IDAHO vs. WASHINGTON STATE
7:30 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 21
Martin Stadium (32,740)
COUGARS CONTINUE HOMESTAND SATURDAY HOSTING IDAHO: Washington State University continues its homestand Saturday, hosting the University of Idaho in Martin Stadium on Homecoming Weekend. Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m. on the Pac-12 Networks.
NEXT WEEK: Washington State heads west for The Seattle Game next Saturday, hosting No. 5 Stanford University at CenturyLink Field. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. on ESPN or 7:30 p.m. on ESPN2.
MIKE LEACH RADIO SHOW: Washington State Head Coach Mike Leach holds a weekly radio show on WSU’s flagship station 920 KXLY on Thursdays from 6-7 p.m. live from Zeppoz in Pullman.
BOB ROBERTSON, NATION’S LONGEST TENURED RADIO ANNOUNCER: Hall of fame announcer Bob Robertson is in his 47th season calling Cougar football games, and according to a nation-wide survey of sports information directors, is the longest tenured radio announcer in the country with the next closest being Bill Hillgrove who has announced 44 straight seasons at Pitt. Robertson began calling WSU games in 1964 and with the exception of a three-year period in 1969-71, has been calling Cougar games ever since. This season, Robertson will slide over from his familiar play-by-play role and pass the microphone to Bud Nameck. Robertson will host the Cougars pre, halftime and postgame shows, while also providing analysis during the games.
COLLEGE GAMEDAY RECORD: In addition to Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit and Lee Corso, ESPN’s College GameDay has had another constant – the WSU flag, which this weekend will be making its 136th consecutive appearance on the weekly show, dating back to the beginning of the 2004 season. Two flags – Ol’ Crimson and Gray – have been flown in the background of the GameDay set by dozens of friends and alumni. The Gray flag was added this year after Whitey was retired in honor of Steve Gleason’s “No White Flags.” WSU recognized the GameDay flag wavers in a pregame ceremony prior to the Montana State game in 2010. In addition to the flags that fly, there is a traveling flag signed by the holders after each episode. The traveling flag is retired after each season, the first of which is hanging in WSU’s Alumni Center.
YOUTH MOVEMENT CONTINUES: The Cougars saw a youth movement in 2012, as 17 freshmen, including nine true freshmen, appeared in a game. Overall, Washington State had 20 players make their first career start last season including five freshmen who earned starts. The movement has continued this season. In the season opener at Auburn, WSU started true freshman wideout River Cracraft (3-catches for 14 yards) and later saw freshman cornerback Daquawn Brown tally four tackles, including one for loss. Brown made his first collegiate start week two at No. 25 USC and answered the call by tallying a game-high 11 tackles and two pass break-ups while helping hold the Trojans Marqise Lee to 27 receiving yards. Brown added another highlight this past Saturday with his first career interception, making a one-handed snag in front of the Cougar sideline against Southern Utah. Cracraft also posted his best game of the season Saturday, catching six passes for 87 yards. The Cougars have started eight sophomores in each of the first three games, four on each side of the ball. Through three games, four true freshman and five redshirt-freshmen have made their collegiate debuts.
IDAHO-WSU SERIES: The Cougars enter Saturday’s contest against Idaho holding a 70-17-3 advantage, including victories in each of the last seven contests. The Cougars have scored 25 or more points in each of the last eight meetings in the series. WSU has won 23 of the last 25 meetings and holds a 38-8-3 advantage when playing in Pullman including a 45-28 victory in 2007, the last meeting between the two teams. The Vandals last win in the series came in 2000, 38-34 in Pullman.
BUCANNON CLIMBING WSU RECORD BOOK: Senior Deone Bucannon has placed his name throughout the WSU record book. Following his team-leading 14 tackles (12 solo) at Auburn and his eight tackle performances in the wins at USC and over Southern Utah, the Fairfield, Calif. native sits fifth in career solo tackles (208) and just outside the top-10 for total tackles (300). Bucannon picked off his tenth career pass this past Saturday and now needs just one more to break into the WSU’s career top-10. He owns 13 career double-digit tackle performances.
FURNEY DOING HIS THING: Kicker Andrew Furney has picked up where he left off from last season, hitting from 44 yards at Auburn, kicking the game-winner from 41 yards out with 3:03 remaining at USC and adding two more from 46 and 30 yards against Southern Utah. Furney’s has pushed his career made field goal total to 35, moving him past Rian Lindell and into sole possession of fourth place for the most makes in program history. He enters the week as the career field goal percentage in program history at .777 (35-45), percentage points ahead of Drew Dunning’s mark of .773 (68-88). Furney earned All-Pac-12 second team honors after going 14-for-20 on field goal attempts, tied for second in the conference. The Burlington, Wash. native was a perfect 7-for-7 on attempts inside 30 yards and 6-of-10 on kicks outside of 40 yards including a conference-best 60-yarder against Eastern Washington. Furney went 25-of-26 on PATs and capped his season earning Pac-12 Special Teams Player of the Week after going 3-for-3 in the Apple Cup victory, kicking a game-tying 45-yarder with 1:59 remaining and later hitting the game-winner from 27-yards in overtime.
HALLIDAY AT IT AGAIN: Quarterback Connor Halliday has continued to put his name throughout the WSU record book, tallying a pair of 300-yard games and a five-touchdown game through the first three weeks. The Spokane native opened the 2013 campaign at Auburn by going 35-of-65 for 344 yards, the second-most pass attempts in WSU single-game history trailing only Drew Bledsoe’s 66 against Montana in 1992. Saturday against Southern Utah, Halliday threw for 383 yards and five touchdowns giving him seven career 300-yard performances, second-most in school history, trailing the school record of 12 shared by Alex Brink and Ryan Leaf. Last season, Halliday passed for 378 yards and four touchdowns at UNLV and 401 yards and four touchdown passes against Colorado on consecutive weeks. It was the first time a WSU quarterback posted back-to-back four-touchdown games since 2007 when Alex Brink threw for five scores against San Diego State and four against Idaho. Halliday also owns two 400-yard games and five career four-touchdown performances. He notched his first career five-touchdown game against UCLA last season and following Saturday, now joins Alex Brink as the only Cougar QB’s with multiple five-TD games. Halliday owns 30 career touchdown passes, good for eighth all time WSU history.
OFFENSIVE LINE TAKING STRIDES: Washington State showcased its improved running game in the season opener at Auburn, rushing for 120 yards and two touchdowns, its highest rushing total since posting 125 rushing yards at Oregon in 2011. Sophomore Teondray Caldwell led the way with seven carries for 57 yards, junior Marcus Mason added 47 yards on six carries and redshirt-sophomore Jeremiah Laufasa rushed for two scores. This past Saturday against Southern Utah, the Cougars did not allow a sack for the first time since against Utah in 2011.
COUGARS KNOCK OFF NO. 25 USC: Washington State’s 10-7 win at No. 25 USC week two was its first victory over the Trojans since 2002 and first win over USC in Los Angeles since 2000. The victory was also the first win over a ranked team since beating No. 16 Oregon in Pullman in 2006 and the first win over a ranked opponent on the road since beating No. 5 Texas in the 2003 Holiday Bowl.
WSU DEFENSE SETTING THE TONE: The Cougars defense has posted some impressive numbers in the first three weeks, holding Auburn to 99 yards passing and 4-of-13 on third down before limiting No. 25 USC to 54 yards passing, 193 yards in total offense and All-American wideout Marqise Lee to 51 all-purpose yards. Saturday the Cougar defense held Southern Utah to 219 yards, it was the first time that WSU held two straight opponents under 225 yards in total offense since 1994, holding Washington to 197 and Baylor to 151 in the Alamo Bowl. WSU enters the week best in the country in pass defense (99.7 ypg), No. 11 in total defense (268.7 ypg) and No. 23 in scoring (16.0 ppg).
HORTON’S HOT STREAK CONTINUES: Senior cornerback Damante Horton recorded his seventh career interception Saturday and returned an INT for a touchdown for the second straight week. The Oakland, Calif. native now owns three career interception returns for touchdowns, tying him for most in WSU history with Jason David. Last week, Horton was named the Pac-12 Conference Defensive Player of the Week following his two-interception performance in the win at No. 25 USC. Horton led a spirited defensive effort by the Cougars in their 10-7 upset win in Los Angeles. Trailing 7-0 late in the first half, Horton picked off a Cody Kessler pass and raced 70 yards for the touchdown. It marked Horton’s second career interception return for a touchdown, the first coming at Oregon in 2011. Horton then sealed the victory by stepping in front of a Max Wittek pass with less than three minutes remaining in the game, ending the USC comeback attempt. Horton led the WSU secondary that held All-American receiver Marquis Lee to seven catches for only 27 yards. He added four tackles, including a career-best two tackles-for-loss for a combined 12 yards. The Oakland, Calif. native was also named the Jim Thorpe Defensive Back of the Week, National Defensive Player of the Week by Athlon Sports and National Defensive Back of the Week by the College Football Performance Awards.
BOWLIN BLASTS AWAY: Kicker Mike Bowlin provided a big boost to the WSU kicking game in 2012 and has continued to do so through the first three weeks of 2013. Bowlin has recorded nine touchbacks on kickoffs, six coming last Saturday, and already but five punts inside the 20. Last season, his first at WSU, Bowlin’s 18 touchbacks on kickoffs were the most since Graham Siderius’ 18 in 2005. Last season, Bowlin recorded 14 punts of 50+ yards and put eight punts inside the 20.
TALIULU TAKING OVER: Sophomore safety Taylor Taliulu has taken hold of the starting strong safety position after bursting on the scene as a true freshman last season. Taliulu enters Saturday fifth on the team with 17 tackles after turning an impressive first three games of 2013. The Aiea, Hawaii native posted four tackles and forced a fumble at Auburn, made six tackles in the win at USC and tallied seven stops against Southern Utah. While making his collegiate debut in last year’s season opener at BYU, Taliulu racked up nine tackles and broke up two passes. It was the most tackles by a freshman in his debut since Chima Nwachukwu also recorded nine tackles at Wisconsin in 2007.
WILSON, YOST JOIN COUGAR COACHING STAFF: The 2013 Washington State coaching staff owns a pair of new faces in linebackers coach Ken Wilson and inside wide receivers coach David Yost. Wilson comes to WSU after spending the past 20-plus seasons at the University of Nevada. Yost joins Mike Leach’s offensive staff after working on Gary Pinkel’s University of Missouri staff as the recruiting coordinator and quarterbacks coach the past 12 seasons, including the Tigers inaugural season in the SEC in 2012.
BUCANNON GARNERS PRESEASON ACCOLADES: Deone Bucannon was named to the Jim Thorpe Award 2013 watch list, the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame and Jim Thorpe Association announced in July. Bucannon is one of 48 players included on the watch list for the award that honors the nation’s best defensive back. The Fairfield, Calif. native was an All-Pac-12 second team selection last season after making a team-high 106 tackles, tied for second-most in the Pac-12 and was the highest total by any non-linebacker. Bucannon also made a team-best four interceptions including a two-interception performance against Oregon. Bucannon posted seven double-digit tackle performances including a 17-tackle game at Arizona State. Earlier this summer, Bucannon was named to the Preseason All-Pac-12 Second Team by both Athlon Sports and Phil Steel Magazine and was also named to the Preseason All-America Fourth Team by Athlon Sports.
BOWLIN, FURNEY NAMED TO PRESEASON AWARD WATCH LISTS: Senior punter Mike Bowlin and senior kicker Andrew Furney were each named to preseason award watch lists this summer. Bowlin is one of 25 candidates named to the Ray Guy Award preseason watch list that honors the nation’s top collegiate punter. Bowlin averaged 41.9 yards-per-punt last season, his first with the Cougars. The Aliso Viejo, Calif. native put eight punts inside the 20, recorded 14 kicks of 50+ yards including a season long of 69. Bowlin also recorded 18 touchbacks on kickoffs, the most by a Cougar since 2005. For the second straight season, Furney is one of the 30 players named to the Lou Groza College Place-Kicker Award Watch List. Furney, a Groza Award semifinalist in 2011, earned second team All-Pac-12 accolades along with Phil Steele Midseason second team All-American honors last season after going 14-for-20 on field goal attempts. The Burlington, Wash. native was a perfect 7-for-7 on attempts inside 30 yards and 6-of-10 on kicks outside of 40 yards including a conference-best 60-yarder against Eastern Washington. Furney went 25-of-26 on PATs.