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Courtesy: Washington State Athletics
Cougars Host Eastern Washington Saturday In Home Opener
Courtesy: Washington State Athletics
Release: 09/03/2012
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Sept. 3, 2012

COUGARS HOST EASTERN WASHINGTON SATURDAY FOR HOME OPENER: Washington State University's renovated three-story press box will be on full display Saturday as the Cougars host Eastern Washington in new-look Martin Stadium. Kickoff is set for noon on Pac-12 Networks Washington.

NEXT WEEK: The Cougars hit the road for a nationally televised contest with UNLV in Las Vegas next Friday at 6 p.m. on ESPN.

EWU-WSU SERIES HISTORY: This will be the first meeting between Washington State and Eastern Washington in over 100 years. The Cougars won the only two previous matchups 46-0 in 1907 and 73-0 in 1908 with both games played in Pullman.

Mike Leach AGAINST THE EAGLES: Head coach Mike Leach has seen Eastern Washington before, posting a 49-24 victory over the Eagles while at Texas Tech in the 2008 season opener played in Lubbock, Texas.

COUGARS IN HOME OPENERS: Washington State is 77-34-3 all-time in home openers, including games in Pullman, Spokane and Seattle. Since 1990 the Cougars boast a 15-7 record in home debuts, and are 25-12 dating back to the start of the 1975 season. WSU beat Idaho State 64-21 in the season opener last season.

Mike Leach RADIO SHOW: Washington State Head Coach Mike Leach holds a weekly radio show on WSU's flagship station 920 KXLY live from Zeppos in Pullman. This week's show will be Thursday from 6-7 p.m.

1972 TEAM REUNITES SATURDAY: This Saturday against Eastern Washington, Washington State will celebrate the 40-year reunion of the 1972 football team who went 7-4 after posting wins over Kansas, Arizona, Idaho, Oregon, Oregon State, No. 20 Stanford and No. 20 Washington. Current WSU Director of Athletics Bill Moos earned all-conference honors as an offensive tackle and helped the Cougars post their first winning season since 1965.

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 119th consecutive appearance on the weekly show, dating back to the beginning of the 2004 season. Two flags - Ol' Crimson and Whitey - have been flown in the background of the Gameday set by dozens of friends and alumni. WSU recognized the Gameday flag wavers in a pregame ceremony prior to the Montana State game last season. 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.

WSU AGAINST NONCONFERENCE OPPONENTS: Since the opening of the 2001 season, WSU is 24-9 against unranked nonconference opponents. The Cougars own wins over Idaho (seven times), Montana State (3 times), Nevada (twice), New Mexico (twice), Boise State, Purdue, Colorado, Grambling State, Baylor, Portland State, SMU, Idaho State and UNLV.

WSU VS. THE BIG SKY: Dating back to a 34-0 victory over Montana in 1903, the Cougars have played 45 games against teams currently in the Big Sky Conference. WSU is 43-2 in those games - including 19 shutouts - and has not lost to a team currently in the Big Sky in more than 60 years. The Cougars have won 15 straight meetings against Big Sky schools since a 13-12 road loss to Montana in 1947. The only other loss was also to the Grizzlies, a 10-0 setback, also in Missoula. The Cougars are 27-0 when playing a current Big Sky school in Pullman. The last meeting came in last season when WSU defeated Idaho State, 64-21. WSU VS. FCS: Since the formation of the Pacific-10 Conference in 1978, the Cougars have won all 16 games played against Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA) schools.

WILSON AMONG PAC-12's CAREER LEADERS: Junior wide receiver Marquess Wilson enters the week the Pac-12 Conference's active career leader in receiving yards with 2,455, good for No. 41 all-time in Pac-12 history. His 1,388 receiving yards in 2011 was the 12th most in Pac-12 history.

TUEL AMONG WSU'S ELITE PASSERS: Senior quarterback Jeff Tuel posted career highs of 30 completions and 45 attempts at BYU last Thursday. The Fresno, Calif. native also passed for 229 yards and now sits in eighth place on WSU's career top 10 for completions with 349 and tenth for career passing yards with 4,074. His career completion percentage also improved to .605 (349/577) which is the best in WSU history.

TUEL TO WILSON ADDING UP: Senior quarterback Jeff Tuel and junior wide receiver Marquess Wilson have connected 65 times for 1,158 yards and seven touchdowns.

WILSON CLIMBING WSU RECORD BOOKS: Junior Marquess Wilson continued his climb up WSU's career receiving records with four catches for 61 yards at BYU last Thursday. Wilson passed Doug Flansburg and Nian Taylor on the career receptions list and enters the week in seventh with 141 career catches, seven away from Jason Hill and Phillip Bobo who sit tied for fifth with 148. Wilson's 61 receiving yards allowed him to pass Taylor on the top 10 for career receiving yards and into fourth place, now just four yards away from Hugh Campbell.

LONG CLOSING IN: Senior Travis Long matched career highs with nine tackles and two sacks at BYU last Thursday. The Spokane native finished with 2.5 tackles-for-loss and moved into seventh place on WSU's top 10 for career tackles-for-loss with 31.5. He is half a tackle-for-loss away from tying Will Derting. Long's second career two-sack performance pushed his career sack total to 13 and is now just 1.5 sacks away from breaking into WSU's top 10 for career sacks.

FURNEY FROM LONG DISTANCE: Junior kicker Andrew Furney provided the highlights for the Cougars last Thursday against BYU, hitting a pair of 40+ yard field goals (47, 41). Furney has now hit his last eight attempts from 40+ yards. He finished 5-for-5 from 40+ yards in 2011.

FRESHMAN TALIULU MAKES HIS MARK: Freshman safety Taylor Taliulu showed little nerves while making his collegiate debut last Thursday against BYU, racking up nine tackles and breaking 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 PLACED ON PAIR OF PRESEASON ALL-AMERICA TEAMS: Junior wide receiver Marquess Wilson was named to Preseason All-America first team and the SI.COM Preseason All-America second team.

TUEL NAMED TO DAVEY O'BRIEN AWARD AND JOHNNY UNITAS AWARD WATCH LISTS: Senior quarterback Jeff Tuel was named to The Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award® watch list. The Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award is presented annually to the nation's best college quarterback and is the oldest and most prestigious nat ional quarterback award. Coming off an impressive sophomore campaign, Tuel appeared in three games while battling through injuries last season. As a sophomore in 2010, Tuel threw for 2,780 yards and 18 touchdowns while starting all 12 games.

FURNEY NAMED TO LOU GROZA AWARD WATCH LIST: Junior kicker Andrew Furney was named to The Lou Groza Award watch. Furney was named one of 20 semifinalists to the same award during the 2011 campaign. Last season, Furney was 14-of-16 in field goal attempts to post the best field goal percentage in WSU single-season history. He recorded a season-long of 51 and was 5-for-5 from 40+ yards.

LONG NAMED TO THREE PRESEASON WATCH LISTS: Senior linebacker Travis Long was named to preseason watch lists for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy (Top Defensive Player), Butkus Award (Top Linebacker) and Rotary Lombardi Award (Top Lineman or Linebacker). Long enters the 2012 season having started all 36 games of his Cougar career. He is a three-time all-conference selection, earning second-team All-Pac-12 honors in 2011. Last season he led WSU with four sacks, collected 12 tackles-for-loss, which ranked fifth in the Pac-12, and had 42 total tackles from his defensive end position.

WILSON NAMED TO MAXWELL AWARD AND BILETNIKOFF AWARD WATCH LISTS: Junior wide receiver Marquess Wilson has been named to the preseason watch lists for the annual Maxwell Award, given to the nation's top collegiate football player, and the Fred Biletnikoff Award, given to the nation's top receiver. Wilson enters the 2012 season coming off back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons. In 2011 he set WSU single-season records with 82 receptions and 1,388 receiving yards and tied for second-most in a season with 12 touchdown receptions. Wilson led the Pac-12 in receiving yards per game at 115.7 and earned Yahoo! Sports All-America second team and Sports Illustrated All-America honorable mention honors. 

WILLIAM "LONE STAR" DIETZ SELECTED TO COLLEGE FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME: Former Washington State football coach William "Lone Star" Dietz was selected to the College Football Hall of Fame 2012 Divisional Class by the National Football Foundation in May. With a lengthy career spanning many schools and decades, William "Lone Star" Dietz provided a foundation for football success at many universities across the nation. He served as the head coach for 19 seasons at seven institutions and enjoyed a distinguished career as an assistant coach, helping College Football Hall of Fame coach Pop Warner prepare Stanford for two Rose Bowl appearances. Truly a legend in his own time, "Lone Star" Dietz had a fantastic career as Washington State's football coach from 1915-17. His teams posted a 17-2-1 record with 15 shutouts. In his inaugural year, he guided WSC (Washington State College) to the Rose Bowl and a 14-0 shutout of Ivy League foe Brown. That team was 7-0 and allowed just one touchdown and one field goal all year. A year later, WSC was 4-2 and his 1917 team finished 6-0-1 while yielding three points to opponents, a field goal in the second game of the season.

40TH ANNIVERSARY OF MARTIN STADIUM: The 2012 Cougars football season marks the 40-year anniversary of Martin Stadium. In April 1970, a fire destroyed the south stands and press box of then-Rogers Field. For the next two seasons, the WSU football team played its home games at Joe Albi Stadium in Spokane. In the interim, a one-million dollar fund drive began after the decision was made to rebuild the stands rather than relocate or build an entirely new stadium. WSU launched a two-phase renovation plan that created a two-tiered structure that held 17,500, replacing the old seating capacity of 10,000 and increasing the total seating capacity to 30,000. Dan Martin, a Los Angeles businessman, gave $250,000 to the project with the stipulation the stadium be renamed after his father, Clarence D. Martin, governor of Washington state from 1933-40. Although the look and amenities have changed, Martin Stadium has been the home of the Washington State Cougars since 1972. The $80 million Cougar Football Project, which began in Nov., 2011, replaces the old press box on the south stands with a new structure that includes a new press box, club seats, loge boxes, luxury suites and a club room.

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