Oct. 12, 2004
The Washington State Cougar football team will host the Stanford Cardinal Saturday in a 7:15 p.m. game from Martin Stadium. The Pacific-10 Conference contest will be televised live nationally by FSN.
The Cougars, 3-2 overall and 1-1 in league play, are coming off a heart-breaking 41-38 loss to Oregon, while Stanford is also 3-2 and 1-1 after falling to Notre Dame last week 23-15 in South Bend.
Saturday's contest will be the 55th between the two teams, with Stanford holding a 30-23-1 series advantage. However, WSU has won the last three games between the two schools, including 24-14 last year at Stanford.
The Cougars have faired well in recent homecoming games, winning their last three contests. WSU has scored 30 or more points in each of its last five homecoming games. However, the Cougars are 1-4 against Stanford when they have played the Cardinal in a Pullman homecoming game.
Not since 2000 has WSU lost two straight football games. In 2000, the Cougars lost four straight during a 4-7 season, including three straight games at Martin Stadium. Three of WSU's losses that year were in overtime, including two at home.
WSU may also have an advantage since the game is being played at night. The Cougars have won seven straight night games, including four in 2001, one in 2002 and two this year, at New Mexico and Idaho at home.
The Cougars have added a Hollywood-style drama to football this year, with three Cougar games won or lost in the fourth quarter. Since 1985, WSU has won 17 games by coming from behind in the fourth quarter. On the other side, the Cougars have lost 23 contests after holding a lead in the final quarter.
Several Cougars are coming off outstanding performances last week, including:
FSN TO TELEVISE HOMECOMING GAME NATIONALLY: FSN will be on hand Saturday to televise the WSU-Stanford football game, with the kickoff set for 7:15 p.m. Barry Tompkins will call the action, with Petros Papadakis joining the announcing crew this year.
WSU SELLS OUT LAST FOUR GAMES: All available tickets for WSU's remaining three games, Stanford, 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 Oregon game also sold out, running WSU's total sellouts to four this season. The only tickets that could become available will be from opponents who have the option to turn back tickets they hold.
HILL A TD MONSTER: Sophomore Jason Hill has eight touchdown passes in the first five Cougar games, leaving him one short of WSU's top 10 list...Hill's performance is even more remarkable since he had no TD receptions in WSU's opener at New Mexico...since then he has caught 17 passes, eight of them for touchdowns...in fact he has scored on eight of his last 11 receptions over four games and in the last three games he has seven scoring receptions and nine receptions...while one short of the top 10 list, Hill is just three short of the school record of 11 held by Kevin McKenzie (1997), Chris Jackson (1997) and Devard Darling (2002).
HARRISON GOES FOR 117 YARDS: Junior college transfer Jerome Harrison finally had a break-out game against Oregon, picking up 117 yards on the ground, scoring once...he also had two receptions for 11 yards...it was Harrison's first game over 100 yards.
BASLER PINS THEM DEEP: Kyle Basler, in his three seasons, has punted 158 times and in his career has averaged 43.8 yards, plus a net average of 39.7...in all, 40 of his punts have gone for 50 or more yards and he has dropped 54 inside the opponent 20 yard line...that is 35% of his punts inside the 20 yard line...in addition, 28 of his punts have been downed inside the 10 yard line (18%) and 18 were downed inside the five yard line (12%), including four against Texas last year in the Holiday Bowl...Basler had 15 punts inside the 20 as a freshman, 30 as a sophomore...his current averages are better than Jason Hanson's season record of 45.4 yards and Gavin Hedrick's career average of 43.4
WSU SCORES QUICKLY: Quick scoring drives are nothing new to WSU...this year WSU has eight scoring drives that lasted less than one minute, including three against Idaho and two against both Arizona and Oregon...against the Ducks last week WSU took six seconds to score its first touchdown and 56 seconds to score on the second drive...in each case, the end result was a TD pass to Jason Hill...
BUMPUS GOES THE DISTANCE: Freshman Michael Bumpus, who took over the punt return chores in the second game of the year against Colorado, scored his first touchdown against Oregon with a 52-yard fourth quarter return...it was the first punt return for a touchdown by a Cougar player since Shawn Tims went 73 yards against Boise State in 1997...Bumpus is averaged 10.7 yards per return...the Ducks had not surrendered a punt return for a score since playing Iowa in 1994.
ABDULLAH MAKES 14 STOPS: Senior Hamza Abdullah, who waited until this season to gain a starting role, made a career-high 14 tackles against the Oregon Ducks, including 11 solo...his previous high was eight tackles in the 2004 opener at New Mexico.
SWOGGER THROWS 93 PASSES WITHOUT A PICK: Josh Swogger threw 93 passes without an interception between the fourth quarter of the New Mexico season opener and the Oregon game last week...the bookends around that string of 93 passes are two interceptions at New Mexico and two against Oregon...he has thrown 12 touchdown passes in five games, including four against Idaho and three against both Oregon and New Mexico.
SWOGGER GOES DISTANCE FOUR TIMES: Josh Swogger threw four TD passes in the first half against Idaho, the first time a Cougar QB had done that since Jason Gesser had four scoring passes against Utah in 2002...it was the 19th time a WSU QB had four TD passes in a game.
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...since 1985, WSU has won 17 games by coming from behind in the final quarter...opponents have won 23 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.
DAVIS SHINES: Sophomore Scott Davis is often overshadowed by junior Will Derting when it comes to media attention, but on the field Davis is holding his own...against Oregon he had a career-high 11 tackles, including eight solos...he also participated in 3.5 TFLs, had one sack, forced a fumble and recovered a fumble...for the season Davis has 38 tackles, one less than Derting...he leads WSU with seven TFLs and is tied for the lead with 2.5 sacks...he also is the leader with three fumbles recovered and three forced fumbles.
BRUCE HAS SOLID GAME: Mkristo Bruce, WSU's sophomore defensive end, had a career-high six tackles against Oregon, including a pair of sacks...he also forced one fumble and recovered a fumble...Bruce, who also had six tackles against New Mexico, has 2.5 sacks and 5.0 TFLs this year, along with two fumble recoveries.
COOK RETURNS: Senior Steve Cook earned a starting role for WSU in fall camp...in the opening game at New Mexico he made three tackles, but against Colorado he suffered a knee strain and missed much of that game, plus contests against Idaho and Arizona...Cook returned last week against Oregon and recorded three tackles, including one TFL.
DOBA'S TEAMS SHUT DOWN FOES: Bill Doba has been WSU's head coach for 18 games and he has won 13 times...in those 18 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 had one first half touchdown and Oregon two TDs.
COUG D-TACKLES: WSU has been without the services of Ropati Pitoitua (ankle) since the middle of the Colorado game and fellow starter Steve Cook (knee sprain) also missed much of the Colorado game, plus Idaho and Arizona...freshman Aaron Johnson, who came to WSU as a tight end, and sophomore Odell Howard have filled in admirably and with the return of Cook, the Cougars now can rotate three tackles on a regular basis.
COUG DEFENSE TOUGH: WSU's defense may be young, but the Cougars have proven able to hold their own in four of the first five games:
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 five of WSU's last six games and in eight of the last 10 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...last year in WSU's Holiday Bowl game Texas lost and led 39:19-20:41...Oregon led 38:55-21:05 and squeezed out a win in the last two minutes.
WSU GOES FOR FOURTH WIN vs. STANFORD: WSU will be after its fourth straight win over Stanford when the two teams meet for the Cougar Homecoming game Saturday...WSU has not won four straight from Stanford since 1957-64.
COUGS WIN AT NIGHT: WSU has won seven straight night games and will be shooting for eight Saturday in the 7:15 p.m. start against Stanford...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...WSU's last loss in a night game was to Oregon State in 2000.
COUGS 33-10 THE LAST FOUR SEASONS: Since 2001, WSU has won 33 of 43 games and is ninth among D-I teams the past four years: Miami 39-3, Oklahoma 40-6, Boise State 38-6, Texas 36-8, Georgia 36-9, Ohio State 35-9, USC 33-9, Maryland 34-10, WSU 33-10 , LSU 35-11.
COUGS SECOND IN PAC-10 SINCE 2001: The WSU Cougars boast the second best record among Pacific-10 Conference schools over the past four years...WSU trails USC in overall record and Pac-10 records by just one game...here's a breakdown of Pac-10 teams over the last four football seasons:
COUG DEFENDERS DOING WELL IN NFL: Washington State University defensive alumni are performing well in the National Football League...five Cougar defenders have made nine interceptions this season...Monday night Lamont Thompson picked off two interceptions, while Jason David returned his first interception for a touchdown Sunday and Marcus Trufant had his second pick Sunday...here are the five defenders with interceptions:
WSU HAS BOUNCED BACK FROM LOSSES: The WSU Cougars have not lost two straight games since the 2000 season when they dropped four straight late in the season...in addition WSU has not lost two straight at home since 2000 when they lost three straight near the end of the year.
SCORING STREAKS: WSU currently has three significant scoring streaks on the line:
WSU SCORING STREAK THIRD: Here are the longest current scoring streaks among NCAA Div. I teams: Washington 270, Michigan 244, WSU 232.
NOTHING LIKE HOME: WSU performs better at home than on the road, as do most schools:
WSU HOMECOMING: The Cougars have won three straight Homecoming games and have scored at least 30 points in each of the last five Homecoming games...however, the Cougars are 1-4 against Stanford in Homecoming games.
WSU JUMPS TO EARLY LEADS: WSU has outscored opponents this year 35-10 in the first quarter and 17-14 in the second quarter, resulting in a 52-24 advantage in the first half...Colorado, with an early field goal, is the only team to score first on WSU this season...Arizona and Oregon 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.
COUGS LIMIT THIRD DOWNS: WSU is continuing to be tough on third down plays by the opponents...so far through four games opponents have made 28-of-88 third down conversions...last year WSU foes converted 25.1% of their third down opportunities, including just 16.3% in the first quarter and 20.7% in the first half
WSU BOWL RECORD: WSU's appearance in the 2003 Pacific Life Holiday Bowl was the Cougars' 10th bowl appearance and second in the Holiday Bowl...WSU is 6-4 in 10 previous bowl games:
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:
Ryan Leaf, 291 yards vs. Washington, 1995 (freshman) [L]
Jack Thompson, 265 yards vs. Idaho (sophomore) [W]
Josh Swogger, 240 yards vs. New Mexico, 2004 (soph) [W]
Mark Rypien, 209 yards vs. Arizona, 1983 (sophomore) [L]
Drew Bledsoe, 188 yards vs. OSU, 1990 (freshman) [W]
Jason Gesser, 141 yards vs. Hawaii, 1999 (freshman) [W]
Timm Rosenbach, 58 Yards vs. Oregon, 1986 (freshman) [L]
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 Pac-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. WSU 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 and to enable them to become more effective leaders and motivators.
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.