Sept. 17, 2012
COUGARS OPEN PAC-12 PLAY SATURDAY HOSTING COLORADO: Washington State University opens Pac-12 Conference play hosting University of Colorado, Saturday at 1 p.m. in Martin Stadium. The game will be nationally televised by FX.
NEXT WEEK: The Cougars continue Pac-12 play next weekend, matching up against three-time defending conference champion No. 3/3 University of Oregon in The Seattle Game at CenturyLink Field. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. and the game will be nationally televised by either ESPN or ESPN2.
CU-WSU SERIES HISTORY: The Cougars and Buffaloes have met seven times, with Colorado owning a 4-3 advantage in the series. WSU came from behind to win last year's Pac-12 opener, using a 63-yard touchdown pass from Marshall Lobbestael to Marquess Wilson in the final minutes to pull out the 31-27 victory in Boulder. The meeting prior came during the 2004 season, a 20-12 victory by Colorado in a game played in Seattle. That game was originally scheduled for Sept. 15, 2001, in Pullman, however the events of 9/11 four days prior, forced the game to be pushed back to 2004. This will be Colorado's first trip to Pullman after previously playing four times in Boulder (1981, 1987, 1996, 2003 and 2011), once in Spokane (1982) and once in Seattle (2004)
Mike Leach AGAINST COLORADO: Head coach Mike Leach faced the University of Colorado four times during his tenure at Texas Tech University, posting a 1-3 record against the Buffaloes. While both programs were members of the Big 12 Conference, Colorado posted wins in 2002, 2006-07 while the Red Raiders won the 2003 meeting.
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. For more information, click here.
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 121st 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 QUICK HITS:
► The Cougars are looking for their first three-game winning streak since 2006 when they posted wins over Idaho, Baylor in Seattle and at Stanford.
► Marquess Wilson needs 93 receiving yards to pass Jason Hill for second on WSU's top 10 for career receiving yards and 145 yards to pass Brandon Gibson's school-record of 2,756.
► The win at Colorado last season was win No. 500 in program history.
DEFENSE RACKING UP THE SACKS: The Washington State defense has tallied eight sacks through the first three games after recording 17 all of last season. The switch to a 3-4 defense has seen more linebackers in the backfield as five of the six sacks have come from linebackers. Converted linebacker Travis Long enters the weekend leading the Pac-12 Conference with four sacks.
WILSON AMONG PAC-12'S CAREER LEADERS: Junior wide receiver Marquess Wilson enters the week as the Pac-12 Conference's active career leader in receiving yards with 2,612, good for No. 33 all-time in conference history. His 1,388 receiving yards in 2011 was the 12th most in Pac-12 history.
WILSON CLIMBING WSU RECORD BOOKS: Junior Marquess Wilson continued his climb up WSU's career receiving records with five catches for 110 yards at UNLV last Friday. Wilson passed Phillip Bobo and Jason Hill on the career receptions list and enters the week in fifth with 150 career catches, 16 away from Jared Karstetter who sits fourth with 166. Wilson's 110 receiving yards upped his career total to 2,612, good for third on WSU's career top-10. Following his two touchdown performance at UNLV, The Tulare, Calif. native sits in third on WSU's all-time top-10 for career touchdowns.
WILSON'S BIG PLAYS: Marquess Wilson's 81-yard touchdown at UNLV last Friday wasn't the first big play of his career. In 27 games, the junior wideout owns eight career touchdown catches of 50-plus yards, including five in 2011 highlighted by a 85-yard score from Connor Halliday against Arizona State. Dating back to the 1984 season, the only Cougar with as many as seven touchdown catches of 50-plus yards is former Cougar great Tim Stallworth.
TUEL TO WILSON ADDING UP: Senior quarterback Jeff Tuel and junior wide receiver Marquess Wilson have connected 69 times for 1,205 yards and seven touchdowns.
LONG LEADING THE WAY: Senior Travis Long matched career highs with nine tackles and two sacks at UNLV for the second time this season after reaching the marks at BYU in week one. The Spokane, Wash. native leads the Pac-12 Conference with four sacks, matching his total from a season ago and upping his career total to 15, good for tenth on WSU's top-10 for career sacks. Long's team-leading 4.5 tackles-for-loss puts his career total to 33.5, good for sixth on WSU's career top-10. Long is third on the team with 20 tackles.
FURNEY GOES LONG DISTANCE: Junior kicker Andrew Furney has provided a couple highlights for the Cougars during the first three weeks of the season, hitting a pair of 40+ yard field goals (47, 41) at BYU then closing the half against Eastern Washington with a 60-yard field goal. Furney's careerlong was the second longest in WSU history behind Jason Hanson's 62-yarder at UNLV in 1991. The 60-yarder is also tied for the second longest in conference history and is the longest in Martin Stadium history. The kick also gave Furney is ninth straight make when attempting from 40+ yards. The streak ended after he missed wide right from 40 yards in the third quarter against EWU.
NEW FACES MAKING AN IMPACT: Washington State has seen a number of new faces on the field through the first three games of 2012. First-year Cougars making an impact are led by junior nose tackle Ioane Gauta who has started all three games and made 11 stops including a pair of tacklesfor- loss. Freshman safety Taylor Taliulu started the first two games and was one of the top two tacklers in each contest, making nine at BYU and seven against Eastern Washington. Freshman wideouts Gabe Marks and Brett Bartolone own 12 and 10 receptions, respectively, with Marks posting his first career 100-yard performance at UNLV. Freshman running back Teondray Caldwell is second on the team in rushing and also serves as WSU's primary kick returner, already owning a 63-yard return at BYU.
MONROE MAKING HIS MARK: Redshirt-freshman linebacker Darryl Monroe has produced for the Cougars in his first three games, starting at MIKE linebacker, making the second most tackles (21) while forcing two fumbles and one sack. The Orlando, Fla. native redshirted last season after suffering a leg injury in the 2011 season opener against Idaho State. Monroe added 15 pounds to his frame since arriving from Dr. Phillips High School where he was named one of the top five linebackers in the state of Florida as a senior.
HALLIDAY AT IT AGAIN: Redshirt-sophomore quarterback Connor Halliday picked up where he left off from last season, tearing up the record books once again as the Spokane native passed for 378 yards and four touchdowns at UNLV last Friday to up his career touchdown total to 13. The 13 scores are more than Cougar great Drew Bledsoe's nine touchdown passes he threw in the first six games of his career. Bledsoe threw all nine touchdowns during his first six games as a freshman in 1990. Halliday now owns a pair of 300-yard performances and two four-touchdown performances after passing for 494 yards and four scores against Arizona State last season.
BOWLIN BLASTS AWAY: Redshirt-junior Michael Bowlin has provided a big boost to the WSU kicking game, already recording seven touchbacks on kickoffs to surpass last year's total of one and is closing in on Nick Grasu's mark of 11 in 2010. Bowlin also owns seven punts of 50+ yards including a 69-yarder against Eastern Washington, a 60-yarder at UNLV and has put three punts inside the 20.
TUEL AMONG WSU'S ELITE PASSERS: Senior quarterback Jeff Tuel enters Saturday's game against Colorado in eighth place on WSU's career top-10 for completions with 369 and eighth in career passing yards (4,245) after throwing for 229 yards at BYU and 171 against Eastern Washington. The Fresno, Calif. native's two touchdown passes against Eastern Washington also put him in a tie for eighth for career touchdown passes with 27. His career completion percentage also improved to .612 (369/603, the best by any quarterback in WSU history, after completing 20-of-26 against Eastern Washington.
BUCANNON'S INT'S: Junior safety Deone Bucannon made his seventh career interception when he picked off Kyle Padron of Eastern Washington. Bucannon notched two picks as a freshman in 2010 before making three interceptions last season, at San Diego State, at Colorado and at Oregon.
RETURN GAME: The Washington State return game as already seen improvement from 2011 as punt returner Leon Brooks followed up a 17-yard return at BYU with a career best 29-yard return against Eastern Washington. Kick returner Teondray Caldwell has shown the ability to break one, starting the second half at BYU with a 63-yard return and posting an 18-yard return against Eastern Washington.
TALIULU IMPRESSIVE IN COUGAR DEBUTS: Freshman safety Taylor Taliulu showed little nerves while making his collegiate debut 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. The Aiea, Hawaii native followed that performance with by tying for a WSU game-high with seven tackles in the home opener against Eastern Washington.
WILSON PLACED ON PAIR OF PRESEASON ALL-AMERICA TEAMS: Junior wide receiver Marquess Wilson was named to CBSSports.com 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.