampson ran in to give the UW its first lead. After a field goal made it 16-10, the Huskies drove 47 yards on three plays with Paus hitting Charles Frederick on a 10-yard scoring pass to finish it. Early in the fourth, Paus connected with Reggie Williams (7 catches, 130 yards) on a 63-yard touchdown and outside linebacker Greg Carothers picked up a fumble from Duck QB Kellen Clemens and ran 55 yards for a score. Sampson capped the game with a thrilling 77-yard touchdown run.
Streaking vs. Northwest Foes: Washington's win over Oregon means that the Huskies have won their last six straight games against their three Northwest, Pac-10 rivals -- Oregon, Oregon State and Washington State. The Huskies have beaten each team twice in a row despite the fact that the Huskies have been unranked in each of those games and their opponent has been ranked in four of them (No. 9 WSU in 2001, No. 23 Oregon and No. 3 WSU in 2002 and No. 22 Oregon State earlier this year).
Pickett Dominates UW Season Top-10: Cody Pickett has now posted three of the top-five passing seasons in Husky history in terms of yards. He's only 17 yards short of his 2001 total and only 185 yards short of Cary Conklin at No. 2 on the list. Until last season, when Pickett shattered the old mark by 1,889 yards, Conklin had held the single-season record for 12 seasons. Heres' the UW's all-time top-10 in single-season passing yards:
Single-Season Passing Yards PA PC Pct. TD Yds. 1. Cody Pickett (2002) 612 365 .596 28 4,458 2. Cary Conklin (1989) 365 208 .570 16 2,569 3. Damon Huard (1995) 287 184 .641 11 2,415 4. Cody Pickett (2001) 301 169 .561 10 2,403 5. Cody Pickett (2003) 319 181 .567 11 2,384 6. Sonny Sixkiller (1970) 362 186 .514 15 2,303 7. Billy Joe Hobert (1991) 285 173 .607 22 2,271 8. Marques Tuiasosopo (1999) 295 171 .580 12 2,221 9. Steve Pelluer (1983) 317 213 .672 11 2,212 10. Tom Flick (1980) 280 168 .600 15 2,178
Reggie On the Prowl: In only two and two-thirds seasons, junior receiver Reggie Williams has already compiled 3,395 career receiving yards (counting bowl games both seasons), easily surpassing the school's career mark. If Williams averages 101.0 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 3,799 yards, No. 2 in Pac-10 history. Williams already ranks No. 2 on the Pac-10 career chart. Here's the Pac-10's all-time top 10, with all five above him having played four college seasons:
Rank Yards Player, School, Years 1. 4,047 Troy Walters, Stanford, 1996-99 2. 3,395 Reggie Williams, Washington, 2001-present 3. 3,351 Bobby Wade, Arizona, 1999-2002 4. 3,252 Dennis Northcutt, Arizona, 1996-99 5. 3,201 Johnnie Morton, USC, 1990-93 6. 3,104 Kareem Kelly, USC, 1999-2002 7. 3,023 DeRonnie Pitts, Stanford, 1997-2000 8. 3,020 Danny Farmer, UCLA, 1996-99 9. 2,867 Shaun McDonald, Arizona State, 2000-02 10. 2,796 Keyshawn Johnson, USC, 1994-95
Kenny & Shelton: With senior Rich Alexis out with an injury the last two-plus games (he was hurt partway through the Oregon State game), a pair of redshirt freshmen have had to step up to fill the void. For whatever success they may have had prior to last Saturday's game at Oregon, they truly earned the limelight with their performance vs. the Ducks. In that game, a 42-10 Husky win, Sampson rushed for 131 yards and three touchdowns on only six carries while James, the starter, ran for 104 yards on 18 attempts. It was the first time since the 2000 Apple Cup that two Huskies had run for 100 yards in a single game and Sampson was the first Husky since the 2001 Stanford game that a Husky had run for three scores. Since stepping into their larger role (the last three games), the pair have combined for 379 yards and five touchdowns on 66 carries, good for a 5.7-yard average per carry.
Garth's Big Season: While nothing will become official until the end of the season, senior Garth Erickson is currently in the midst of one of the top-five seasons ever by a UW punter, at least in terms of his average yards per punt. Erickson, who is currently punting for a 41.7-yard average, would rank fourth all-time if the season ended today. Here's a look at Washington's top-five list for season average yards per punt:
Season Punting Average No. Yds. Avg. 1. Skip Boyd (1973) 69 2,964 43.0 2. Skip Boyd (1974) 57 2,407 42.2 3. Jeff Partridge (1982) 65 2,739 42.1 4. Garth Erickson (2003) 47 1,962 41.7 5. Thane Cleland (1986) 47 1,938 41.2