Dawgs Open 2012 Season Saturday Night Vs. Aztecs
The Game:The Washington football team kicks off the 2012 season this Saturday, Sept. 1, as the Huskies play host to San Diego State in a 7:30 p.m. PT game at CenturyLink Field, the Dawgs' home field in 2012 during Husky Stadium's renovation.
The Huskies finished the 2011 season 7-6 overall, 5-4 in the Pac-12 North, and earned a trip to the Valero Alamo Bowl. Last season, San Diego State finished up 8-5, 4-3 in the Mountain West Conference and played Louisiana-Lafayette in the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl. The Aztecs will be making their third visit to face the Huskies, having traveled to Seattle to face a No. 1-ranked UW team in 1982 and a second-ranked squad in 1997.
The Huskies received votes in both the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches' polls in the preseason, finishing just out of the top 25 in each case (26th by the coaches and 27th in the AP). Saturday night's game will air live on the Pac-12 Networks, which means that it will be carried live on the national network as well as all six regional networks. Check your local listings and channel lineup to find the Pac-12 Network.
The following week, the Huskies hit the road to face LSU in Baton Rouge. That game kicks off at 6:00 p.m. CT/4:00 p.m. PT and will air live nationally on ESPN. The Dawgs return to Seattle the following Saturday to take on Portland State in a 1:00 p.m. game at CenturyLink Field.
Season Openers:Washington is 82-34-6 all-time in season openers, good for a mark of .697. Since 1989, Washington has posted an 12-10 record in season openers - 7-1 at home, 5-8 on the road, 0-1 neutral site. Last year, the Huskies beat defending NCAA Division I FCS Champion Eastern Washington, 30-27, for the UW's first season-opening win since 2007. In that 22-season span dating back to 1989, the Huskies have opened vs. a ranked team nine times: vs. No. 15 Stanford in 1993 (W, 31-14), at No. 17 USC in 1994 (L, 24-17), at No. 20 Arizona State in 1996 (L, 45-42), vs. No. 19 BYU in 1997 (W, 42-20) at No. 8 Arizona State in 1998 (W, 42-38), vs. No. 11 Michigan in 2001 (W, 23-18), at No. 12 Michigan in 2002 (L, 31-29), at No. 2 Ohio State in 2003 (L, 28-9), at No. 21 Oregon in 2008 (L, 44-10) and vs. No. 11 LSU in 2009 (L, 31-23).
Television:The Washington-San Diego State game will air live to a national audience on the Pac-12 Networks with Kevin Calabro (play-by-play), Adam Archuleta (color) and Yogi Roth (sidelines)providing the commentary. The game will air on the Pac-12's national network as well as all of the regional networks (including Pac-12 Washington).
Radio:The Washington IMG College Network, with its flagship station KJR 950-AM, will carry the live broadcast of every football game on 18 Northwest radio stations. Longtime play-by-play man Bob Rondeau and color analyst Damon Huard are joined by sideline reporter Elise Woodward. The UW broadcast of the game will also air on Sirius (138) and XM (196) satellite radio.
View From the Other Sideline: While the Huskies' full-time coaching staff doesn't include any UW graduates, nearly all of them have some tie to the state or to the Northwest and a surprising number have actually played for their alma mater against the Dawgs. Head man Steve Sarkisian's only loss in a 14-1 season as a senior at BYU in 1996 came to the UW at Husky Stadium. New defensive coaches Justin Wilcox and Peter Sirmon both faced the Huskies during their playing careers at Oregon from 1996 to 1999. Former Washington State linebacker Johnny Nansen, now the Huskies' recruiting coordinator and special teams coach, was on the opposite sideline for several Apple Cups in the early-to-mid 1990s and new defensive backs coach Keith Heyward played in a few barnburners vs. the UW for Oregon State from 1997 to 2000. More recently, defensive line coach Tosh Lupoi squared off with the Huskies during his time as a d-lineman at California at the start of the last decade. And while neither offensive line coach Dan Cozzetto nor running backs coach Joel Thomas ever faced Washington during their careers at Idaho, both grew up in the Evergreen State. Finally, new offensive coordinator Eric Kiesauhas also never played against Washington, but did play his college football just across the border at Portland State.
Huskies vs. Aztecs History:Washington and San Diego State have squared off just twice in their history. In 1982, the No. 1-ranked Huskies improved to 4-0 with a 46-25 win over SDSU in front of 55,528 at Husky Stadium on Oct. 2, 1982. The Huskies would stretch their record to 7-0 before falling at Stanford. In 1997, Washington was highly ranked once again when the Aztecs visited on the second Saturday of the season, Sept. 13. A second-ranked Dawgs team held San Diego State to 196 yards of total offense en route to a 36-3 victory. Brock Huard completed 16-of-26 passes for 313 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions with Jerome Pathon catching eight of those passes for 182 yards and two scores. SDSU's Az-Zahir Hakim caught seven passes for 108 yards.
Huskies vs. Mountain West Conference:Washington has played all but three (Colorado State, New Mexico and UNLV) of the 10 schools that comprise the Mountain West Conference in football this season. All totaled, the Huskies are 12-8 against current MWC members. Here's the breakdown: 2-6 vs. Air Force; 1-0 vs. Boise State; 2-1 vs. Fresno State; 3-1 vs. Hawai'i; 2-0 vs. San Diego State; and 2-0 vs. Wyoming.
Washington-SDSU Ties: New UW defensive line coach Tosh Lupoi and San Diego State offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig spent the 2009 and 2010 seasons on the same staff at California. Several members of the UW coaching staff (Jimmie Dougherty and GAs Jordan Paopao and Andrew Rolin) played and/or coached at the University of San Diego, but didn't cross over with any of the SDSU staff. Washington head coach Steve Sarkisian was very briefly on the coaching staff at San Diego State in 2002 before moving to a full-time job at USC. As far as players go, Washington has two players who prepped in San Diego County: James Johnson (Valley Center), Cory Littleton (Spring Valley/Mount Miguel). SDSU's roster includes two Washingtonians: freshman Connor Black (Wenatchee) and sophomore Aaron Boesch (Oak Harbor). Seeing as many players from each team's roster went to high school in California, it's no surprise that members of the two teams have played with one another at the prep (or junior college) level. Those include: UW's Keith Price and Will Shamburger and SDSU's Leon McFadden (St. John Bosco HS); UW's Gregory Ducre and SDSU's Pierre Romain and Marcus Andrews (Crenshaw HS); UW's Marvin Hall and Jaydon Mickens and SDSU's Vaness Harris (Dorsey HS); UW's Thomas Tutogi and SDSU's Andrew Feaster (Southwestern JC); UW's Knight Laird and Cyler Miles and SDSU's Jimmy Miller, Arthur Flores and Alec Johnson (Mullen HS); UW's Scott Lawyer and Cleveland Walker and SDSU's Bruce Leaupepe (Oak Grove HS); UW's Johnson and SDSU's Daniel Brunskill (Valley Center HS); UW's Mike Criste and SDSU's Austin Maass (Mission Viejo HS); UW's Littleton and SDSU's Malcolm Jackson (Mount Miguel HS); and UW's Derrick Brownand SDSU's Jon Sanchez (Vista Murrieta HS).
Home Openers:The Huskies are 87-28-5 in home openers (whether the first game of the season or not), a percentage of .746. (Washington did not play any home games in the 1890 or 1893 seasons.) 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 such games since falling to Oklahoma State on Sept. 7, 1985.
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 53-13 record against non-Pac-10/Pac-12 foes in Husky Stadium. Those 13 losses have come to Nebraska (2010), LSU (2009), BYU (2008), Oklahoma (2008), Ohio State (2007), Notre Dame (2005), Fresno State (2004), Nevada (2003), Air Force (1999), Nebraska (1997), Notre Dame (1995), Colorado (1989) and Oklahoma State (1985). The wins during that stretch include victories over No. 22 Boise State in 2007, No. 11 Michigan in 2001, No. 4 Miami in 2000, and No. 12 Nebraska in 1992, to name just four. Prior to the 2004 loss to Nevada, Washington hadn't lost a home game to a non-league opponent since falling to Air Force, 31-21, on September 18, 1999. The Huskies had won 10 such games before that Nevada loss.
Captains: At the Huskies' annual "Raise the Woof!" preseason celebration, the captains for the 2012 season were unveiled. This season, thanks to a tie in the player voting, five captains were selected. On offense, junior quarterback Keith Price (Compton, Calif.) and senior center Drew Schaefer (Sammamish, Wash.) were honored. On defense, three players were selected: junior safety Sean Parker (Los Angeles), sophomore linebacker John Timu (Long Beach, Calif.) and senior cornerback Desmond Trufant(Tacoma). All five players are serving as UW captain for the first time as all four of the Huskies' captains in 2011 have departed.
Playing at CenturyLink Field: Washington will play the entire 2012 home season at CenturyLink Field, home of the Seattle Seahawks and Seattle Sounders FC soccer. CenturyLink Field is located in the SoDo District of Seattle, just south of downtown (hence, SoDo). The stadium was opened in 2002 on the site of the old Kingdome. Washington has played two prior games there. In 2005, the UW opened the season with a "road" game vs. Air Force (the game was Air Force's home game, but moved to the "neutral" site), falling to the Falcons, 20-17. Last year, in a bid to give the Husky Stadium renovation project a head start, the Huskies played the annual Apple Cup game at CenturyLink Field, beating Washington State, 38-21, in front of 64,559 fans. The stadium, operated by First & Goal, Inc., has a FieldTurf playing surface and a football capacity of 67,000.