Sept. 24, 2012
COUGARS MATCHUP AGAINST No. 2 OREGON IN THE SEATTLE GAME: Washington State University continues Pac-12 Conference play Saturday, facing second-ranked University of Oregon in The Seattle Game at CenturyLink Field in Seattle. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. and will be nationally televised on ESPN2.
WSU TO PLAY OREGON STATE ON PAC-12 NETWORKS: Next Saturday, Washington State will take on No. 18 Oregon State University in Corvallis, Ore. Kickoff is slated for 3 p.m. on the Pac-12 Networks.
OREGON-WSU SERIES HISTORY: In the 89 games played against the Ducks since the first meeting in 1901, WSU trails Oregon 44-38-7 in the all-time series with the Ducks posting wins in the past five meetings and seven of the last eight. Last season, the Cougars kept it close, trailing 15-10 at half before Oregon used two long touchdowns from De'Anthony Thomas in the second half to post a 43-28 victory in Eugene.
COUGARS IN THE SEATTLE GAME: Once known at the Cougar Gridiron Classic, The Seattle Game, presented by Washington's Beef Producers, features the Cougars facing a conference opponent for just the second time when the host University of Oregon Saturday. WSU will be making its tenth appearance at the home field of the Seattle Seahawks, a series that started in 2002 with WSU hosting Nevada in the first football game played in the new stadium. WSU beat the Wolf Pack and have also defeated Idaho (2003), Grambling (2005), Baylor (2006) and San Diego State (2007) in Seattle. Since 2002 the Cougars are 5-4 when playing at CenturyLink Field (formerly Qwest Field). In last season's The Seattle Game, Oregon State posted a 44-21 victory over the Cougars in front of 49,219 fans.
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 122nd consecutive appearance on the weekly show, dating back to the beginning of the 2004 season. Two flags - Ol' Crimson and Whitey - have been flown in the background of the Gameday set by dozens of friends and alumni. 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 enters the week tied for first in the Pac-12 Conference with 14 sacks through the first four games. Following a year in which the Cougars recorded 17 for the season, the switch to a 3-4 defense has seen more linebackers in the backfield as 12 of the 14 sacks have come from linebackers. Converted linebacker Travis Long enters the weekend leading the Pac-12 Conference and tied for tops in the country with a career-high 6.5 sacks.
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 2,711, good for No. 26 all-time in conference history. His 1,388 receiving yards in 2011 was the 12th most in Pac-12 history.
WILSON CLIMBING WSU RECORD BOOKS: Junior Marquess Wilson continued his climb up WSU's career receiving records with five catches for 99 yards against Colorado Saturday. His 99 receiving yards upped his career total to 2,711, good for second on WSU's career top-10. Against UNLV, Wilson passed Phillip Bobo and Jason Hill on the career receptions list and enters the game against Oregon in fifth with 155 career catches, 11 away from Jared Karstetter who sits fourth with 166. Following his two touchdown performance against the Buffs, the Tulare, Calif. native sits tied for second with Hugh Campbell on WSU's top-10 for career touchdowns with 22.
WILSON'S BIG PLAYS: Marquess Wilson's 81-yard touchdown at UNLV two weeks ago wasn't the first big play of his career. In 28 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.
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 that with 2.5 sacks against Colorado and enters the week leading the Pac-12 Conference and tied for tops in the country with 6.5 sacks, already surpassing his four from a season ago and upping his career total to 17.5, good for a tie for seventh with Ivan Cook on WSU's top-10 for career sacks. Long's team-leading 7.0 tackles-for-loss puts his career total to 36, good for fifth on WSU's career top-10. Long is second on the team with 27 tackles.
FURNEY GOES LONG DISTANCE: Junior kicker Andrew Furney has provided a couple highlights for the Cougars during the first quarter of the 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-yarder 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 kick also gave Furney is ninth straight make when attempting from 40+ yards. The streak ended after he missed wide right from 40 yards in the third quarter against EWU.
NEW FACES MAKING AN IMPACT: Washington State has seen a number of new faces on the field through the first three games of 2012. First-year Cougars making an impact are led by junior nose tackle Ioane Gauta who has started all four games and made 11 stops including a pair of tackles-for-loss. 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 Gabe Marks and Brett Bartolone own 19 and 13 receptions, respectively, with Marks posting his first two career 100-yard performances at UNLV and against Colorado. Freshman running back Teondray Caldwell is second on the team in rushing and also serves as WSU's primary kick returner, already owning a 63-yard return at BYU and a 54-yarder against Colorado.
MONROE MAKING HIS MARK: Redshirt-freshman linebacker Darryl Monroe has produced for the Cougars in his first four games, starting at MIKE linebacker, making the second most tackles (26) while forcing two fumbles, recovering one and making two 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 that with 401 yards and four touchdown passes against Colorado. Halliday now owns three 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 nine touchbacks on kickoffs to surpass last year's total of one and is closing in on Nick Grasu's mark of 11 in 2010. Bowlin also owns eight punts of 50+ yards including a 69-yarder against Eastern Washington, a 60-yarder at UNLV and has put six punts inside the 20.
RETURN GAME: The Washington State return game as already seen improvement from 2011 as punt returner Leon Brooks followed up a 17-yard return at BYU with a career best 29-yard return against Eastern Washington. Kick returner Teondray Caldwell has shown the ability to break one, starting the second half at BYU with a 63-yard return and posting an 54-yard return against Colorado. The kick return and punt return teams both rank in the top-50 nationally with the kick return team ranked No. 27.
TUEL AMONG WSU'S ELITE PASSERS: Senior quarterback Jeff Tuel enters Saturday's game against Oregon in eighth place on WSU's career top-10 for completions with 369 and eighth in career passing yards (4,245) after throwing for 229 yards at BYU and 171 against Eastern Washington. The Fresno, Calif. native's two touchdown passes against Eastern Washington also put him in a tie for eighth for career touchdown passes with 27. His career completion percentage also improved to .612 (369/603, the best by any quarterback in WSU history, after completing 20-of-26 against Eastern Washington.
BUCANNON'S INT'S: Junior safety Deone Bucannon made his seventh career interception when he picked off Kyle Padron of Eastern Washington. Bucannon notched two picks as a freshman in 2010 before making three interceptions last season, at San Diego State, at Colorado and at Oregon.
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.
WILLIAM "LONE STAR" DIETZ SELECTED TO COLLEGE FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME: Former Washington State football coach William "Lone Star" Dietz was selected to the College Football Hall of Fame 2012 Divisional Class by the National Football Foundation in May. With a lengthy career spanning many schools and decades, William "Lone Star" Dietz provided a foundation for football success at many universities across the nation. He served as the head coach for 19 seasons at seven institutions and enjoyed a distinguished career as an assistant coach, helping College Football Hall of Fame coach Pop Warner prepare Stanford for two Rose Bowl appearances. Truly a legend in his own time, "Lone Star" Dietz had a fantastic career as Washington State's football coach from 1915-17. His teams posted a 17-2-1 record with 15 shutouts. In his inaugural year, he guided WSC (Washington State College) to the Rose Bowl and a 14-0 shutout of Ivy League foe Brown. That team was 7-0 and allowed just one touchdown and one field goal all year. A year later, WSC was 4-2 and his 1917 team finished 6-0-1 while yielding three points to opponents, a field goal in the second game of the season.