Nov. 9, 2009
PULLMAN, Wash. -
UCLA Bruins (4-5, 1-5)
Martin Stadium Pullman, Wash. November 14
2 p.m. TV: Fox College Sports, FSN Northwest
Radio: Cougar Sports Radio Network
SATURDAY'S GAME: Washington State (1-8, 0-6) returns to Martin Stadium following a 35-day stretch between home games when it hosts the UCLA Bruins (4-5, 1-5) at 2 p.m. The game is part of Dad's Weekend on the WSU campus and marks the first home game since Oct. 10. The contest will be televised live by Fox College Sports and then rebroadcast by FSN Northwest Saturday at 7 p.m. The broadcast crew includes Steve Physioc (play-by-play), Yogi Roth (analyst) and Samantha Steele (sideline).
WASHINGTON STATE vs. UCLA - THE SERIES: The Cougars and Bruins have squared off 55 times since the first meeting in 1928, with the Cougars trailing in the series 18-36-1. WSU is 8-9-1 when playing in Pullman, including a 27-7 victory during the 2007 season. In that game Dwight Tardy rushed for a career-best 214 yards, tied for the ninth-best single-game effort in school history. WSU has won two of the last three meetings between the two schools - five of the last six when playing in Pullman - and six of the last eight overall.
THREE COUGARS NAMED TO ALL-ACADEMIC TEAM: Washington State University football student-athletes Casey Hamlett, Micah Hannam and Chima Nwachukwu were named to the ESPN The Magazine 2009 Academic All-District VIII First Team as selected by CoSIDA. It marks the third-straight season Hannam, a civil engineering major with a 3.59 GPA, has been honored. He was named first team in 2008 and second team in 2007. Hamlett, a management and operations major with a 3.72 GPA, and Nwachukwu, a politcal science major carrying a 3.79 GPA, were honored for the first time. The Pacific-10 Conference placed eight individuals on the first team, with WSU placing a conference-best three players on the list, while Stanford and California each had two. Since the start of the 2002 season, Washington State has placed 14 student-athletes on the CoSIDA Academic All-District VIII teams, the most by any school in the conference.
COUGARS, JACK THOMPSON AND WORLD VISION JOIN FOR TSUNAMI RELIEF: Prior to Saturday's home game against UCLA, Cougar great Jack Thompson, World Vision and WSU students will be collecting cash donations to raise funds for American Samoa Tsunami Relief. Thompson and others are urging fans to "Fill the Helmet" to help traumatized children and families receive much-needed supplies for recovery and rebuilding. Fans wishing to donate can do so outside gates at Martin Stadium, or donations can be made online at www.worldvision.org/respond.
COUGARS ON DAD'S WEEKEND: Starting with the first Dad's Weekend contest in 1930, a 61-0 victory over Montana, the Cougars are 34-36-5 in the the yearly game. The last time WSU faced UCLA on Dad's Weekend, the 16th-ranked Cougars came away with a 20-14 upset win over the ninth-ranked Bruins in 2001.
NWACHUKWU A WUERFFEL TROPHY SEMIFINALIST: WSU junior safety Chima Nwachukwu has been named a semifinalist for the Wuerffel Trophy, honoring the college football player who best combines exemplary community service with outstanding academic and athletic achievement. Nwachukwu carries a 3.79 GPA in the classroom and started the first eight games this season before an ankle injury against Notre Dame kept him out of the Arizona contest. In the community Nwachukwu volunteers his time with numerous activities in Pullman and serves as WSU's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee president.
FRESHMAN STARTERS REACH DECADE HIGH: Through the first nine games of the 2009 season, the Cougars have started 12 different freshmen, more than any other full season in at least the last decade. The previous known high was 11 in 1999. Five have been true freshmen, also the highest known total since at least 1997.
FIRST STARTS: Continuing a trend from 2008, WSU has had a number of players make their starting debuts in 2009. This season 21 Cougars have made their first career starts, seven on offense and 14 on defense. In 2008, 26 players registered their first start for WSU, 17 on offense and nine on defense.
LINEUP SHUFFLE: Through the first nine games of the 2009 season, the Cougar coaching staff continues to search for continuity within its starting lineup. Midway through the campaign, injuries have forced the Cougars to use seven different starting lineups in its offensive live, eight different starting lineups on offense and seven different starting units on defense. There has yet to be two games this year where WSU has used the same starting offense and defense.
ARIZONA NOTABLES: Redshirt freshman safety Jay Matthews and true freshman fullback Jared Byers recorded their first-career starts against Arizona, becoming the 20th and 21st Cougars to make their starting debuts in 2009...with his four receptions for 16 yards, freshman wide receiver Gino Simone has now caught a pass in each of his eight games played in his debut season...senior linebacker Andy Mattingly's 11 tackles were a season high, and the most since also recording 11 against Oregon State in 2008....redshirt senior safety Xavier Hicks recorded 12 tackles against Arizona, his third-consecutive game with 10-or-more tackles...sophomore wide receiver Jared Karstetter's 64-yard touchdown catch was his sixth of the season, the most since Brandon Gibson caught nine in 2007.
FOUR COUGARS RECEIVE MIDSEASON RECOGNITION: Four Cougars were included on Phil Steele's Midseason All-Pacific-10 Conference list. Redshirt junior punter Reid Forrest was named to the first team, redshirt senior center Kenny Alfred was named to the second team and freshman defensive end Travis Long and junior safety Chima Nwachukwu were each named to the third team.
PUTTING IN TIME: Looking at the 2009 WSU roster reveals few names who have been in the program more than two years. Of the 114 players currently on the Cougar roster, only 37 have been a member of the team more than two years. That includes only six current fifth-year seniors and 15 total players who have earned more than one varsity letter. Compare that to the success of WSU during the 2002 and 2003 season, when the Cougars had 28 and 24 players, respectively, with multiple varsity letter winners.
INJURIES TAKING A TOLL: Through the first nine games of the 2009 season, the Cougars have been hit hard by the injury bug, particularly on the offensive and defensive lines. So far this season WSU has missed 73 player games due to injury or illness. On the offensive line five players who have started this season have 17 missed games due to injury, while the defensive line has missed a total of 16 games from five players.
TURPIN HAS BIG GAME: Redshirt junior defensive tackle Toby Turpin blocked his second kick in as many weeks, this time a PAT in the first quarter against Notre Dame. Turpin also blocked a field goal attempt against California. The last Cougar to block a PAT was also Turpin, against Stanford in 2008. The last time a Cougar player had multiple blocks in the same season was in 2004, when both Cody Boyd (three) and Erik Coleman (two) did it.
PUNT FORREST, PUNT: Junior Reid Forrest continues to be a bright spot for the Cougars' special teams. So far this season he is averaging 43.6 yards per kick, with a career-best 65-yarder against USC. He has 13 punts this season over 50 yards, including four over 60. Forrest has moved into WSU's all-time list for both career punts and career punting yards. His 7,873 career punting yards rank fifth on the Cougars' career list while his 188 punts are sixth.
TURNOVERS WAY DOWN FROM 2008: The Cougars have a turnover margin of -4 in 2009. Through the first nine games of 2008, WSU had a turnover margin of minus-20. Against both Stanford and California this season the Cougars have played turnover-free, something they did not accomplish at any point during 2008.