Nov. 3, 2008
PULLMAN, Wash. -
vs. Arizona Wildcats (5-3, 3-2)
November 8 - Martin Stadium
2 p.m. (PT)
SATURDAY'S MATCHUP: In their second-to-last home game of the season, the Washington State Cougars (1-8, 0-6 Pac-10) look to post their first conference win as they host the Arizona Wildcats (5-3, 3-2) on Dad's Weekend at Martin Stadium, Saturday at 2 p.m. For the second straight week the Cougars will not be on live television after the first eight contests were shown live either locally or regionally.
WSU-ARIZONA SERIES: Arizona holds a 22-13 advantage in the all-time series, although the Cougars have captured four of the last six games. The Wildcats earned a 48-20 victory last season in Tucson as quarterback Willie Tuitama threw for five touchdowns. The Wildcats hold an 8-4 edge when playing in Pullman, which includes a 27-17 victory in 2006, when WSU entered the game ranked No. 25 in the nation. Arizona has captured the last two games in the series after the Cougars had taken the previous four.
FIRST STARTS: Through the first nine weeks of the 2008 season, 24 WSU players have registered their first collegiate start, 16 on offense and eight on defense...WSU had six offensive players and three defensive players starting for the first time in the opener as quarterback Gary Rogers, wide receivers Jared Karstetter and Michael Willis, offensive linemen Steven Ayers and Brian Danaher, tight end Ben Woodard and defensive backs Romeo Pellum, Myron Beck and Tyrone Justin each made their first career starts...against California, three more Cougars made their first career starts: defensive tackle Adam Hineline and wide receivers Daniel Blackledge and Kevin Norrell...week three saw two more Cougars earn their first start as quarterback Kevin Lopina and running back Chantz Staden opened against Baylor...against Portland State offensive lineman Joe Eppele, linebacker Hallston Higgins and cornerback Markus Dawes joined the list of first-time starters...against Oregon quarterback Marshall Lobbestael and linebacker Louis Bland joined the list...at Oregon State freshman BJ Guerra started at right guard while tight end Tony Thompson earned his first start against USC...the 24 players include punter Dan Wagner and kickers Wade Penner and Nico Grasu.
LEVENSELLER MAKES NUMBER FIVE: True freshman quarterback J.T. Levenseller saw his first action of the season against Stanford, playing three series and completing 2 of 4 passes for 20 yards. Levenseller is the fifth Cougar quarterback to go under center this season, joining Gary Rogers, Kevin Lopina, Marshall Lobbestael and Dan Wagner. Rogers and Lobbestael have been lost to season-ending injuries while Lopina missed three games after suffering a fracture of the L-4 transverse process of his vertebrae against Portland State.
YOUTH IS SERVED: While the Cougars have had a number of first-time starters this season (24), they have also had an abundant number of underclassmen starting. Through the first nine games of the season, the Cougars have started 20 different underclassmen, 12 on offense and eight on defense, including punters and kickers. Five true freshmen have seen action this season: wide receivers Jared Karstetter and Kevin Norrell, linebackers Mike Ledgerwood and Louis Bland and safety Tyree Toomer.
SCORING STREAK ENDS: Following their loss to USC, the Cougars saw their 280-game scoring streak also come to an end. WSU held the nation's second-longest active scoring streak, dating back to early in the 1984 season, before being held scorless against the Trojans Oct. 18. WSU's streak marks the fourth-longest in NCAA Division I history, trailing only BYU (361), Michigan (296, active) and Texas (282). WSU also saw its conference-leading scoring streak end at 258 games as well as its 203-game Martin Stadium scoring streak.
NO TV FOR ARIZONA STATE: Next week's WSU-Arizona State game was not selected for television and has been set for a 3:30 p.m. local (2:30 p.m. PT) start time.
CLIMBING THE CHARTS: Senior linebacker Greg Trent had five tackles against USC and has a team-best 55 total tackles for the 2008 season. With his first tackle against Baylor, Trent became the 17th player in WSU history to record 250 tackles in a career. A four-year starter with 33 consecutive starts, Trent currently has 290 career tackles, which places him 10th on the all-time list.
INJURY BUG HITS COUGARS: Through the first nine games of the 2008 season, the Cougars have not been able to avoid the injury bug on either side of the ball...23 of WSU's 43 players to start a game in 2008 have combined to miss 47 games this season due to injuries...that includes an injury-riddled offensive line, which has used six different lineups, and eight different starting players, through the first nine games. WSU has also used three different starting quarterbacks, three running backs, four cornernbacks and two punters.
THOMPSON-LEVENSELLER CONNECTION, PART II: Freshman quarterback J.T. Levenseller's first pass completion of his career went to tight end Tony Thompson in the second quarter last Saturday against Stanford. If the Thompson-Levenseller connection sounds familiar to Cougar fans, it should. Tony's father is legendary Cougar quarterback Jack Thompson while J.T.'s dad is Mike Levenseller, current WSU assistant coach and one of WSU's all-time best receivers. The original Thompson-Levenseller duo connected 97 times from 1975-77 and the pair remains close to this day, so much so that J.T., whose real name is Michael Jack Thomas Levenseller, was named after the elder Thompson.
LOBBESTAEL LOST FOR SEASON: Cougar redshirt freshman quarterback Marshall Lobbestael suffered a torn ACL and torn MCL in his left knee during the Cougars' game at Oregon State last month, and will miss the remainder of the season. Lobbestael was injured during the fourth quarter at Oregon State and did not return. Initially diagnosed as an MCL tear, further tests revealed both the ACL and MCL were torn. Lobbestael's recovery is expected to take approximately nine months. Lobbestael is the second starting quarterback this season to suffer a season-ending injury, as Gary Rogers suffered a stable cervical spine fracture that was non surgical against Portland State.
WHO'S YOUR DRADDY: Senior offensive lineman Vaughn Lesuma was named a semifinalist for the Draddy Trophy, the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame recently announced...the Draddy Trophy recognizes the best and brightest in college football, as nominees must have at least a 3.2 GPA, must be a first team player or significant contributor and must demonstrate strong leadership and citizenship...former WSU quarterback Alex Brink was a finalist for the award in 2007.
ROBERTS ADDED TO TEAM: Following an open tryout three weeks ago at Rogers Field, WSU Head Coach Paul Wulff announced freshman quarterback Peter Roberts has been added to the Cougar football team. "He's a very smart kid," Wulff said. "All we're asking him to do is help our scout team and help our defense. He's got some athletic ability and he's played quarterback." Roberts, a 6-foot-1, 190-pound Woodinville, Wash., native, was a three-year letterwinner in football at Woodinville High School, earning second-team All-KingCo honors as a senior.
BACK-TO-BACK SHUTOUTS: The last time WSU was shut out in back-to-back games was in 1969...the Cougars were shutout by 18th-ranked Stanford (49-0, Oct. 18) and California (17-0, Oct. 25)...WSU's 280-game scoring streak, the fourth longest Football Bowl Division streak all-time, was snapped two weeks ago against USC.