Oct. 18, 2004
The Washington State Cougars, 3-3 overall and 1-2 in Pacific-10 Conference play, are focused on just one game this week, Saturday's upcoming league contest at Oregon State. The 1:00 p.m. game will not be televised.
The Beavers are 2-4 overall and also 1-2 in Pac-10 action after beating Washington 29-14 last week. The Cougars, meanwhile, learned Monday they will play the remaining five games of the season without starting quarterback Josh Swogger, who is sidelined with a broken navicular bone in his right foot.
Alex Brink, a red-shirt freshman who has played against Colorado and Idaho and is the holder for placement kicks, will replace Swogger.
The Cougars are coming off a 23-17 loss to Stanford despite a solid offensive performance. WSU rushed for 180 yards and finished the evening contest with 437 yards in total offense. Stanford held a 20-3 lead after three quarters, then held off WSU's fourth-quarter challenge that included Jerome Harrison's 10-yard scoring run and a Swogger to Jason Hill touchdown pass covering 30 yards.
WSU and the Beavers will play the 89th game in the long-standing series that began in 1903 with a 6-0 OSU win. Since 1976 WSU has been victorious 19 times while losing four times, with one tie. Included was a 10-game win streak, 1983-93. More recently, WSU has won four of the last six, including 34-27 at home in 2001 and 36-30 last year, also in Pullman.
A pair of Cougars currently rank first in the Pac-10 Conference. Kyle Basler is averaging a league-leading 45.1 yards per punt, while Scott Davis has recovered three fumbles and forced three fumbles, both the best in the league. Michael Bumpus is currently averaging 11.7 yards and is second in the league in punt returns. Bumpus moved into seventh on WSU's one-season punt return list and is the freshman record holder, currently with 270 return yards.
Jason Hill, who now ranks tied for sixth in single-season receiving touchdowns with nine, is second in the Pac-10 in scoring and scoring touchdowns. He needs two more touchdown receptions to equal the WSU record of 11.
In the last four games, WSU's offensive line has allowed just two sacks, one by Arizona and one by Stanford. A second pass attempt against Stanford was ruled intentional grounding, which is recorded as a sack. In the first two games WSU allowed 13 sacks.
USC GAME 4:00 p.m.: Washington State's next home game will be Oct. 30 against the league-leading USC Trojans...ABC sports will be on hand to televise the game, beginning at 4:00 p.m.
WSU SELLS OUT FINAL TWO GAMES: All available tickets for WSU's remaining two games, USC and Washington (except less than 25 donor seats as of Tuesday), have been sold, reports Dan Meyer, WSU's director of ticket operations. The only tickets that could become available will be from opponents who have the option to turn back tickets they hold.
2004 CAPTAINS: WSU - QB Josh Swogger (9), OL Sam Lightbody (75), FS Hamza Abdullah (28), LB Will Derting (51), P Kyle Basler (8). OREGON STATE: LB Jonathan Pollard (40, DE Bill Swancutt (90) and QB Derek Anderson (14), plus one game captain.
HILL PICKS UP THIRD 100-YARD GAME: Sophomore Jason Hill is having a banner season with 22 receptions for 598 yards...included are three games of 100 or more receiving yards, including five catches for 115 yards and one touchdown against Stanford...at his current average, he could be WSU's sixth receiver to go over 1,000 yards and with a couple more big games, he could challenge the WSU record of 1,163 receiving yards set by Nakoa McElrath in 2001.
COUGS GO CRIMSON AND GRAY: For the first time since WSU's new uniforms were introduced in 2000, the Cougars wore a crimson top and gray pants last week against Stanford.
ABDULLAH PICKS OFF FIRST PASS: Senior Hamza Abdullah, who has played in 34 games as a Cougar, picked off the first pass of his career when he stepped in front of a Stanford pass last week...the interception came at the Cardinal six yard line...Abdullah broke into the starting lineup this year and has made 36 tackles...his best game came against Oregon when he made 14 tackles, including 11 solos, shared a TFL and caused two fumbles.
THE COUGS AND THE BEAVERS: The home team has won each of the last three games between WSU and Oregon State...WSU won in 2001 and 2003 in Pullman and OSU won the 2000 game in Corvallis...the two teams did not play in 2002.
WSU MAKING RARE CORVALLIS VISIT: WSU and Oregon State did not play each other for three years, 1997, 1998 and 2002...the end result is WSU has only played in Corvallis once over the past seven years...in 2000 OSU won 38-9...since 1977, the Cougars have won eight of 10 games played in Corvallis...no member of the Cougar team has played at Reser Stadium on the OSU campus.
AIR BATTLE EXPECTED: Saturday's match-up between WSU and Oregon State will match two of the Pacific-10 Conference's best passing teams...OSU currently ranks first, averaging 299.5 yards per game, while the Cougars are third in passing, averaging 270.0 yards per game...OSU is ranked seventh nationally and WSU 19th...when it comes to running the ball, the Cougars have the edge, averaging 113.82 yards per outing, almost 40 yards more than the Beavers' 73.2 yard average...when it comes to total offense, the two teams are neck and neck, with WSU sixth and Oregon State seventh in the league...WSU averages 383.8 yards, the Beavers 372.7.
COMMON THREAD: In addition to their Land Grant connections, WSU and OSU have a common thread in the coaching ranks...current San Francisco 49er head coach Dennis Erickson spent two years on the Palouse and guided WSU to the 1988 Aloha Bowl...Erickson later spent four seasons at Oregon State, 1999-2002.
DOBA'S TEAMS SHUT DOWN FOES: Bill Doba has been WSU's head coach for 19 games and he has won 13 times...in those 19 games, his Cougar teams have held the opponents without a TD in the first half nine times...in 2003 WSU blanked Idaho, Arizona and Stanford in the first half and held Notre Dame to a field goal, Oregon to a safety and UCLA to a pair of field goals...this year New Mexico didn't score until the third quarter, Colorado had one first half field goal, Idaho was shutout until the fourth quarter, Arizona and Stanford each had one first half touchdown and Oregon two TDs.
TOP DOESN'T MEAN WINS: If recent WSU games are an indication, winning the battle of the clock (time of possession) doesn't always mean a win...the winning team in four of WSU's last six games did not win the TOP...this year Arizona lost and led 34:29-25:21, Idaho lost and led 33:13-26:47, Colorado won and trailed 32:18-27:42 and New Mexico lost and led 30:27-29:33...Oregon and Stanford each won the TOP battle and beat WSU this year.
COUGS WIN AT NIGHT: WSU has now won seven of its last eight night games...in 2001 WSU beat Idaho, Boise State, Arizona and Montana State, while in 2002 they downed Arizona under the lights...there were no night games in 2003, but earlier this season WSU beat New Mexico and Idaho in night games, before the seven-game win streak ended against Stanford.
WSU ADDS HOLLYWOOD DRAMA TO FOOTBALL: The WSU Cougars are making a habit of late-game wins and losses...the outcome in three of WSU's five games this year have been determined in the final 15 minutes of play...two of those contests, Arizona and New Mexico, were won by the Cougars, while the Oregon game ended up in the losing column after the Ducks rallied for 27 points in the fourth quarter...last week Stanford held off WSU after the Cougars scored 14 fourth-quarter points in the first three minutes of the final quarter...since 1969, WSU has won 28 games by coming from behind in the final quarter...opponents have won 38 times by overcoming WSU leads in the fourth quarter...WSU came from behind twice in 2004, 2002, 1997, 1992 and 1988...interestingly, the Cougars also earned a bowl berth in 1988, 1992, 1997 and 2002...on the flip side, the Cougars lost three times in 2000 and 1985, twice in 2003, 1995, 1990, 1989 and 1988.
PENALTIES DOWN: Through five games, WSU has 40 (6.7) penalties for 321 (53.5) yards, including just one against Idaho and four against Oregon...the last time WSU had one penalty was 1986 against Arizona...opponents have 49 (8.2) penalties for 384 (64.0) yards this year...last year WSU averaged 11.5 penalties per game and 94.6 yards per game.
BIENEMANN RETURNS: Junior Troy Bienemann returned to action against Stanford after suffering a severe leg bruise at Arizona...he didn't play tight end against Oregon, although he did snap for one late-game punt...against Stanford he caught three passes for 25 yards...he has three or more receptions in each game except Oregon.
HARRISON, THOMPSON AVERAGE 5+ YARDS: This season junior transfer Jerome Harrison is averaging 5.1 yards per carry and junior Allen Thompson averages 5.6 yards per attempt, while senior Chris Bruhn is sporting a 3.8 yard average...the Cougar running backs have gained 764 yards and are averaging 4.63 yards per rushing attempt when quarterback sacks are taken out of the mix.
BALANCED OFFENSE: The Cougars have a reputation of being a passing team, but over the past 11 years have actually run the ball more times than they have thrown...in 11 years WSU has run 4,835 rushing plays (50.3%), 4,779 passing plays...in 2003 WSU rushed the ball 484 times (50.3%) and threw 478 passes...so far this year in five games WSU has run 214 times and passed 220 times.
MULTIPLE RECEIVERS: The Cougars like to use numerous receivers...eight players caught passes against Arizona, seven had receptions against New Mexico and Idaho and six caught passes against Colorado, Oregon and Stanford...last year at least seven WSU players caught passes in each of the Cougars' first nine games and in 10 of the 13 games.
Calvin Armstrong TO MAKE 40TH START: Senior Calvin Armstrong, who was named to the All-Pacific-10 Conference first team as a sophomore, will be making his 40th career start for the Cougars Saturday at Oregon State...he is coming off one of his best games of the season, grading out at 90% against Stanford last week...he was named WSU's Pac-10 Conference offensive player of the week nominee...Armstrong, from Centralia High, has played in 43 career games.
COUGS AVERAGE 54 PLAYERS/GAME: WSU's participation summary shows about 54 Cougar players see action in each game...against Idaho, 69 players saw action, while only 51 played against Oregon...here's the game-by-game summary: New Mexico 55, Colorado 56, Idaho 69, Arizona 53, Oregon 51, Stanford 53.
WSU JUMPS TO EARLY LEADS: WSU has outscored opponents this year 38-20 in the first quarter and is tied 17-17 in the second quarter, resulting in a 55-37 advantage in the first half...Colorado, with an early field goal, is the only team to score first on WSU this season...Arizona, Oregon and Stanford are the only teams to dent WSU's end zone in the first half...in 2003 WSU outscored opponents 123-25 in the first quarter and 218-104 in the first half...WSU held a 95-79 second quarter scoring advantage, a 84-67 lead in the third quarter and 92-83 in the fourth quarter...the only first quarter points allowed by the Cougs in 2003 were touchdowns by Colorado, Oregon State (interception return) and ASU, a safety by Oregon, and a field goal by USC.
STANFORD NO THIRD DOWN SUCCESS LATE: Stanford converted three of eight third-down plays successfully in the first half, but in the final two quarters the Cardinal was unsuccessful six times against the Cougar defense...in recent years WSU has been very successful stopping third down plays in the first half.
WSU NATIONAL LEADER IN TAKEAWAYS: WSU led the nation in 2003 in forced turnovers with 48, just ahead of Nebraska's 47 and 42 by USC...the Cougars also led the nation with 24 fumble recoveries and the team's 24 interceptions ranked second nationally to Nebraska's 32...this year WSU has picked off five passes and recovered 11 opponent fumbles.
WHEN DEFENSE SCORES, WSU WINS: WSU has won 16 of its last 18 regular season games when the defense or special team units score...the exception was in 2003 at Notre Dame (defense scored) and this year against Oregon (punt return for a TD).
Scott Davis HAS A NOSE FOR THE BALL: Scott Davis currently leads all Pac-10 players with three fumbles caused and with three fumbles recovered...last year he was second in the Pac-10 with three fumbles recovered...in less than two seasons he has recovered six fumbles, forced four fumbles, deflected three passes and made 54 tackles.
ARMSTRONG THE STARTING LEADER: Senior Calvin Armstrong has played in 43 games and made 39 starts in career...other double-digit starters on the 2004 offensive team are Troy Bienemann 29, Sam Lightbody 22, and Nick Mihlhauser 16...on defense, Will Derting's 24 starts is the most, followed by Karl Paymah with 21.
COUGS AMONG SACK LEADERS: The Cougars started the season at New Mexico with three sacks and had two more against Colorado, then three against Idaho, two at Arizona, five against Oregon and two against Stanford...last year WSU finished the regular season with 50 sacks, second to USC's 55 in the Pac-10...WSU had seven sacks against both Oregon State and Texas last year marking the sixth time in the past two years the Cougar defense has recorded six or more sacks in a game...the Cougars recorded a sack in 22 straight games between 2001 and the Arizona game in 2003.
FEW FIRST QUARTER TDs: WSU has not allowed a first quarter touchdown in 14 of the last 19 games (since the start of the 2003 season)...the only teams with TDs in the first quarter are Colorado, Oregon State and Arizona State last year and Oregon and Stanford this season.
WSU STARTS STRONG AFTER BOWL GAMES: The Cougars, in recent years, have started the season strong coming off a bowl game appearance...in 1989 (after the 1988 Aloha Bowl) the Cougars started 6-1...in 1993 (after the 1992 Copper Bowl) WSU started 5-2...in 1995 (after the 1994 Alamo Bowl) WSU started 3-2...in 1998 (after the 1997 Rose Bowl season) WSU started 3-0...in 2002 (after the 2001 Sun Bowl) WSU started 9-1...in 2003 (after the 2002 Rose Bowl season) WSU finished 10-3 with a Holiday Bowl win over Texas.
RECRUITING CLASS RANKED: WSU head coach Bill Doba's first recruiting class, the group who signed NLI's last February, was ranked nationally by two organizations...the WSU recruits were ranked 19th nationally by Collegefootballnews.com, while TheInsider.com rated WSU's class 21st nationally.
SWOGGER DEBUT AMONG BEST: Josh Swogger completed 24-of-38 passes for 240 yards and three touchdowns in his first collegiate start...his 240 yards against New Mexico ranks well in comparison to some of WSU's recent quarterbacks in their first start:
PAC-10 PICKS WSU FIFTH: Despite the loss of 27 letter winners, including seven offensive starters and nine on the defensive side of the ball, WSU was picked fifth by the media covering the Pacific-10 Conference when they gathered in late July...the 2004 Pac-10 Media Poll: 1. USC 240 points, 2. California 210, 3. Oregon 192, 4. Oregon State 138, 5. Washington State 133, 6. Arizona State 131, 7. Washington 100, 8. UCLA 98, 9. Stanford 40, 10. Arizona 38.
BRUCE ATTENDS CONFERENCE: Sophomore defensive end Mkristo Bruce was among 321 NCAA student-athletes selected to attend the 2004 NCAA Leadership Conference in late May...the conference was designed to enhance student-athletes' leadership and communication skills.
FALL SCRIMMAGE NOTES: In four scrimmages this fall, starting quarterback Josh Swogger hit 40 of his 72 passes for 455 yards, five touchdowns, with three interceptions...Alex Brink was 23-of-49 for 239 yards, with one TD throw and one interception...Jerome Harrison was the top running back with 174 yards and one score on 27 carries...Chris Bruhn had 15 carries for 44 yards...Marty Martin was the top receiver with 12 catches for 126 yards, while freshman Michael Bumpus had 11 receptions for 115 yards...tight end Troy Bienemann caught seven passes for 71 yards and two touchdowns...newcomer Tyron Brackenridge picked off two passes, while eight other players had one interception each...Mkristo Bruce recoreded 4.0 sacks in those four scrimmages, while Adam Braidwood and Aaron Johnson each had 2.5 sacks.
Brian Winter SCHOLARSHIPED: Early September was an up and then down time for senior Brian Winter, who walked on at WSU three years ago...Thursday, Sept. 9, Bill Doba announced he was putting Winter on scholarship...then three days later, playing against Colorado, Winter suffered a fracture of the left fibula...he is expected to miss several games before returning to action in October.
OLD FACE, NEW NUMBER: Several members of the 2004 football team opted for new uniform numbers when camp opened in August...among the prominent players wearing new numbers are running back Chris Bruhn, who now sports #3, dropping one three from last year's #33...backup quarterback Alex Brink wore #18 last year and now is wearing #10...Allen Thompson is another regular who switched, going from #38 for his first two seasons to #4 this fall.
BASLER AMONG BEST IN THE NATION: Kyle Basler stacked up well in the Ray Guy Award's primary categories (average, punts inside the 20, % of punts inside the 20, number of returns, % of non-returned punts) finishing second among the 10 semi-finalists...the sophomore's numbers vastly improved from his freshman season...his average improved from 41.1 yards to 43.5 and more importantly, his net average was up from 35.3 yards to 40.5...he had 15 punts inside the 20 as a freshman, 30 in 2003...he allowed 19 returns for 288 yards in 2002, while in 2003 the returns were up to 29 but the return yards were down from 288 to 232...in 2002 he had 10 punts 50 yards or longer, in 2003 20.
COUGS TV DARLINGS: Seven of WSU's 11 football games this fall have already been selected for live telecasts...in May ABC selected WSU games against Colorado (12:30 p.m.), Arizona (12:30 p.m.), USC (4:00 p.m.) and Washington (5:00 p.m.), while FSN Northwest added the Idaho (7:30 p.m.) game and FSN the Stanford (7:15 p.m.) game to their lineups...ESPN was on hand for WSU's opener at New Mexico (6:00 p.m.)...FSN Northwest also replays the final 10 games of the 2004 season each Sunday morning...several of WSU's other three games could also be selected during the season by Pacific-10 Conference television partners ABC, FOX Sports Net and TBS.
WSU SENIORS: WSU will play its 2004 schedule with just 13 seniors, 10 of them on scholarship...the scholarship seniors include four on offense, OL Patrick Afif, OL Calvin Armstrong, OL Sam Lightbody and RB Chris Bruhn...there are six on defense, LB Pat Bennett, SS Jeremy Bohannon, FS Hamza Abdullah, DT Steve Cook, LB Brian Winter and CB Karl Paymah.
ROBERTSON HONORED: Veteran WSU radio broadcaster Bob Robertson, entering his 38th season with the Cougar football team, was honored in early August with the Chris Schenkel award, which was presented to him at the College Football Hall of Fame induction weekend, South Bend, Ind.
WSU AMONG ELITE WITH 10-WIN SEASONS: Washington State is one of just four NCAA Div. I teams to record 10 wins in each of the last three seasons (2001-02-03)...the others are Maryland, Miami (FL) and Oklahoma.
2003 SEASON AMONG BEST: WSU's 10-3 finish in 2003 equaled the fifth best record for the Cougars since the 1920's when teams began playing 10 or more games...WSU's best records include 9-1 (90.0%) in 1930, 10-2 (83.3%) in 1929, 1997 and 2002 and 10-3 (76.9%) in 2002 and 2003.
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 2001-02-03, Oregon 2000-01, UCLA twice, 1997-98 and 1987-88, Washington twice, 1990-91 and 1981-82, and USC, 1978-79...WSU is the only team with three consecutive 10-win seasons in more than 50 years...USC achieved the feat in the early 1930's.
COUGS 10-WIN SEASONS AMONG BEST: WSU and USC are the only Pacific-10 school with four 10-win seasons in a seven-year stretch...USC has accomplished the feat three times...however, the Cougars are the only league school with four 10-win seasons in a seven-year stretch since the conference expanded to 10 teams in 1979...WSU was 10-2 in 1997, 10-2 in 2001, 10-3 in 2002 and 10-3 in 2003...in the last seven 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...dating back to the start of the PCC in 1916, WSU and USC are the only team to post 10 or more wins three straight years, USC doing so in 1931-32-33.
TWO QBS ON DEFENSIVE LINE: Two members of WSU's defensive line, Odell Howard and Mkristo Bruce, were high school quarterbacks...Howard prepped at Pomona High (Pomona, Calif.) and Bruce at Liberty High near Renton...Bruce passed for 718 yards and seven touchdowns and ran for 602 as a senior, while Howard threw for 1,085 yards and 10 touchdowns his senior year.
Bill Doba TV SHOWS: "KXLY Cougar Football Saturday" airs each Saturday during the football season at 12:00 p.m. PT, leading into ABC's Pac-10 Game of the Week...Rick Lukens, Dennis Patchin and Bud Nameck host the shows...FOX Sports Net Northwest's nightly (7:00 p.m.) Northwest Tonight program also gives extensive coverage to Doba and Cougar football.
WEEKLY WSU PRESS CONFERENCES: WSU hosts a weekly press conference each Tuesday at 1:00 p.m. in Bohler Athletic Complex 186. All in-season head coaches and selected players (when available) will be available for the phone conference and in-person interviews. Contact the WSU Media Information Office for more information. Members of the media may attend in person or participate by use of the telephone.
LISTEN TO COUGAR GAMES ANYWHERE: Cougar football fans can listen to the Voice of the Cougars Bob Robertson's broadcasts, even if a network station is not in your locale. TRZ Sports Service Inc.'s "Teamline" provides the hookup directly into the Cougar Sports Network. Call 1-800-846-4700 and punch in the Cougar access code 5938. The cost is charged to your VISA or Mastercard.
LIVE TELEVISION: Pac-10 television action this week includes:
Oct. 23 UCLA at Arizona State (12:30 p.m. Pacific) ABC
Oct. 23 Washington at USC (3:30 p.m. Pacific) TBS
FSNW-TV: FOX Sports Net (Northwest) will replay the WSU-Oreogn State game Sunday, Oct. 24, at 10:00 a.m.
TICKETS: Tickets for all Cougar home and away games are available through the WSU Ticket Office, North 225 Grand, Pullman, Wash. 99164-1910, or by calling 800-GO-COUGS (available toll free from all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands).
AUDIO ON INTERNET: WSU's football broadcasts are available on the Internet through WSU's Web provider College Sports TV and its audio partner Real Audio...the address is: www.wsucougars.com, then use the Audio link in the left column.
WSU RADIO: Bob Robertson, Jim Walden and Bud Nameck combine talents on the 27-station Cougar Sports Network...Robertson is in his 38th year of broadcasting Cougar sports...Walden, a former Cougar head coach (1978-86), is in his fourth season as a Cougar commentator...Nameck has been broadcasting WSU sports on radio or television since 1981 and is in his third season as part of the radio team...broadcast time is 60 minutes prior to kickoff. Additionally, the one-hour "Bill Doba Show," produced and distributed by the Cougar Sports Radio Network and KXLY, airs weekly on most network stations live Tuesdays at 7:00 p.m...Robertson is the show's regular host...all game broadcasts are available via the internet...to listen, and for complete broadcast schedules, connect to www.wsucougars.com.
PAC-10 SATELLITE FEED: The Pac-10 provides a weekly satellite feed featuring interviews with the head coaches and selected players regarding upcoming games, plus highlight footage. The 30-minute feed airs every Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. PDT/MST (2:30 EDT) beginning Sep. 8 and running through Dec. 1. Coordinates for the feed are IA5/14 (formerly Telstar 5/14 c-band). Trouble numbers: Master Control 310-543-1835 or 805-231-3229 or pager 888-451-5861, or Michelle Zumalt at the Pac-10 at 925-932-4411.
PAC-10 TELECONFERENCE: The Pacific-10 Conference hosts a weekly teleconference call each Tuesday during the football season...the teleconference call begins at 10 a.m....Bill Doba participates at 11:10 a.m....contact the Pac-10 media relations office for details, 925-932-4411.
DOBA AND PLAYERS AVAILABLE: WSU head football coach Bill Doba is available for individual media interviews 11:00 a.m.-Noon each Wednesday. Arrangements for Doba interviews must be made through his office, 509-335-0250. WSU players are available for interviews before and after practice each Tuesday and Wednesday and before practice each Thursday. Contact Jason Hickman (firstname.lastname@example.org) at the WSU Media Information Office.
DOBA PHONE CONFERENCES: Bill Doba is available for media interviews three times weekly via a conference phone hookup, Sunday at 5:30 p.m., Tuesday at 1:00 p.m. and Thursday at 2:15 p.m. For access information contact the WSU Media Information Office.