Oct. 29, 2012
COUGARS TRIP TO UTAH FOR SATURDAY CONTEST: Washington State University will hit the road for the second straight weekend, heading to Salt Lake City to face the University of Utah at Noon, Saturday on the Pac-12 Networks.
NEXT WEEK: Washington State returns to Pullman next Saturday to host UCLA on Dad's Weekend.
WSU-UTAH SERIES HISTORY: Utah leads all-time series 6-5 after posting a 30-27 overtime victory in Pullman last season. The Cougars captured a 38-21 victory in its last trip to Salt Lake City during the 2000 season. The WSU-Utah series began in 1966 with a Utah win 26-15 in Salt Lake City and WSU has gone 5-5 since. No team has won more than two in a row during the series. Prior to 2000 WSU's previous win over Utah came in the 1992 Copper Bowl, where the Cougars held off the Utes for a 31-28 win.
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 127th 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.
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 3,134 good for No. 13 all-time in conference history and second among the country's active receivers.
DEFENSE RACKING UP THE SACKS: The Washington State defense tallied two more sacks at Stanford to enter the week seventh in the Pac-12 Conference and tied for No. 25 in the country with 21 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 17 of the 21 sacks have come from linebackers. The Cougars have also racked up 59 tackles-for-loss, tied for second in the Pac-12 and tied for No. 15 nationally.
WILSON CLIMBING WSU RECORD BOOKS: Junior Marquess Wilson continued his climb up WSU's career receiving records with 12 catches for 182 yards against Oregon. His 182 receiving yards pushed him past Brandon Gibson for the most receiving yards in school history. Wilson made nine receptions at Stanford to push his career total to 184 and pass Hugh Campbell and Brandon Gibson on WSU's top-10 for career receptions. He is now 11 away from Michael Bumpus' record of 195. Wilson's touchdown catch against the Ducks also pushed him past Campbell and into second on WSU's top-10 for career touchdown receptions with 23.
WILSON'S BIG PLAYS: Marquess Wilson's 81-yard touchdown at UNLV wasn't the first big play of his career. In 29 games, the junior wideout owns eight career touchdown catches of 50-plus yards, including five in 2011 highlighted by a 85-yard score from Connor Halliday against Arizona State. Dating back to the 1984 season, the only Cougar with as many as seven touchdown catches of 50-plus yards is former Cougar great Tim Stallworth. Wilson leads the Cougars with nine plays of 25+ yards this season.
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 at Utah seventh on WSU's career top-10 for completions (456) and passing yards (5,154). The Fresno, Calif. native's two touchdown passes at Stanford pushed his career touchdown pass mark to 32, also seventh-most in WSU history. Tuel completed a school-record 43 passes in 60 attempts at Stanford and career completion percentage improve to .619 (456/737), 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 eight games, made 19 stops including 5.5 tackles-for-loss 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 38 and 35 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 fourth 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 seven games this season. Monroe is second on the team with 54 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.
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 11 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.
BUCANNON'S INT'S: Junior safety Deone Bucannon made his ninth career interception against Oregon State and enters the game against Utah tied for second 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.
SPECIAL TEAMS AMONG NATIONAL LEADERS: The Washington State return game as already seen improvement from 2011 kick returner Teondray Caldwell headlines the Cougars No. 20 nationally ranked return team with a 25.0 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. 44 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 the 20th-best in the country, allowing 17.7 per return, a big improvement from last year's coverage team that ranked No. 99 at 23.7 yards-per-return.