Nov. 5, 2012
WASHINGTON STATE HOSTS NO. 17 UCLA SATURDAY NIGHT: Washington State University returns to Martin Stadium Saturday to host No. 17 UCLA at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN2.
NEXT WEEK: WSU hits the road for the final time next Saturday, heading to Tempe, Ariz. to take on Arizona State University. Kickoff and television information will be announced Sunday, Nov. 11.
UCLA-WSU SERIES HISTORY: The Cougars and Bruins have squared off 58 times since the first meeting in 1928, with the Cougars trailing in the series 18-39-1. WSU is 8-10-1 when playing in Pullman following a 43-7 defeat in 2009, UCLA's last trip to the Palouse. WSU has won six of the last nine meetings against the Bruins when playing in Pullman.
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 128th 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.
DEFENSE RACKING UP THE SACKS: The Washington State defense tallied three more sacks at Utah to enter the week tied for sixth in the Pac-12 Conference and tied for No. 20 in the country with 24 sacks. Following a year in which the Cougars recorded 17 all of the season, the switch to a 3-4 defense has seen more linebackers in the backfield as 18 of the 24 sacks have come from linebackers. The Cougars have also racked up 65 tackles-for-loss, fifth-most in the Pac-12 and tied for No. 22 nationally.
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 3,207, good for No. 9 all-time in conference history and second among the country's active receivers.
LONG LEADING THE WAY: Senior Travis Long tallied 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 followed with 2.5 sacks against Colorado and one at Oregon State. He enters the week fourth in the Pac-12 Conference with 7.5 sacks, already surpassing his four from a season ago. His now owns 18.5 sacks in his career, placing him in seventh on WSU's top-10 for career sacks. Long's team-leading 10.0 tackles-for-loss puts his career total at 39, good for fifth on WSU's career top-10.
TUEL AMONG WSU'S ELITE PASSERS: Senior quarterback Jeff Tuel enters Saturday's game against UCLA fifth on WSU's career top-10 for completions (478) and seventh in passing yards (5,388). The Fresno, Calif. native's touchdown pass at Utah pushed his career touchdown pass mark to 33, also seventh-most in WSU history. Tuel completed a school-record 42 passes in 59 attempts at Stanford and currently owns a career completion percentage of .612 (478/781), the best by any quarterback in WSU history.
FURNEY GOES LONG DISTANCE: Junior kicker Andrew Furney has provided a couple highlights for the Cougars this season, hitting a pair of 40+ yard field goals (47, 41) at BYU, closing the half against Eastern Washington with a 60-yard field goal and hitting another pair of 40+ yard field goals against Colorado (45, 42). Furney's 60-yarder was the second longest in WSU history behind Jason Hanson's 62-yard kick 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 Burlington, Wash. native enters the week with the seventh-most made field goals in WSU history with 28.
NEW FACES MAKING AN IMPACT: Washington State has seen a number of new faces on the field in 2012. First-year Cougars making an impact are led by junior nose tackle Ioane Gauta who has started all nine games, made 12 stops including 6.5 tackles-for-loss, one sack and added an interception. 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 Brett Bartolone and Gabe Marks each own 42 and 38 receptions, respectively, with Marks posting his first two career 100-yard performances at UNLV and against Colorado while Bartolone recorded nine catches for 87 yards and a touchdown against Oregon and two more touchdowns against California. Freshman running back Teondray Caldwell is third in the Pac-12 in kickoff return average at 26.8, already owning a 63-yard return at BYU, a 54-yarder against Colorado and a 92-yarder against Oregon.
MONROE MAKING HIS MARK: Redshirt-freshman linebacker Darryl Monroe has produced for the Cougars while starting at MIKE linebacker in all nine games this season. Monroe is second on the team with 60 tackles, has forced two fumbles, recovered one and made three sacks. 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 then followed with 401 yards and four touchdown passes against Colorado. It was the first time a WSU quarterback has 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 threw for 348 yards against No. 2 Oregon and now owns four 300-yard performances, two 400-yard games and three four-touchdown performances after passing for 494 yards and four scores against Arizona State last season.
BUCANNON'S INT'S: Junior safety Deone Bucannon made his ninth career interception against Oregon State and enters the game against UCLA tied for third in the Pac-12 Conference with four this season. Bucannon picked off two passes against Oregon to post the first multiple-interception game by a Cougar since Xavier Hicks at Oregon State in 2008. Bucannon notched two picks as a freshman in 2010 before making three interceptions last season, at San Diego State, at Colorado and at Oregon.
BOWLIN BLASTS AWAY: Redshirt-junior Michael Bowlin has provided a big boost to the WSU kicking game, already recording 14 touchbacks on kickoffs to surpass last year's total of one and Nick Grasu's mark of 11 in 2010. Bowlin's mark is the most since Loren Langley and Romeen Abdollmohammadi combined for 14 touchbacks in 2006 and Graham Siderius recorded 18 in 2005. Bowlin also owns 13 punts of 50+ yards including a 69-yarder against Eastern Washington, a 60-yarder at UNLV, one for 65 yards against Oregon and has put eight punts inside the 20.
SPECIAL TEAMS IMPROVES: The Washington State return game as already seen improvement from 2011 kick returner Teondray Caldwell headlines the Cougars No. 33 nationally ranked return team with a 24.0 average. Caldwell owns kick returns of 63 yards at BYU, a 54-yarder against Colorado and nearly took one to house against No. 2 Oregon, going for 92 yards. The punt return team owns the No. 55 best return average in the country with Leon Brooks averaging 10.6 yards-per-return, more than three times the average last season. Brooks made a career-best 29-yard return against Eastern Washington earlier this season. Additionally, the kickoff coverage team is No. 66 in the country, allowing 21.6 per return, a big improvement from last year's coverage team that ranked No. 99 at 23.7 yards-per-return.
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 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.