Sept. 22, 2003
WHO: #21/21 WSU Cougars (3-1 overall, 0-0 Pac-10) vs. #10/15 Oregon Ducks (4-0 overall, 1-0 Pac-10)
WHAT: 2003 Pacific-10 Conference Football
WHEN: Saturday, Sept. 27; Kickoff 12:30 p.m. PDT
WHERE: Autzen Stadium (54,000, Field Turf), Eugene, Ore.
TV: Live ABC Sports, WSU replay by FOX Sports Northwest Sunday, Sept. 28, 9:30 a.m.
THE COACHES: WSU - Bill Doba (Ball State '62) is in his first season as WSU's head coach (3-1) and in his first season as a college head coach (3-1). OREGON - The Ducks are coached by Mike Bellotti (California-Davis '73), who has a 71-29-0 record in nine years at Oregon and a 92-54-2 career record in 14 years.
WSU VS. OREGON: Saturday's match-up between the WSU Cougars and Oregon Ducks is the 81st contest between the two long-time conference rivals...Oregon has won 37 times, WSU 36, with seven games ending in ties...the series is one of WSU's oldest, starting in 1901 with a 16-0 Cougar victory...Oregon has had the upper hand of late, winning four of the last five games...last year WSU prevailed 32-21 in Pullman...prior to Oregon's four-game win streak WSU took three of four games...Mike Bellotti 5-3 against WSU.
COUGARS RETURN TO THE POLLS: Washington State returned to the national football polls Sept. 21 after a 47-26 win over #17 Colorado...this week the Cougars are 21st in both the USA Today/ESPN coaches poll and the Associated Press media poll...over the course of the 2001 and 2002 seasons, the Cougars were ranked a school record 28 straight weeks...WSU, however, was not ranked in the 2003 pre-season poll or opening two regular season polls.
WSU-OREGON TV: WSU's upcoming football game at Oregon Sept. 27 has been selected by ABC Sports to be shown regionally on the West Coast...WSU graduate Keith Jackson will call the play by play, along with Dan Fouts and Todd Harris.
MISC. GAME NOTES:
DAVID NOW SIXTH IN INTERCEPTIONS: Jason picked off the 11th pass of his career at Colorado and returned it 41 yards for a touchdown...David is now tied for sixth in career interceptions with Don Paul, 1946-49, and Torey Hunter, 1991-94...his 215 return yards is fourth on the list, leaving him 16 yards short of Rick Reed's record of 231 return yards...in addition, David has tied the WSU career record with his two TD returns...Bill Gaskins, 1963-65, Billy Newman, 1998-01, and current teammate Erik Coleman also have two interception returns for scores.
COUGS 23-6 IN LAST THREE SEASONS: Since the start of the 2001 season, WSU has won 23 of 29 games...in the 1929-1930-1931 seasons WSU went 21-3, including 10-2 (1929) and 9-1 (1930) seasons...WSU is currently seventh among D-I teams the past three years: Miami 28-1, Oklahoma 27-4, Ohio State 25-5, Texas 24-5, Georgia 24-6, Marshall 24-6, WSU 23-6, Boise State 22-6, Maryland 23-7, Tennessee 22-7, Oregon 22-7, Iowa 22-7.
WSU WINS WHEN SCORING IN THE THIRD: WSU has captured 21 straight victories when scoring in the third quarter...the last time WSU scored in the third quarter and did not win was the 2000 Apple Cup setback...conversely, the Cougars are 2-6 since the Apple Cup game when they did not score in the third quarter...the string is 17 straight wins when WSU has scored a touchdown in the third quarter.
COUGS RUN 86 PLAYS: WSU ran 86 offensive plays against New Mexico, 44 rushing and 42 passing...the last time WSU ran that many plays was in a 35-34 triple overtime win over Arizona in 1997 (also 86 plays)...the last time WSU had that many plays in a non-overtime game was against Montana in 1995, when the Cougars also had 86 plays.
KEGEL STARTS OFF SHARP: Matt Kegel was especially sharp at the start of WSU's game with New Mexico, connecting on his first 11 passes for 129 yards in the first quarter...during the stretch one pass was ruled incomplete, but UNM was flagged for pass interference on the play...WSU drove to the Lobo 20 on its first possession, with Kegel hitting five passes for 29 yards...on its next possession, WSU drove to the UNM 19 with Kegel hitting six passes for 98 yards before a pair of throws to Sammy Moore fell incomplete, resulting in Drew Dunning's second field goal...in all, Kegel was 12-for-15 for 151 yards in the first quarter of the WSU-UNM game.
SIX GAMES, SIX STADIUMS: WSU will play at Oregon's Autzen Stadium Saturday, the sixth straight game the Cougars have played in a different stadium...last year WSU ended the year playing Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl, while this year WSU has already played four games in four different stadiums...Oregon this week will be the sixth straight game in a different stadium.
DOBA TURNS TO COUGARS FOR ASSISTANTS: When Bill Doba began assembling his new staff last December after taking over for Mike Price, he turned to three former Cougar players, a former head coach he worked for, and a Pac-10 offensive coordinator...four of the new coaches Doba brought to WSU have served as coordinators...his staff now includes five former Cougar players, equaling the most graduates on any D-1 staff...here is a quick rundown:
1. Robb Akey, DC/line, joined WSU 1998, Weber State '88, came to WSU from N. Arizona, where he was DC;
2. Leon Burtnett, linebackers, joined WSU 2003, former Purdue head coach (1982-86) and an assistant for Indianapolis Colts, also on WSU staff 1971, DC at Wyoming, Purdue, Fresno State, Northern Louisiana, Arkansas State;
3. Ken Greene, secondary, joined WSU 2003, Washington State '77, came to WSU from Purdue, played professionally with St. Louis Cardinals and San Diego Chargers;
4. Mike Levenseller, OC/Receivers, joined WSU in 1992, Washington State '78, played professionally with Oakland, Buffalo, Tampa Bay, Cincinnati, Edmonton and Calgary;
5. Robin Pflugrad, tight ends/RC, joined WSU 2001, Portland State '80; came to WSU from N. Arizona, where he was OC;
6. Timm Rosenbach, quarterbacks, joined WSU 2003, Washington State '88; came from E. Washington, where he was OC, played professionally with Phoenix, New Orleans and Hamilton;
7. Kelly Skipper, running backs, joined WSU 2003, Fresno State '89, came to WSU from UCLA, where he was OC;
8. Mike Walker, defensive line, joined WSU 1997, Washington State '82, played professionally with Hamilton and Edmonton;
9. George Yarno, offensive line, joined WSU 2003, Washington State '79, also a WSU assistant 1991-94, OC at Idaho, 19956-97, played professionally with Tampa Bay, Atlanta, Houston and Green Bay.
SUCCESS ON THE ROAD: WSU has won eight of its last nine Pac-10 road games...WSU closed out the end of the 2000 season with a win at USC...in 2001 the Cougars defeated Arizona, Stanford and ASU on the road before a loss at Washington, while in 2002 WSU defeated California, Stanford, Arizona and UCLA in Pac-10 action.
TURNER CATCHING ATTENTION: Don Turner, a cornerback out of Spokane's (Wash.) University High, is catching some attention after picking off passes in his first two Cougar games...the redshirt-freshman had an interception against Idaho, then came back with another pick deep in Cougar territory against Notre Dame...at Colorado Turner was credited with three tackles, including one TFL...he was a standout wide receiver and defensive back in high school.
SCORING STREAKS: WSU currently has three significant scoring streaks on the line:
COUGS IN THE POLLS: Washington State, during the course of the 2001 and 2002 seasons, was ranked for 28 straight weeks, the longest continous stint in the polls for WSU...after finishing 10th in both polls at the close of the 2002 season, WSU was not ranked at the start of the 2003 campaign.
COUGS 10-WIN SEASONS AMONG BEST: WSU is the only Pac-10 school with three 10-win seasons in the last 10 years (actually accomplished in the last six years)...WSU was 10-2 in 1997, 10-2 in 2001 and 10-3 in 2002...in the last six years WSU has made appearances in two Rose Bowls, 1998 and 2003...UCLA is the only other Pac-10 team with two Rose Bowl appearances in the last 10 years...WSU and Washington (1981-82-84) are the only Pac-10 teams to ever post three 10-win seasons in a six-year span.
BACK-TO-BACK 10-WIN SEASONS RARE IN PAC-10: WSU is one of just five Pac-10 teams to post back-to-back 10-win seasons since the 10-team league was formed: WSU 2001-02, Oregon 2000-01, UCLA twice, 1997-98 and 1987-88, Washington twice, 1990-91 and 1981-82, and USC, 1978-79.
COUG DEFENSE HALTS RUSHING TDs: WSU opponents have not had much success rushing for touchdowns against the Cougars this year...WSU has allowed eight passing scores and only one rushing touchdown...Notre Dame scored the only rushing TD of the season against WSU on a 19-yard run in the fourth quarter.
BROWN, ACHOLONU AMONG TFL/SACK LEADERS: WSU's senior defensive ends, Isaac Brown and D.D. Acholonu, both rank among the leaders at WSU in both tackles-for-losses and in sacks, and in yardage lost for both categories...while Brown started throughout the 2002 season, Acholonu started his first game against Idaho earlier this year.
COUGS RETURN NINE PAC-10 ALL-STARS: WSU and Oregon both return nine members of last year's All-Pacific-10 teams (first/second team and honorable mention), while USC returns eight and UCLA seven...WSU's returnees include first team pick Calvin Armstrong and honorable mention honorees Kyle Basler, Eric Coleman, Isaac Brown, Devard Darling, Jason David, Drew Dunning, Jermaine Green and Jeremey Williams.
COUGAR SPECIAL TEAMS HOT: College Football News predicted WSU has the fifth best special team units in college football...they base their prediction on the basis of kicker Drew Dunning, punter Kyle Basler and return specialist Sammy Moore...so far this season WSU's special team units have lived up to the billing...Basler is averaging 44.8 yards per punt (13th nationally) and has dumped seven of his 23 kicks inside the 20 yard line...his long this year is a career best 62 yards...Dunning has hit 13 of 14 field goals (1st nationally) and has scored 47 points in four games...Moore is also off to a great start, averaging 33.7 yards per kickoff return (6th nationally) and 6.4 yards on punt returns...he also has a 97-yard kickoff return for a TD to his credit, along with three receiving touchdowns.
O-LINE AVERAGES 307: The projected starters on WSU's offensive line weigh a combined 1,537 pounds and average 307 pounds...four of the starters weigh in at over 300 pounds...OLG Josh Parrish leads the way at 324 pounds, while ORT Sam Lightbody, at 6-9, is right behind him at 319 pounds...next is ORG Riley Fitt Chappell at 314, followed by OLT Calvin Armstrong at 311...the lightweight on the line is C Mike Shelford at 269.
WSU STAYING AHEAD: Last year WSU came from behind in 10 of 13 games...this year WSU came from behind to beat New Mexico and tie Notre Dame, losing in overtime.
PAC-10 HONORS COUGARS: Three Washington State football players have been honored by the Pacific-10 Conference this year with Player-of-the-Week honors:
CALL THE COUGARS EXPERIENCED: True, the Cougars lost some marquee players off last year's Rose Bowl team, including QB Jason Gesser, CB Marcus Trufant and DL/Outland winner Rien Long...but WSU is anything short of experienced talent this year.
COUGS COME BACK FROM HALFTIME DEFICIT: Washington State bounced back from a 13-12 halftime deficit against New Mexico last week to pull out a 23-13 win...after giving up 179 yards to UNM in the first half, including 124 in two second quarter drives, the Cougar defense shut down the Lobos, limiting them to 78 yards in the second half...trailing at halftime was new for the Cougars...WSU had not trailed at halftime of a regular season game since Arizona led 10-5 last year...the last time WSU trailed at the intermission during a regular season non-conference game was in 1999 against Utah, when the Cougars were behind 6-0 and eventually lost 27-7...the last time WSU trailed at halftime of a home game was against Oregon 7-3 in 2001.
DUNNING SETS RECORD: Senior Drew Dunning set a WSU record with five field goals against New Mexico, hitting from 37-36-23-21-49 yards...Dunning set a WSU record for kickers with 101 points in 2001 and then broke his own record with 113 points last year...this year he is really on a tear...he currently is the national leader with 13 field goals in 14 attempts (9.29%)...against Idaho he had four field goals from 46-42-29-35 yards...he had two field goals at Notre Dame and two at Colorado...he now ranks second in career scoring with 269 points...Dunning needs 60 points to pass school record holder Jason Hanson, now a 12-year NFL veteran with Detroit.