No. 16 Irish Head Into Husky Stadium Saturday
Sept. 19, 2005
The Game: The Washington football team (0-1 in the Pac-10, 1-2 overall) returns to Husky Stadium for the third of three straight home games this Saturday, Sept. 24, as Notre Dame visits for a 12:30 p.m. game. The Irish, ranked No. 16 by the Associated Press and No. 18 in the USA Today coaches' poll, come to Seattle with a 2-1 record after an overtime loss to Michigan State last Saturday in South Bend. After Saturday's game, the Huskies leave Seattle for the first time this season when they travel to face UCLA Oct. 1.
Huskies vs. Irish History: Washington and Notre Dame have played one another only five times and the Fighting Irish have won all five. In the five games combined, Notre Dame has outscored the UW, 194-51, or by an average score of about 39-10. The first UW-ND game was played Nov. 27, 1948, as the Dawgs, under first-year head coach Howie O'Dell, wrapped up a rough season with a trip to Notre Dame. The second-ranked Irish, who had won the national championship the year before, handed the visitors a 46-0 defeat, the third-most lop-sided in Husky history to that point. The Huskies managed only 149 yards of total offense while Notre Dame, behind three TD passes from Frank Tripucka, totaled 444 yards, 337 on the ground. The following year, the Irish traveled to Seattle for an Oct. 1 game and returned to South Bend with a 27-7 win en route to a 10-0 season and a fourth national title of the 1940s. Washington led the game, 7-0, after the first quarter thanks to a 55-yard touchdown pass from Don Heinrich to Roland Kirkby. After a pass from Bob Williams to eventual Heisman Trophy winner Leon Hart tied the game at 7-7, the Irish took the lead for good in the third quarter on an six-yard end-around TD from Hart and a 30-yard run from Larry Coutre. For the day, the Irish out-gained Washington, 404 yards to 153. The two teams would wait nearly half a century before playing again as the Irish paid a visit to Seattle once again in 1995. Mistakes down the stretch cost the Huskies a chance at their first win over the Irish and Lou Holtz returned home with a 29-21 win over a Husky team that would go on to share the Pac-10 title. That game was played in front of 74,023 fans, then the third-largest crowd in Husky Stadium history. The following year, 1996, the 16th-ranked Dawgs traveled to face No. 11 Notre Dame and were beaten, 54-20, thanks to a powerful Irish running game. That UW team went on to finish 9-3 overall and 7-1 in the Pac-10. The Irish, in Holtz's final season, went 8-3. Last year, Notre Dame routed Washington, 38-3 as Brady Quinn tied a school record with four TD passes. Quinn went 17-for-32 fro 266 yards while the Huskies committed five turnovers. The Huskies' lone score came on a Michael Braunstein field goal in the second quarter. During his seven seasons as Stanford head coach, Tyrone Williamham went 3-2 in five games against the Irish, who he would, of course, go on to coach. This year's UW-ND game is, obviously, the first head-to-head meeting between the UW and Irish coach Charlie Weis, and the first game pitting Weis and Willingham against one another as head coaches in any forum.
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 47-7 record against non-Pac-10 foes in Husky Stadium. Those seven losses have come to 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. 11 Michigan in 2001, No. 4 Miami in 2000, and No. 12 Nebraska in 1992, to name just three. Prior to the 2003 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 the 2003 loss.
Television: The Washington-Notre Dame game will air to a live audience on ABC-TV, with Brad Nessler, Bob Griese and Lynn Swann calling the action. The game will also be shown on tape delay Sunday, Sept. 25 at 3 p.m. on FSN Northwest, with Brian Davis and Sonny Sixkiller on the call. During the season, all remaining Husky games will air on FSN on tape delay Sundays at 3:00 p.m. Additionally, "Husky Football All-Access" airs each Thursday at 7:00 p.m. during the season on Fox Sports. The 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 five different states and British Columbia, Canada, on 26 different radio stations. Longtime play-by-play man Bob Rondeau and color analyst Chuck Nelson are joined by sideline reporter Elise Woodward. Most broadcasts will also be carried on XM Satellite Radio on channel 194, 195 or 196.
The Coach: Tyrone Willingham was named Washington's 22nd head football coach on December 13, 2004. A former head coach at Notre Dame and Stanford, Willingham became the first African-American to serve as the Huskies head coach. While he brings an impressive resume with him to resurrect the Husky program, Willingham has acquitted himself well among his peers for much more than just fielding winning teams. Over the past 28 years Willingham has developed a coaching style that emphasizes toughness, enthusiasm, intelligence, discipline, commitment and unselfish play. The result has provided his players with more than just the opportunity to enjoy victories on the field. His guiding principles have prepared his players to be successful in life. Willingham, who turned 51 on Dec. 30, served as the head coach at Stanford (1995-2001) and Notre Dame (2002-2004) over the past decade. His Stanford teams enjoyed a 44-36-1 record while he was 21-15 with the Fighting Irish, including a 38-3 victory against Washington last season at Notre Dame Stadium. In his inaugural season with the Irish in 2002, he wasted no time reversing the tide of the Irish program, leading Notre Dame to a 10-2 regular-season record and a trip to the 2003 Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Fla. He was named Sportsman of the Year by The Sporting News after the 2002 season, while also picking up several national coach of the year awards. Prior to his tenure at Notre Dame, Willingham directed the Stanford program for seven seasons. In 1999, the Cardinal won the Pac-10 and earned a trip to the Rose Bowl for the first time since 1972, earning Willingham Pac-10 Coach of the Year honors. He also led the Cardinal to the 1995 Liberty Bowl, the 1996 Sun Bowl and the 2001 Seattle Bowl. Willingham, who grew up in Jacksonville, N.C., played both football and baseball at Michigan State, earning three letters in both sports and was awarded the Big Ten Conference Medal of Honor as the outstanding scholar-athlete in the league. He began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at his alma mater in 1977 and, aside from his two previous head coaching stints, has served as a full-time assistant at Central Michigan, Michigan State, North Carolina State, Rice and Stanford, as well as with the Minnesota Vikings. Here's a look at Willingham's head coaching career:
Pac-10 Double Dip: Having spent seven seasons as head coach at Stanford, Tyrone Willingham becomes the second head coach in UW history (following his predecessor Keith Gilbertson, who also was the head man at Cal) to come to Washington after having been head coach at another Pac-10 school. In fact, it's relatively rare for a coach to have served in that capacity at more than one Pac-10 institution. In recent years, Bruce Snyder (California and Arizona State), Dennis Erickson (Washington State at Oregon State) and Larry Smith (Arizona and USC) have done it. Earlier examples include Tommy Prothro (Oregon State at UCLA) and Washington's own Leonard "Stub" Allison, who coached one season at the UW (1920) before eventually spending 10 seasons as Cal head coach (1935-44).
Willingham Selected For Hula Bowl: Tyrone Willingham will direct the West Team during the 2006 Hula Bowl scheduled for Jan. 21 at War Memorial Stadium on the island of Maui. Auburn's Tommy Tuberville will direct the East squad. Willingham will be assisted by San Jose State head coach Dick Tomey. The American Football Coaches Association's 2005 Division I-AA, Division II and Division III coach of the year winners will also serve as assistants in the game. This year's game will be the 60th edition of the all-star classic.
Both Sides Of The Field: Tyrone Willingham will get the opportunity to pull off the somewhat rare feat of coaching a matchup from both sides in consecutive years this weekend when the Huskies take on Notre Dame Saturday at Husky Stadium. Last year, Washington traveled to South Bend, where Willingham's Irish squad handled the Dawgs in a 38-3 win. The situation, however, is somewhat familiar to Husky fans, however. In 1999, in the UW's third game under coach Rick Neuheisel, Washington beat Colorado (Neuheisel's former team), 31-24. However, the Huskies hadn't previously played the Buffs since the 1996 Holiday Bowl. Facing his former school will not be a new experience for Willingham. While at Notre Dame he coached against Stanford, his first stop as a head coach, and Michigan State, his alma mater.
Willingham vs. The Pac-10: Thanks mostly to his time at Stanford, but also via frequent games vs. western teams while at Notre Dame, Tyrone Willingham has amassed a lengthy record against Pac-10 teams. Overall, Willingham is 47-29 against Pac-10 teams. Interestingly, his teams have struggled the most against Washington, as he's gone 1-6 against his new charges. Here's Willingham's record against each Pac-10 team: Arizona (2-3), Arizona State (4-3), California (7-1), Oregon (4-1), Oregon State (3-4), Stanford (3-0), UCLA (3-4), USC (4-6), Washington (1-5), Washington State (6-2).
Coaching Staff: Washington's new coaching staff, under first-year head coach Tyrone Willingham, includes a number of names that might be familiar to more savvy Pac-10 football fans. Willingham, of course, spent seven seasons in charge of Stanford, where he'd previously served as an assistant (1989-91) for three seasons. And, two members of the Husky staff from last season were held over as well, lending more than a little familiarity. Defensive line coach Randy Hart is now working for his fifth different head coach as a member of the Husky staff while linebackers coach Chris Tormey, is beginning his 15th season at the UW, spread over three different stints. Aside from those three, several other UW coaches have experience in or around the Northwest. Defensive coordinator Kent Baer has coached in the Pac-10 at California, Arizona State and Stanford, as well as at Idaho. Spokane native Tim Lappano previously worked at Idaho, Washington State, California, Oregon State and with the Seattle Seahawks. Receivers coach Eric Yarber, an Idaho grad, has spent time at his alma mater, with the Seahawks and at Oregon State while Mike Denbrock (offensive line) and Trent Miles (running backs) both worked one season each at Stanford. Only tight ends/special teams coach Bob Simmons, the former Oklahoma State head coach, and defensive backs coach Steven Wilks can't trace their coaching roots through the Pac-10.
The GAs: Washington's two graduate assistant coaches this season are Kyle Benn (offense) and Joey Hildbold (defense). Benn earned four letters as a center and was a captain on the 2001 team. That season, he was one of only two players named to the All-Pac-10 and Academic All-Pac-10 first teams. He is in his second season as a G.A. at his alma mater. Hildbold, a 2003 graduate of Notre Dame, was a punter for the Irish from 1999 to 2002. He was a two-time finalist for the Ray Guy Award, given to the nation's top collegiate punter.
Washington-Notre Dame Ties: There are some pretty obvious ties between the Washington and Notre Dame football programs. Most notably, of course, is the fact that Husky head coach Tyrone Willingham spent the last three seasons in charge of the Fighting Irish. Additionally, UW defensive coordinator Kent Baer, offensive line coach Mike Denbrock, running backs coach Trent Miles, tight end coach Bob Simmons and defensive backs coach Steven Wilks all worked under Willingham at Notre Dame. Plus, Husky graduate assistant Joey Hildbold was a punter for the Irish, playing under Willingham. However, none of the current Husky staff have ever worked with any of the current Notre Dame coaches. Additonally, with regard to the non-coaching staff, Husky assistant athletic director for athletic communications Jim Daves was an SID at Notre Dame from 1986 to 1992 and UW director of football operations Erica Genise worked for Willingham ni South Bend. According to its preseason media guide roster, Notre Dame has only one player from the state of Washington: junior wide receiver Michael O'Hara, who graduated from Newport High in Bellevue. No Huskies hail from Indiana. However, Irish senior defensive end Chris Frome went to Hart High School in Newhall, Calif., the same alma mater as Husky sophomore linebacker Dan Howell. Notre Dame nose guard Derek Landri and linebacker Anthony Salvador went to powerhouse De La Salle High in Concord, Calif., as did Husky offensive tackle Robin Meadow. Husky safety Kim Taylor and Irish DB Freddie Parish IV both played for another West Coast power, Long Beach Poly.
Last Year vs. Notre Dame: Sept. 25, 2004, UW at Notre Dame: The most recent Washington-Notre Dame game was played last season at Notre Dame Stadium as Irish quarterback Brady Quinn tied a school record with four touchdown passes as Coach Tyrone Willingham's Notre Dame handed the Huskies a 38-3 loss. Quinn completed all four of his TD passes in the first half, with two each going to Matt Shelton and Anthony Fasano. The Irish went into halftime with a 31-3 lead and the only score of the second half was a 17-yard run from Darius Walker in the fourth quarter. Quinn finished the day 17-for-32 for 266 yards and one interception to go with his four TD passes. The Huskies, who were held without a touchdown for the first time since a 1992 loss at Arizona, scored its only points in the second quarter on a 26-yard field goal from Michael Braunstein. Starting QB Casey Paus completed 10-of-26 passes for 130 yards and backup Carl Bonnell came off the bench to complete 7-of-18 for 93 yards and one interception. However, five turnovers, including four lost fumbles, kept the Huskies out of the endzone. The game left the UW with an 0-3 record at the time while Notre Dame improved to 3-1. It was also Willingham's first win over Washington after having lost all five meetings vs. the UW as Stanford head coach.
Last Time at Husky Stadium: Oct. 7, 1995, Notre Dame at UW: The most recent UW-Notre Dame game at Husky Stadium was played Oct. 7, 1995. In that game, the 15th-ranked Huskies committed three critical errors in the final thre minutes and 23rd-ranked Notre Dame capitalized to win, 29-21. The backbreaker was cornerback Allen Rossum's 76-yard interception return for the clinching touchdown as the Irish were clinging to a 22-21 lead in the final minute. The UW was threatening late in the game. The play before Rossum's return, Husky quarterback Damon Huard scrambled 27 yards to the Irish 33-yard line with 44 seconds to play. Notre Dame, trailing 21-14, blew one chance to draw even when Derrick Mayes fumbled at the UW 20 after a 15-yard reception with 3:43 remaining. But the Irish got a second chance when, on fourth down, punter John Wales bobbled a snap and Notre Dame took over at the Husky 20. On first-and-goal from the seven, Autry Denson broke three tackles on the way to the end zone. Mayes, uncovered when the play began, then caught the two-point conversion pass from Ron Powlus that gave the visitors the lead. After Notre Dame opened the scoring with a 10-yard pass from Powlus to Mayes in the first quarter, the UW built a 14-7 lead on a one-yard run from Rashaan Shehee and a 13-yard pass from Huard to Andre DeSaussure. After another Powlus-to-Mayes pass tied it at 14-14, Shehee broke a 22-yard TD run to give the Huskies their last lead. Shehee ran for 171 yards on 32 carries while Huard completed 10-of-13 passes for 109 yards, one interception and one TD. Powlus was 12-for-28 for 197 yards, two touchdowns and a pick while Mayes finished the day with seven catches for 132 yards and two scores. Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz watched the game from the press box due to a neck injury.
The 100-Yard Factor: Since the 1947 season, Washington is 160-38-3 (.803) when a Husky player rushes for 100 yards in a game. The Huskies went 3-1 in such games in 2003, 1-1 in 2004 and are 1-1 this season after Louis Rankin rushed for 112 yards in the loss to Air Force and 115 in the win over Idaho.
Playing at Home: Washington has gone unbeaten at home 13 times in its history, including six times in the last 15 seasons. Washington has won 74 of its last 96 (.776) games at Husky Stadium with one tie (74-21-1). Since 1980, the Huskies stand 122-32-2 (.788) at home. Since 1990, the Huskies are 47-15-1 (.754) at Husky Stadium vs. Pac-10 opponents.
Historic Husky Stadium: The 2005 season marks the 86th season of play in Husky Stadium. Original construction on the facility was completed in 1920 when Washington played one game in the new campus facility. Thanks to several major renovations, Husky Stadium's seating capacity has increased to its current total of 72,500. That makes Husky Stadium the 24th-largest college football venue in the nation. It is the 20th-largest on-campus facility in the country. UW's all-time record in Husky Stadium currently stands at 339-143-21 (.695).
Captains: Washington will not have season-long captains this year. Instead, Coach Tyrone Willingham will name game captains each week. Each game's set of captains will be informed of the honor the Friday before each game. For the Air Force game, seniors Joe Lobendahn, Evan Benjamin, James Sims and Joe Toledo served as captains. Against Cal, the captains were Lobendahn, Sims, Dashon Goldson and Brad Vanneman. Most recently, vs. Idaho, the Huskies were led on to the field by captains Scott White, Evan Knudson, Manase Hopoi and Robin Meadow.