Sept. 14, 2004
Following two games on the road, the Washington State Cougar football team, 1-1, returns home for a non-conference battle with the rival Idaho Vandals, 0-2, Saturday, 7:30 p.m., at Martin Stadium. The game will be televised live in the Northwest only by FOX Sports Net Northwest.
WSU leads the long-standing rivalry, winning 66 of 86 games, with the Vandals victorious 17 times. There have been three ties. WSU and Idaho have been playing football since 1894, the first year the Cougars had an organized football team.
Last year WSU won its third straight from the Vandals 25-0 in the season opener at Seattle and Seahawks Stadium. Idaho's last win was in 2001, which gave the Vandals two straight wins. Prior to that Idaho had not won since 1965, with WSU owning a 17-2 mark since 1965.
The Cougars are coming off a painful loss to Colorado in Seattle last weekend, 20-12. The Cougars generated 402 yards and forced three turnovers while limiting the Buffs to 47 rushing yards, 78 passing yards and just seven first downs. Turnovers were WSU's downfall as Colorado returned an interception for a touchdown, blocked a punt for a touchdown and kicked two field goals.
Jason Hill, with six receptions for 206 yards, was WSU's Pac-10 Player of the Week nomination, while linebacker Scott Davis was the defensive nominee after making nine tackles, including two for losses. Freshman receiver Michael Bumpus returned six punts for 61 yards to earn the special teams nomination. Davis hails from Kennewick, while Bumpus is from Culver City, Calif.
Hill's 206 receiving yards stands sixth on WSU's single game list of best performances by a receiver. Hill is a sophomore from San Francisco.
The Cougars are expected to start two new tackles on their already young defensive unit after starters Steve Cook (knee sprain) and Ropati Pitoitua (ankle) were injured against Colorado and are doubtful for the Idaho game. Freshman Aaron Johnson and sophomore Odell Howard are expected to start if neither regular can play this weekend.
Other than the possible change at the two defensive tackle positions, Cougar Head Coach Bill Doba said all other starters will be the same for the third consecutive week.
Doba said during the Pac-10 Teleconference and again during WSU's afternoon teleconference sophomore Josh Swogger would continue as the Cougars' starting quarterback. Redshirt freshman Alex Brink will be Swogger's backup.
A crowd of 56,188 watched WSU play Colorado last week, the second largest "home" crowd in WSU history. The top six Cougar football crowds have been at games played in Seattle, three at the current Seahawk venue, one in the Kingdome, and two in Husky Stadium. The first three games were all played in the 1970's.
WSU's defensive prowess has carried the Cougars to lofty national rankings in the first two games, although nine players are new to their starting roles. WSU currently ranks seventh nationally and second in the Pacific-10 Conference in pass efficiency defense and 22nd nationally in overall pass defense. WSU also ranked 12th nationally in passing offense and is tied for fourth nationally in turnover margin.
According to Dan Meyer, WSU's director of ticket sales and operations, fewer than 800 general public tickets for the WSU-Idaho game remained on sale Tuesday. In addition, WSU student tickets and student guest passes are also available.
FOX TV: The WSU-Idaho gridiron match-up this weekend will be televised live by FOX Sports Net (Northwest), with Brian Davis providing the play-by-play and former Cougar quarterback Mark Rypien the commentary.
2004 CAPTAINS: WSU - QB Josh Swogger (9), OL Sam Lightbody (75), FS Hamza Abdullah (28), LB Will Derting (51). IDAHO: FS Simeon Stewart (22), DE Brandon Kania (86); QB Mike Harrington (7), OT Hank Therien (77), TE Brian Yarno (36).