Oct. 23, 2006
Washington State University, 5-3, 3-2 in Pacific-10 Conference play, will look for its third consecutive road win when it visits the UCLA Bruins, 4-3, 3-3, in a game televised by ABC, 4 p.m. Saturday at the Rose Bowl.
The Cougars are coming off a 34-23 victory over then-No. 16 Oregon, the first win over a ranked opponent since defeating No. 5 Texas, 28-20, at the 2003 Holiday Bowl.
The Cougar defense set the tone against the Ducks as it produced four turnovers and did not allow an offensive touchdown until midway through the fourth quarter. Freshman Dwight Tardy rushed for a Cougar season-high 145 yards while tight end Jed Collins accounted for two touchdowns. The Cougars are looking to extend a couple of road streaks this weekend as they have won the last two road meetings against UCLA (2002 and 2004). WSU has also won its last three conference road games dating back to last season.
COUGARS GAIN NATIONAL RANKING: For the first time this season, WSU appeared in both the Associated Press and the USA Today Coaches Poll, receiving votes in each. Additionally, the second release of the BCS standings has the Cougars 25th. WSU received four voted in the AP poll, which makes the Cougars 33rd while the two votes in the Coaches Poll correspond to a No. 37 ranking. The Harris Interactive poll has WSU 31st.
BRINK SETS SCHOOL RECORD: WSU quarterback Alex Brink set a Cougar school record for single-game completion percentage as he hit on 20 of his 23 attempts (.870), eclipsing the pervious mark of .818, held by Wayne Berry (1953) and Ricky Turner (1983). Both Berry and Turner connected for 9 of 11 passes. The previous mark with at least 20 attempts was Timm Rosenbach's .806 (25-31) against UCLA in 1987.
FRAMPTON, BLUNT NAMED PAC-10 PLAYERS OF THE WEEK: Senior safety Eric Frampton and sophomore punter Darryl Blunt have been named the Pacific-10 Conference Defensive and Special Teams Players of the Week, respectively, it was announced Monday by Commissioner Tom Hansen. Frampton recorded a career-high 16 tackles, 12 in the first half, to lead a strong Cougar defensive effort in a 34-23 win over No. 16 Oregon. Blunt averaged 49.3 yards per punt, including a career-long of 62 with two punts downed inside the 10-yard line, including one on the one-yard line.
BRUCE NAMED LOMBARDI SEMIFINALIST: WSU senior defensive end Mkristo Bruce is one of 12 semifinalists for the 2006 Rotary Lombardi Award, presented by Wachovia Bank. Bruce is the only player from the Pac-10 among the semifinalists for the award, which is given annually to the nation's top lineman on either offense or defense. Linebackers are also eligible for the award.
WSU-UCLA SERIES: UCLA holds a 35-16-1 advantage in the all-time series, including a 44-41 overtime victory last year in Pullman. That loss snapped a four-game WSU winning streak dating back to the 2001 season. UCLA holds a 20-8 victory margin when playing in Pasadena, although the Cougars have won the last two meetings at the Rose Bowl (2002, 2004). The last Bruin home win was a 49-17 victory during the 1998 season (Oct. 3).
PACIFIC-10 NOMINATIONS: WSU's Pacific-10 Conference POW nominees following the Oregon game were: Dwight Tardy (offense), Eric Frampton (defense) and Darryl Blunt (special teams). Tardy rushed for a WSU-season-high 145 yards and a touchdown while Frampton registered a career-high 16 tackles and Blunt averaged 49.3 yards on three punts, all which were downed from 20 yards on in.
2006 UCLA GAME CAPTAINS: UCLA chooses weekly game captains.